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Native American Pinion Mythology

Pinion trees, also spelled pinyon or piñon, are a variety of pine tree that holds a position of great importance to Native American tribes of the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Pinion trees are considered sacred by some tribes, and their sweet-smelling wood is burned as incense. Pinion nuts are an important food item to many Southwestern tribes and are still collected by Shoshone and Paiute people today. Pinion pines also have spiritual importance in some tribes-- for example, pinion nuts are given as food offerings to Apache girls undergoing the Sunrise Ceremony, and pinion gum was used by many Pueblo tribes as protection against witchcraft.

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Pinion trees are also used as clan symbols in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Pinon Clans include the Pueblo tribes.

Native American Legends About Pinion

The Grand Canyon and the Flood:
    Havasupai legend about the first woman being saved from the great flood by a pinion tree.

Recommended Books of Pinion Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Plants of Power: Native American Ceremony and the Use of Sacred Plants:
    Interesting book about the importance of pinion and other plants to Native American medicine and spirituality.
Native Plant Stories:
    Excellent collection of Native American stories about plant spirits, by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Native American Food Plants:
    Comprehensive book on the names and traditional uses of food plants throughout Native North America.
*Sacred Trees:
    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.

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