Sweetgrass is one of the most important Native American ceremonial plants, used by many tribes as
an incense and purifying herb. Sweetgrass symbolizes healing, peace, and spirituality in many Native
cultures, and braids of sweetgrass are sometimes left as offerings at graves and sacred sites.
Sweetgrass is also one of the herbs frequently included in medicine bundles and amulets. Plains Indian
people used to chew sweetgrass during ritual fasts, and it was also used as a medicinal herb in some
tribes. Sweetgrass still holds great spiritual importance to
many Native Americans today, but these days it is almost always burned as an incense, not chewed or eaten.
More prosaically, sweetgrass is also used in traditional basket-weaving.
In the myths of some tribes, such as the Ojibwe and Cree, sweetgrass is said to be the eldest of
all plants and sometimes referred to as the hair of Mother Earth.
Stories from an Ojibwe elder about the tribal importance of tobacco, sage, sweet grass, and cedar.
Scarface and the Sweatlodge:
Blackfeet story about the origin of the first sweetgrass.
Cipayak, the Northern Lights:
Cree legend about an elder who used sweetgrass braids to pacify the angry Northern Lights.
Recommended Books of Sweetgrass Stories from Native American Myth and Legend