These Trees Have Secret Native American Codes. Their Meaning? Brilliant! [via Nina Reznick]

Have you ever been walking through the woods and noticed an oddly shaped tree? These trees, totally inconspicuous save for their strange shapes, have a very special place in America’s history — and serve a fascinating purpose! Over 100 years ago, these trees were purposefully bent, and their odd shapes communicate very important messages.

In order to live and work efficiently, these tribes needed a way to navigate their land and communicate with one another. Called "marker trees," or "trail trees," saplings were carefully bent by a local Native American tribe, forcing them to grow in unnatural shapes. Like highway exit signs, these trees would have pointed tribes people to water sources, medicinal plants, and special burial sites.

These formations communicated a special message to the tribe members.
The shapes of the trees varied depending upon the tribe and the message being relayed. 

Later, European settlers would often use these trail markers for guidance to the same resources: fresh water, mineral deposits, and safe-crossing points.

This tree stands upon a geographical divide, said to mark the boundary between two local tribes. Hence the reason it points in opposite directions.

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