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Bkongises [Bark Peeling Moon]

Potawatomi observed Bkongises in spring, but harvesting bark continued throughout the warmer months as tree sap flowed heavier. The more sap a tree produced, the easier it was to peel its bark. The sap also acted as a safety barrier, protecting the tree from pests and disease after it was peeled. A variety of bark species were harvested, each having their own use. Elm and birch supplied bark for buckets, canoes and homes. The ash tree provided for baskets and packs. Spruce and basswood for cordage and netting. Cedar and oak for tools and weapons. Bark was also used for clothing, mats and medicines. Trees that were straight, with no scars or knots were preferred. Peeling took special tools that included the gemsagen (axe), koman (knife) and bnegjigen (bark peeling spud).


Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center

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