About

Jamie outside building 1024x576 - About
Jamie Kunkel building the foundations of the Smoke Signals headquarters in Tyendinaga.

About the Cup Organizers

The first annual indigenous Cannabis Cup is the brainchild of Smoke Signals Tyendinaga owner Jamie Kunkel, and the fact that it is happening in Tyendinaga is due to the rapid growth and expansion of the indigenous cannabis movement in that community.

The gathering is occurring in the context of Canada’s impending legalization of the cannabis plant in the summer of 2018, and indigenous people involved in the cannabis industry are looking to self-determine their own relationship to the plant.

What to Expect

“This will likely be the largest gathering of indigenous people connected to the cannabis plant in history” said Kunkel, who is hoping that the event will bring to light awareness about the role that cannabis can play in not only improving the health of indigenous peoples, but in providing an alternative economic model for indigenous communities.

The weekend’s activities will include overnight camping, bonfires, a wide range of workshops ranging from the practical to the esoteric, music and entertainment, a traditional social, the construction and smoking of the world’s largest peace pipe, not to mention deciding the best cannabis products in a dozen different categories to determine who’s got the best bud in all of Turtle Island.

Background on indigenous Cannabis

Indigenous people have long had an affinity to cannabis, and have been inhaling a wide variety of dried plant matter for spiritual, medicinal, and “recreational” reasons since time immemorial. Indigenous people treated the cannabis plant no differently than any other part of creation, and in many ways, they were innovators in the use of cannabis.

The most common ways we smoke cannabis today – in joints, blunts, or pipes – were indigenous innovations introduced to the newcomers from Europe.

Despite Canada’s criminalization of the plant, indigenous involvement in the cannabis industry has remained consistent. Despite nearly 100 years of cannabis prohibition countless numbers of indigenous people have sustained themselves and their families by growing and selling cannabis. After tobacco, cannabis is likely the second greatest form of private employment in Indian country.

When Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government were elected on a wave of support for their promise to legalize cannabis, storefront dispensaries began opening up across Canada to meet the need of medical patients that Canadian courts ruled had a right to their medicine. The dispensary phenomenon soon spread to indigenous communities. Today Tyendinaga stands at the centre of the indigenous cannabis industry, with over 20 dispensaries operating on the territory.