Arbutus and tsunamis

by Philip Vogelzang
(Seattle WA)

Last year my wife and I visited Desolation Sound. We went to a local center of native peoples. It was there I discovered another cool fact about arbutus trees.

The BC coastal native peoples held the arbutus as sacred. This was because, whenever a tsunami came, they knew that before running for higher ground, to tie their valuable longboats to an arbutus tree first. Because of their long, deep taproot, arbutus trees did not wash away during the tsunami and held the native longboats secure. As a result, the native peoples never cut down an arbutus tree as they were held in such high regard.

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