Traces of the past: A new discovery
Note: The first encounters between the Europeans and Native peoples were culturally enriching for both groups. Everything was new to them. Can you guess which products Native people introduced to Cartier?
Excerpt: “They also had a grass, which they make great piles of in the summer for the winter, which they greatly value and which only the men use, in the following manner. The grass is dried in the sun and worn around their neck in a small animal skin that serves as a pouch, along with a stone or wood cone. Then, at any time of the day, they grind this said grass into powder and place it into one end of the said cone; they then place a coal over it and suck on the other end, filling their entire body with so much smoke that it comes out of their mouth and nostrils like a chimney pipe. And they say that it keeps them healthy and warm; and they are never without these said things. We have experimented with this said smoke. After putting it in our mouth, it felt like we had eaten ground pepper, it was so hot.
Author: Jacques Cartier, cited in Nos Racines. # 3, Montreal, Éditions T.L.M., 1979, p.54