Daniel Moerman’s excellent Native American Ethnobotany provides a number of food uses of shagbark hickory by First Nations peoples, with the listing of food uses by the Iroquois being the most extensive. Iroquois uses included: drinking the liquid of crushed and boiled nutmeats as a beverage; feeding the oil from crushed and boiled nutmeats to babies, and crushing the nuts for use as ingredients in breads, puddings, gravies, and soups. Many First Nations ate the nuts raw, and at least some peoples harvested these for use as a food in winter. Another use common across different peoples was to use the tree to produce sweeteners. Sugars were either extracted from the running sap or from boiling the hickory chips.
Shagbark hickory is also used indirectly to gather food. Due to its elasticity, the wood was used for the construction of bows and arrows (i.e., hunting). The weight and toughness of the wood was also desirable for the construction of ploughs and early farm implements. While some of these uses may no longer be common, the smoke from the wood remains in use as a popular flavouring and preservative of meats and cheeses.
Carya ovata is native to much of the eastern USA as well as small portions of Ontario and Quebec. It can grow to 40m (130ft) tall, though it averages perhaps half that height. Additional photographs of Carya ovata are available via Wikipedia.