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Waterfront Toronto






Indigenous trail tree markers, also known as trail trees, trail marker trees, are living trees that were shaped or manipulated by Indigenous peoples in North America to serve as navigational aids. These trees were utilized by various Indigenous cultures, including Native American tribes, (in the USA) as an ancient and effective means of marking trails, water sources, important locations, or other points of interest.


The process of creating trail tree markers involved carefully selecting and shaping young saplings or flexible branches of certain tree species. The preferred tree species for this purpose varied depending on the region and the tribe, but common choices included oak, pine, cedar, and elm trees. The young trees were often bent or manipulated while still pliable, and their growth was guided over a period of several years to achieve specific shapes or patterns.


Different techniques were employed to shape the trees. One method involved bending the young tree’s trunk or branches and securing them in place using cords or weights. Sometimes, the trees were partially buried or weighted down with rocks or other objects to maintain the desired shape. Over time, as the tree continued to grow, the new shape became permanent.

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