Thursday, May 9, 2013

Native American use of Cannibus

Native American Use of Cannibus (henp)

Apocynum cannabinum was by the Swedes called Hemp of the Indians; and grew plentifully in old corn grounds, in woods on hills, and in high glades. The Swedes had given it the name of Indian hemp, because the Indians formerly, and even now, apply it to the same purposes as the Europeans do hemp; for the stalk may be divided into filaments, and is easily prepared. When the Indians were yet settled among 3the Swedes, in Pensylvania and New Jersey, they made ropes of this apocynum, which the Swedes bought, and employed them as bridles, and for nets. These ropes were stronger, and kept longer in water, than such as were made of common hemp. The Swedes commonly got fourteen yards of these ropes for one piece of bread. Many of the Europeans still buy such ropes, because they last so well. The Indians likewise make several other stuffs of their hemp. On my journey through the country of the Iroquese, I saw the women employed in manufacturing this hemp. They made use neither of spinning wheels nor distaffs, but rolled the filaments upon their bare thighs, and made thread and strings of them, which they dyed red, yellow, black, etc., and afterwards worked them into stuffs, with a great deal of ingenuity. The plant is perennial, which renders the annual planting of it altogether unnecessary. Out of the root and stalk of this plant, when it is fresh, comes a white milky juice, which is somewhat poisonous. Sometimes the fishing tackle of the Indians consists entirely of this hemp. The Europeans make no use of it, that I know of.n another place this author describes the weaving of bark fibers: