Indigenous peoples of North America found the plant and its fruit very useful. The bright red, acidic berries were used extensively for food throughout the year. Fresh berries were eaten in large quantities, or used for fish bait because of the slight resemblance to salmon eggs. Berries were also dried for later use. Dried berries were stewed and made into sauces, or mixed with salmon roe and oil to eat at winter feasts.
The bark or leaves of the plant were brewed for a bitter cold remedy, made as tea or smoked. The branches were used as brooms, and the twigs were used to fasten western skunk cabbage leaves into berry baskets.Huckleberries can be eaten fresh or dried or prepared as a tea or jelly.