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For other uses, see Kinnikinnick (disambiguation).

Kinnikinnick is a Native American smoking product, typically made of mixture of various leaves or barks with other plant materials.


The term "kinnikinnick" derives from Unami Delaware /kələkːəˈnikːan/, "mixture" (c.f. Ojibwe giniginige "to mix something animate with something inanimate"),[1] from Proto-Algonquian *kereken-, "mix (it) with something different by hand".[2]

By extension, the name was also applied by the European hunters, traders, and settlers to various shrubs in which the bark or leaves are employed in the mixture,[3] most often Bearberry (Arctostaphylos spp.)[4] and to lesser degree, Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) and Silky Cornel (Cornus amomum), and even to Canadian Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), Evergreen Sumac (Rhus virens) and the Littleleaf Sumac (Rhus microphylla).

Preparation and use[edit]

The preparation varies by locality and by Native American tribes. Bartlett quotes Trumbull as saying: "I have smoked half a dozen varieties of kinnikinnick in the North-west—all genuine; and have scraped and prepared the red willow-bark, which is not much worse than Suffield oak-leaf.[3][5]

Eastern tribes traditionally used Nicotiana rustica in their peace pipe but western tribes used kinnikinick.[4] Cutler cites Edward S. Rutsch's study of the Iroquois, listing ingredients used by other Native American tribes: leaves or bark of red osier dogwood, arrowroot, red sumac, laurel, ironwood, wahoo, squaw huckleberry, Indian tobacco, Jamestown weed, black birch, cherry bark, corn, mullein; along with muskrat glands or oil, and other animal oil or rendered fat.[4]

Historical references[edit]

Native names[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "kiniginige" in Frederic Baraga A Dictionary of the Ojibway Language. Minnesota Historical Society Press (St. Paul, MN: 1992). ISBN 0-87351-281-2. Part II, page 189.
  2. ^ Flexner, Stuart Berg and Leonore Crary Hauck, eds.. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd ed. (unabridged). Random House (New York: 1987). Page 1058.
  3. ^ a b "Kinnikinnick" in Frederick Webb Hodge (editor) Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology (Washington: 1911). Part 1, page 692.
  4. ^ a b c Charles L. Cutler. Tracks that speak: the legacy of Native American words in North American culture. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Boston : 2002). Pages 174–176. ISBN 0-618-06510-5
  5. ^ a b c d e ""Kinnikinnick" in John Russell Bartlett. Dictionary of Americanisms, 4th Edition. Little, Brown, and Company (New York: 1877). Page 335.
  6. ^ William W. Warren. History of the Ojibway People. Minnesota Historical Society Press (St. Paul, MN : 1885; repr. 1984). Page 150 and page 411.
  7. ^ John P. Williamson. An English-Dakota Dictionary. Minnesota Historical Society Press (St. Paul, MN : 1902; repr. 1992). Page 95.
  8. ^ Inez Hilger. Chippewa Child Life and Its Cultural Background. Minnesota Historical Society Press (St. Paul, MN : 1951, repr. 1992). Page 63.
  9. ^ "The Peace Pipe" in Song of Hiawatha
  10. ^ Chamberlin, Ralph Vary (1911). "The Ethno-botany of the Gosiute Indians of Utah". Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association Vol II, part 5. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 

External links[edit]