Native American language * Native American cultures * Native American heritage

Native American Maple Tree Mythology

The maple tree was of particular importance to the Algonquian tribes of the northwestern United States and western Canada, who developed the art of processing maple sap into maple sugar, maple syrup, and taffy candy. Maple sap was often considered a gift from the Creator and/or the culture hero, and many aspects of Algonquian culture and tradition came to revolve around maple sugaring. For these reasons, the maple leaf symbol was an important design motif in Algonquian beadwork.

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Maple trees were important to Native peoples in other ways as well. Maple wood was used to make tools and furniture, and its bark was used as a medicine herb. The Rocky Mountain maple is considered one of the sacred Life Medicines of the Navajo tribe.

Native American Maple Gods and Spirits

Ininatig (Ojibwe)
Maple Sapling (Huron/Iroquois)

Native American Legends About Maple Trees and Maple Syrup

*The Story of the Maple Tree * The Sugar Maple Story:
    Legend of how the Lenapes learned to tap maple trees.
Maple Syrup Story * Gluskabe the Transformer * How the Indians Got Maple Sugar * Manabozho and the Sugar Maple Trees:
    Abenaki and Chippewa Indian myths about the origin of maple syrup.
*Fox Plays a Trick:
    Menominee legend about Fox tricking Wolf out of some maple sugar.

Recommended Books of Maple Tree Stories from Native American Myth and Legend
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Ininatig's Gift of Sugar:
    Wonderful picture book for kids illustrating Anishinabe traditions of maple sugar making in the past and present.
Native Plant Stories:
    Excellent collection of Native American tales about plant spirits, by Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac.
Strength of the Earth: The Classic Guide to Ojibwe Uses of Native Plants:
    Book of Ojibwe traditions about maple trees and other woodland and prairie plants.
Native American Ethnobotany:
    Comprehensive book on the names and traditional uses of trees and other 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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