American Indian language
Indian arts and crafts
Native American Cottonwood Tree Mythology
The cottonwood tree was sacred to many Native Americans, particularly in the Southwest. The Apache tribes considered
cottonwood trees a symbol of the sun, and some northern Mexican tribes associated cottonwoods with the afterlife, using
cottonwood boughs in funeral rituals. Cottonwood roots were used for carving
kachina dolls, masks, and other
ceremonial objects by the Hopi, Pueblo, and Navajo tribes. The cottonwood was also viewed as a medicine tree in
many Plains Indian tribes, with sacred poles and sun dance artifacts often being made from cottonwood trunks and branches.
Cottonwood bark and leaves were also used as medicinal herbs by many different tribes, particularly to treat wounds and
Cottonwood trees are also used as a clan symbol in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Cottonwood Clans include
the Pueblo tribes of New Mexico.
Native American Legends About Cottonwood Trees
The Cottonwood Remembers:
Tejas legend telling how the owl became the bird of death.
The Girl Who Climbed to the Sky The Star Husband:
Arapaho legends about a celestial cottonwood tree.
Apache Chief Punishes His Wife:
Pueblo legend about a cottonwood tree that helps a wronged Apache chief.
How Grandfather Peyote Came to the People:
Sioux legend about a woman who made the first water drum from a sacred cottonwood tree.
Recommended Books of Cottonwood Stories from Native American Myth and Legend
Children of Cottonwood: Piety and Ceremonialism in Hopi Indian Puppetry:
Our organization earns a commission from any book bought through these links
Anthropology book about the significance of cotoonwood carvings to Hopi religious life.
Native American Ethnobotany:
Comprehensive book on the names and traditional uses of trees and other plants throughout Native North America.
Interesting book on the role of trees in world mythology and spirituality, including Native North America.
The Meaning of Trees: Botany, History, Healing, Lore:
Another good book about the folklore and cultural symbolism of trees worldwide.
Native Languages of the Americas website © 1998-2020 Contacts and FAQ page
Back to American Indian trees
Back to Myths and legends
Back to List of gods and goddesses
Native American painting art
Indian ancestry records
Native flute makers
Would you like to help support our organization's work with endangered American Indian languages?