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Dogwoods are symbols of protection and safety in southeastern Native American tribes. In some Mohawk communities, the primeval Tree of Life in the Sky World was said to be a giant dogwood tree. In Northwestern tribes such as the Quileute and Makah, the dogwood symbolized good luck and dogwood berries were eaten during religious ceremonies. Dogwood fruit was a popular food item for many Native Americans, especially the Interior Salish tribes, but to Blackfoot people, the dogwood tree was associated with masculinity and women used to refrain from eating its fruit. The bark and roots of dogwood trees were frequently used as medicine herbs and dyes, as well. Dogwood sap, however, is toxic and was used in some tribes as poison.
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