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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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