Friday, 25 September 2020 18:24

Diné Piñon Oral History

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Neeshch’íí’ (Pinon) has a special story coming from our Dine oral stories as it relates to White Shell Woman, also known as Changing Woman. When White Shell Woman returned home to the West she left behind Pinons for the people and animals to eat as part of their food intake. The Pinons resembles the nipple part of the breast of White Shell Woman, and the seed inside resembles the milk coming from her breast that then feeds the people/animals with nutrition and a good health. There are many other Navajo/Tribal stories in relations to Pinons, but this is one that I was once told.


Also, when picking we were instructed to never shake the Pinon trees, and that only the bears were allowed to shake the trees for Pinons. It is said, that when people eat Pinons from the trees that were shaken down the people will become stubborn, impatient, and easily angered. They say their behavior will then begin to resemble that of a bear. Maybe this explains why our people have behavioral issues and mental health conditions today? Just a food for thought.


In addition, there are proper ways to picking Pinons, such as one may use a thin branch to tap gently at the tree for a few pinons to fall, but not to much. Also, we are told to never lay down when picking pinons and only bears lay down when getting pinons. Just to add, when you shake and break off branches and the pine cones this effects the seasonal crops causing the Pinon trees to take a longer time period to redevelop its branches and pine cones were Pinons grow. So be aware on how you go about picking.


I hope everyone enjoys this time of the season. I just wanted to share a few stories related to Pinon season and picking that I got to learn from different people over the years. Also, please continue to follow safety precautions by practicing social distancing, use proper sanitization and PPE (if needed), and clean up after yourself after picking!




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Mike Lord

4th generation Santa Fe Gringo.

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