It is appropriate to offer tobacco when asking for a song, an opening prayer, a teaching, Indigenous knowledge, or for advice. This should not replace remuneration or honoraria.
— Indigenous Gathering Site, Carlton University (LINK)
Tobacco is given to the Elder at the time of the request, or at the beginning of the gathering.
Tobacco offering in virtual gatherings. In a virtual gathering, I have heard a host of the event say, “I put tobacco down for our guest, Elder … ” This is a practical verbal and virtual work around when you cannot physically be there to give an offering of tobacco.
Purchase only organic tobacco — commercial tobacco is laced with chemicals and should not be used for ceremonial purposes. I bought organic tobacco at the local mall tobacco shop.
These offerings are easy to make. You will need:
- cotton or other natural fibre cloth cut into 4-inch squares. Primary colours like red, green, yellow work well.
- string to tie off the pouch
- optional, a drop of melted beeswax to seal the string.
Remember that Tobacco is a living healing Spirit that accompanies you. While you are preparing the little pouches, bring to mind what it is that you are requesting from the Elder. Prepare your tobacco offerings with attention, intention, respect, and love.
I have attached a PDF of the full instructions for creating tobacco offerings.