Diné (Navajo) healer perspectives on commercial tobacco use in ceremonial settings: An oral story project to promote smoke-free life

Jamie Wilson, Samantha Sabo, Camenlita Chief, Hershel Clark, Alfred Yazzie, Jacqueline Nahee, Scott Leischow, Patricia Nez Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Many American Indian (AI) healers are faced with a dilemma of how to maintain the ceremonial uses of traditional tobacco meant to encourage the restoration and balance of mind, body, and spirit, while discouraging commercial tobacco use and protecting against secondhand smoke exposure in ceremonial settings. To explore this dilemma and offer culturally informed solutions, researchers conducted qualitative interviews with Navajo healers who describe the history and role of commercial tobacco within ceremonial contexts. Healers understand the importance of their role on their community's health and expressed deep concern about the use of commercial tobacco in the ceremonial setting. Healers play an important role in curbing the use of commercial tobacco and limiting the exposure to secondhand smoke in ceremonial settings and beyond. Study implications include the importance of understanding traditional and cultural knowledge and its potential as a pathway to solve contemporary public health issues facing AI communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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