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Native American Yucca Mythology

Yucca is one of several plants with a name that comes from a Native American language-- "yucca" comes from the Taino (Native Caribbean) name for the plant, yuca.

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Yucca was a very important plant to traditional Southwest Indian life. Yucca fruits and roots were eaten, and the tough yucca fiber was used to weave baskets and sandals. Yucca leaves are also used ceremonially by the Navajos. Although yucca plants have never been an important food source to southeastern tribes like the Cherokee, they have used the roots of eastern yucca species as medicine herbs, particularly to treat sores and rashes.

Yucca plants are also used as a clan symbol in some Native American cultures. Tribes with Yucca Clans include the Navajo, whose Yucca Clan is named Hashk'aa hadzohi. Some Pueblo tribes also have a Yucca Dance among their tribal dance traditions.

Native American Legends About Yucca Plants

*The Origin of Sheep and Cattle:
    Jicarilla Apache legend about the creation of the first yucca plant.

Recommended Books of Yucca Stories from Native American Myth and Legend

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 trees and other plants throughout Native North America.



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