Sacred Trees: According to Iroquois legend, the Great Spirit had told them that the animals and the things of the forest were their helpers. They knew they needed trees and plants and animals to live. But they were still sorry when they had to take a life.
They were very careful to take only what they absolutely needed. To the Iroquois and other Woodland Native Americans, it would have been an insult to kill something and then waste it.
A tree was living, and therefore sacred. If you were going to chop down a tree, every part of it had to be helpful.
They used young trees to make poles for their longhouses.
They carefully saved the leaves and twigs to start campfires.
They used the bark to cover their homes to keep out the rain, and to line clay storage pots to keep dried food safe from mice.
Twigs were also used to make baskets, hunting tools, and weapons.
Twigs were used to make designs on clay pots.
They used tree and plant fibers as weaving materials.
They used everything over and over, even the smallest scraps, to avoid killing needlessly.
Their beliefs forced them to be inventive. They even invented games to use up left over pieces of wood. Some of these games, like the Snow Snake Games, became so popular that they turned into annual events.