Location: North America
Tree Type: Cultural

Decorations:

  • The tree does not have lights on it. The mirrors are to keep away bad spirits. The corn, shells and other natural items are put on the tree.
  • The Chikala dolls were created in the 1700's and are unique because the have no faces. The owners is expected to use imagination and provide a face for the doll. The small dolls are made by senior citizens of the South Dakota Sioux. The Navajo created the larger dolls. These dolls will bring good luck to their owners.
  • The turkey feathers symbolize the eagle feathers which in turn symbolizes the connection between heaven and earth.
  • The cradle is made from birch bark and sweet grass and symbolizes the renewal of life each year.
  • The maize (Corn) which is wrapped with sweet grass represents the natural elements of the earth.
  • The canoe is handmade from birch bark and sweet grass.
  • God's Eyes are, adapted from the Mexican Indians, made of wood and yarn and represent the four winds and the spiritual connections of life. The Pueblo tribe of the southwest made these ornaments. The God's Eyes were also considered to keep away the bad spirits.
  • Legend states that dream catchers are placed over the bed. The dream catcher will let all the good dreams pass through the web while all the bad dreams are caught in the web. One can tell when the bad dreams are caught for the web will be wet in the morning.
  • The white buffalo is a sacred animal to all native Americans. Legend states that when a buffalo calf is born that is white, not an albino, and passes through the four colors of man the tribes will again rule their land and the buffalo will again number as the blades of grass. The four colors of man are white for the white man, yellow for the yellow man, brown for the black man and red for the native Americans.

Traditions: Native Americans do not decorate a tree. After it is decorated, the museum tree is blessed in a ceremony that uses sage, sweet grass and tobacco leaves. Tabasco is thrown onto the tree while special prayers are offered for good luck.