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Native American Moss Mythology

Moss was viewed as a very practical plant in most Native American tribes. Since moss is one of the most naturally absorbent materials available, it was valued by Native Americans for use in bandages, baby diapers and bedding, sponges, and paint applicators. Dried moss was also used as a firestarter in some tribes. Moss is often used as an example of Native American cultural beliefs about finding the best uses of everything in nature, no matter how lowly. Some mosses, like Spanish moss and club moss, were also used as medicine herbs.

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Native American Legends About Moss

*How the North Wind Lost His Hair:
    Tejas legend about the origin of Spanish moss.
Cree Flood Story:
    Cree legend about the culture hero using Indian moss to remake the flooded earth.
Blue Jay's Skinny Legs:
    Salish legend about Blue Jay using moss to trick a woman into marriage.

Recommended Books of Moss Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Moon's Cloud Blanket:
    Picture book based on a Louisiana Indian legend about the origin of Spanish moss.
Native Plant Stories:
    Excellent collection of Native American stories about plants, by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Native American Ethnobotany:
    Comprehensive book on the names and traditional uses of plants throughout Native North America.

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