Published on November 29, 2012 by Casey
Pines are symbolically and ceremonially important trees to many Native American people, but their meaning varies from tribe to tribe. The pine tree is a symbol of longevity to the Algonquian tribes of the northeast, and to the Great Lakes tribes, such as the Anishinabe and the Potawatomi, pine trees also represent wisdom and harmony with nature. The Iroquois tribes saw the pine tree as a symbol of peace, and burned pine wood as an incense to pacify ghosts and banish nightmares. Among tribes of the Great Basin and Plateau, pine trees were often associated with rain, and pine cones or wood were burned in hopes of changing the weather to be more favorable. In the Southwest, the pinion pine is considered sacred by some tribes; its sweet-smelling wood is burned as incense, and its pine gum is used as protection against witchcraft. Pine pitch and bark are also used as medicine herbs in many tribes, and pine nuts are an important food source for many Western tribes, particularly in California and the Southwest. Pine needles are also used in some traditional kinds of Native American basketry.
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Pine trees are also used as clan symbols in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Pine Clans include the Pueblo tribes.