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Native American Squash Mythology

Squash is one of several plants with a name that comes from a Native American language-- "squash" is an abbreviated form of askutasquash, the word for squash in the Narragansett language. Squash is one of the Three Sisters of the northeastern tribes, so called because corn, squash, and beans were traditionally planted together by Native American farmers.

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In addition to squash's important role as a food crop, the dried gourds were also used as dance rattles in some Native American tribes, and squash blossoms-- which were considered a delicacy in many southwestern tribes-- were an important cultural symbol and artistic motif, used in dance regalia, jewelry designs, and even the traditional squash-blossom hairstyle of marriageable Hopi maidens.

Squash is also a clan symbol in some Native American cultures, such as the Squash Clans of the Navajo (whose Squash Clan is named Naayz Dine') and the Hopi (whose Squash Clan is called Paatangngyam,) the Calabash Clans of the Pueblo tribes, and the Gourd Clans of the Kiowa and Osage.

Native American Squash Gods and Spirits

Patung Kachina (Hopi)

Native American Legends About Squash

The Three Sisters:
    Legends from the Northeast Woodlands about the cooperation of Indian Squash, Corn, and Beans.
*Legend of the Potawatomi Indians: * The Origin of Corn and Other Crops:
    Potawatomi first squash story.
*The Wise Man's Big Bald Head:
    Tejas legend about the origin of squash.

Recommended Books of Squash Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

Native Plant Stories:
    Excellent collection of Native American folklore about plants, by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden:
    Interesting book about Native American farming traditions narrated by a Hidatsa woman.
Native American Food Plants:
    Comprehensive book on the names and traditional uses of food plants throughout Native North America.



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