Tobacco is bad, but tobacco also is good.
Pacheco, a member of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, spent several months this spring helping young tribal members understand the difference between commercial cigarettes and chewing tobacco, which are bad for their health, and tobacco used in traditional ceremonies, which is to be embraced.
"It is a sacred plant. It represents the blessings our ancestors once had," Pacheco told a crowd gathered to watch American Indian dancers in Brigham City's Pioneer Park on July 4.
The Northwestern Band's Keeping Tobacco Sacred program, funded by a $7,500 grant from the Utah Department of Health, is part of a larger statewide effort to reduce the use of commercial cigarettes and chewing tobacco while honoring the traditional ceremonial use of tobacco.