Silver Maple : A Native Tree silver maple
Many Native American tribes, relying on plants for everything from medicine to food, used parts of Acer saccharinum for a variety of purposes. The Cherokee, Chippewa, and Ojibwa tribes would use infusions or decoctions of the bark to cure many ailments: cramps, hives, dysentery, measles, and diarrhea. The Mohegans used bark to make cough syrup, but only the bark from the south side of the tree. The inner bark could be mixed with water to wash sore eyes, and the root bark could be brewed to treat gonorrhea.
The silver maple's usefulness extends beyond medicine. For hundreds of years, the sap has been used to make syrup. The Cherokee relied on its twigs to weave baskets and its wood for furniture and decorative carvings. By mixing the sap with thimbleberries and water, the Iroquois developed a way to make alcohol. They would also grind up the bark and use it as flour to bake bread. The Chippewa would mix that same bark with hemlock and swamp oak barks to make a paste that could remove rust from steel or iron. (I found that a bit disturbing—kind of like how Coca-Cola can remove rust from car engines.) The bark and twigs could also be used to create a black dye excellent for treating tanned animal hides. The Omaha tribe used dice bowls carved from silver maple wood every day.