How Native Americans Use Hemp

Long before the British settled the colonies we now know as the United States, the indigenous people, or Native Americans had established a lifestyle rich in culture, tradition, and agriculture. One of their most beloved crops was the hemp plant, and they utilized its many attributes in ways you would never have thought! It is no news that Native Americans laid the groundwork for many modern inventions that we take for granted. Let’s take a look at some of the amazing ways that Native American culture has used hemp as one of nature’s most versatile resources.

Native Americans have used hemp for thousands of years to create high quality, durable, and long-lasting cloth. Throughout history, tribes have used hemp cloth to create clothes, shoes, blankets, rugs and so much more. Hemp cloth material is a much higher quality fabric and four times as absorbent as cotton. Not to mention, Hemp Cloth lasts much longer than other cloth materials. Not only does the quality of hemp surpass other materials, but it is also easy to maintain. Cotton, for example, requires a ton of upkeep- needing herbicides and pesticides.  The Native Americans have been historically intelligent about the materials they use to make their cloth- taking factors like quality, harvest, and cost.

Native Americans have also utilized hemp to contribute to the oil and gas industry. In hemp, Cellulose is found which is a biodegradable organic polymer. In fact, this has become a biodegradable replacement for plastic. Consisting of  77% cellulose, hemp hurds, provided by Native American hemp farms, are used in the production of chemicals, plastics, and fibers. The cellulose content in hemp hurds yields a higher concentration than even sugar cane. It is estimated that each acre of hemp is able to yield 1000 gallons of methanol or 500 gallons of gasoline. Hemp seeds have 30% oil which has been high-grade diesel fuel as well as aircraft engine fuel and precision machine oil. Native Americans originated hemp seed oil extraction, using it for lamps long before whale oil.

Because Native Americans have been using hemp for many years, they created the Intertribal Hemp Association which was established in 2016 to aid Native Americans who make a living through hemp farming. This Association protects and provides relief to the Native American Hemp Industry, currently covering 8 states. This association has protected millions of acres of naturalized hemp industrialized by Native Americans. Historically, hemp seeds have been taken from Native American tribes without compensation. The Intertribal Hemp Association recognizes this fact, so Native Americans are now able to surpass hurdles that would slow down their hemp production. For example, Native Americans can make products from their existing hemp without having to take costly measures on industrial machinery and production.

You may have heard of the peace pipe, a pipe Native American tribes have used due to their belief that it provides them with nurturing, healing and wisdom. Using a mixture of tobacco and cannabis, it continues to be used in many tribes today. Native American tribes are the true pioneers for the smoking circle, as they would pass the peace pipe and tell stories and myths around the fire. Using the peace pipe, Native Americans quite literally intended to bring peace to their reservation. Some even say that cannabis was used in their peace pipe for clarity of vision. The peace pipe ceremony is symbolic of rich and colorful Native American culture- rooted in gathering and tradition.