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Indian Lore- Five
Native American Folklore & Superstition:
Plants and Women & Gender


     Seneca- To insure a good bean & corn crop, grow the beans up the cornstalks.

     Nootka- Cedar is considered very powerful, and cedar necklaces ward off evil spirits & help promote health. Urine stored in cedar containers is used to wash the hair, which imparts the power of the cedar into the person.

     Many tribes- Corn, cornmeal, and corn pollen symbolize fertility and abundance, and are considered prime offerings to the gods.

     Navajo- Cornmeal is rubbed on the body after a ritual bath to impart health.

     Navajo- Cornmeal is used much as salt is used in Wicca, to mark cardinal points & bless new buildings.

     Seneca- Smoke from ritually smoked tobacco carries messages to the gods, offers thanks, and ensures protection.

     Yaqui- Wearing a cross of huchahko wood wards off malevolent witches.

     Various tribes- Peyote is considered sacred and should never be used disrespectfully, lest the spirit of the peyote take revenge.

     Lakota- Soapweed is used for swelling, calamus root for hysteria & delirium, and powdered yucca is used for stomach ailments.

     Kawaiisu- A type of moss that grows on pine trees is picked in summer to cause rain.

     Hopi- Beans are sprouted in special flats, and the height & growth of the sprouts is used to divine the success of this yearís crops.

     Pawnee- Certain squash vines are used as powerful medicine.

Women & Gender Issues

     Hidatsa- Girls wear beaver teeth necklaces to improve industriousness.

     Seneca- During menstruation women have the power to overcome menís hunting & healing power, so they avoid touching any hunting implements.

     Various tribes- Gender-crossing in women is encouraged in many tribes, and women may receive visions which give them shamanic powers. They can hold the same level of status as men.

     Various tribes- The onset of menstruation in girls is an occasion of ritual & feasting, and the girlís first blood is considered very potent.

     Eskimo- It is the grandmotherís responsibility to pass on spiritual powers, the making of amulets, survival skills, and hunting & tracking to the next generation.

     Lakota- When a young woman has her first period, she must wrap the blood up & hide it in a tree. This prevents her spirit from being stolen, and can cause a vision in which she meets her spirit helpers.

     Various tribes- A womanís menstrual blood has healing powers.

     Omaha- Cross-gendered people became that way before puberty, because the Moon is responsible for giving young boys & girls the tools symbolic of their gender roles, such as bows & arrows for boys, and pack straps for girls. The Moon sometimes plays tricks, though, and quickly switches the tools before the boy or girl notices. These children grow to be cross-gendered. Called minquga, they are respected members of the community and are often powerful medicine people.

     Apache- During a girlís puberty ritual, she must not touch herself with her hands or her skin will be marred.

     Various tribes- The appearance of a rainbow means a girl is having her first period.

Native American Lore-
Introduction & Credits

             Native American Lore-               
Children, Life & Death (page 1)

Native American Lore-
Hunting & Ceremony (page 2)

Native American Lore-
Healing & Natural Phenomena (page 3)

Native American Lore-
Animals & Celestial Bodies (page 4)

Native American Lore-
General (page 6)