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Native Spirit: Hickory Tree

Posted: 10:56 PM, Oct 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-08 18:16:28Z

From one hickory tree, one resource, is the roots of a culture centuries old.

"Native Americans were obviously very close with nature, and they saw a lot of things in nature as being a gift - they were one with nature," Wisconsin Hickory Association President Mike Starshak said.

With the prevalence of hickory, this gift kept on giving.

"The tree, just on the outer appearance, had such great use for them," Starshak said.

There's the bark.

"They would make an herbal tea from that bark that would help rheumatism and arthritis," Starshak said. "This tree was giving them this medicine."

There is of course, the hickory nut.

"Which was a great food, and a great food source because it came in its own wrapper," Starshak said.

But Native Americans in Wisconsin didn't just use the outside of the tree.

"The wood is very resilient," Starshak said. "It torques and twists without splintering, so they'd be able to use it in weapons like bows and arrows and things like that."

Tribes could burn the wood for fuel and heat. From this one tree came so many uses and at least one valuable lesson.

"They really were one with nature, and it's something that we're learning today - that maybe natural and organic is better for us, and Native Americans knew that," Starshak said. "They valued the resources, they didn't waste the resources."