Native American Literature : By: Vista Townsend Native American Literature Myths : The purpose of myths is to seek to explain or rationalize one or more aspects of the world or a society.
Myths usually have religious or supernatural elements and have a character that is immortal
Origin myth— a myth that explains how something began Myths Creation Myths : Many cultures around the world have stories about creation.
Three Native American creations myths :
The Earth on Turtle’s Back ~ Onondaga
When Grizzlies Walked Upright ~ Modoc
Navajo Origin Legend ~ Navajo Creation Myths Oral language : Oral language The languages of Native American tribes were never written down before the English arrived from Europe.
Their stories were passed verbally from generation to generation. Language of North America : Language of North America Forgotten Languages : The population of the native civilizations of the current territory of the United States fell from about 20 million to the present level of less than 2 million.
Beyond the shrinking size of the ethnic populations, the languages have also suffered due to the prevalence of English among those of Native American ancestry.
Most Native American languages have ceased to exist, or are spoken only by older speakers, with whom the language will die in the coming decades. Forgotten Languages Remaining Speakers : Only 8 indigenous languages of the area of the continental United States currently have a population of speakers in the U.S. and Canada large enough to populate a medium-sized town. Only Navajo still has a population of greater than 25,000 within the U.S. Remaining Speakers Code Talkers in WW II : During World War II, bilingual Native Americans , mainly Navajo, transmitted messages through codes for the United States Army.
The codes were never broken by the enemy.
The Navajos could encode, transmit, and decode a three–line message in 20 seconds. Machines used at that time to perform the same operation took 30 minutes. Code Talkers in WW II Slide 9: The Earth on Turtle’s Back Time period and literary style : This story is a legend that was written by the Onondaga Tribe.
It displays the emphases they placed on dreams
It was most likely written before the Europeans came to America in the late 1400’s. There is no exact time period in which it was written.
This legend was passed down from generation to generation. Time period and literary style Author’s purpose : Origin myth which describe the creation of the earth.
Shows that weaker and smaller animals can accomplish things that larger and stronger animals have failed to complete
Teaches that you have determination nothing will stand in your way. Author’s purpose Slide 12: Imagery—images formed in reader’s mind relating to story
example: tree, water world, turtle
Repetition—repeating something over and over
example, when the Muskrat was swimming, the author repeated the idea of swimming deeper to show how much determination the Muskrat had Imagery & Repetition Modoc : Modoc When Grizzlies Walked Upright Captain Jack Time period and literary style : Time period—Before the Europeans came to American in the late 1400’s by the Modoc tribe
Origin myth explaining “The Sky Spirit” creates the earth, and the creation of the Native Americans. Time period and literary style Author’s purpose : Explains the creation of Mount Shasta and the land and animals nearby.
Tells how the daughter of the Sky Spirit marries a bear and their children become the first Native Americans.
The Native Americans living around the mountain would never kill a grizzly bear because of this story. Author’s purpose Slide 16: The Sky Spirit had cursed the grizzlies by saying, “Get down on your hands and knees. You have wronged me, and from this moment all of you will walk on four feet and never talk again.”
The Sky Spirit Chief behaved like a human when he used anger to punish the grizzlies. Conflict Slide 17: The Navajo Origin Legend Slide 18: Navajo woman with her children The time period of the story was when the Native Americans lived before the English people came to America.
The Navajo told the myths verbally, passing them from generation to generation. Time Period Author's purpose : The purpose of the story is to examine how the Navajo people believed the human race was created
The Navajo people believed these stories were true.
It is a origin myth telling how marriage began. Author's purpose Literary techniques & author purpose : The author used symbolism in the literature.
The corn was placed facing east and west, relating to the passage of the sun
The man and woman were created from the corn and the buckskin. The corn & deer are basic foods which provide life for the Navajo.
The four gods represent the four directions of the wind which gave life to the humans. Literary techniques & author purpose Slide 21: The Iroquois Constitution Slide 22: "The Iroquois Constitution" was first thought to have been written in the 1500's, but a newer theory believes it to be between 1090 and 1150 A.D.
Five Nations that formed the Iroquois Confederation included the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca tribes. Time Period Slide 23: The author uses imagery to help the reader picture what the author is describing.
“Tree of the Great Peace” can be picture in your head.
The author also uses symbolism.
The tree symbolism the Iroquois Confederate
The roots of that tree symbolized peace and strength. Imagery & Symbolism Slide 24: The Iroquois Constitution set forth a series of laws, forming a government that any could join if they wished to obey the laws.
At the beginning of counsel meetings, the Iroquois gave thanks to the Creator for the natural world. Government Sources : Wikispaces
The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations http://www.indigenouspeople.net/iroqcon.htm
Native America Languages http://www.cogsci.indiana.edu/farg/rehling/nativeAm/ling.html Sources