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Native American Literature?
Transcript of Native American Literature?
Native American Literature
Native American Literature
Native Americans thrived from the Paleolithic era into the Columbian era. During that time, they wrote many stories and fables. Much of their literature is in the form of oral stories and many contain important lessons.
The Story of Two Wolves
Up until a few hundred years ago almost all stories written by native americans were passed down by oral tradition.
What makes it different
They had rich mythology to explain the the world around them. Those that were written down were put into scripts, many as fables.
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life.
“A fight is going on inside me,” he told the young boy, “a terrible fight between two wolves.
One is evil, full of anger, sorrow, regret, greed, self-pity and false pride.
The other is good, full of joy, peace, love, humility, kindness and faith.”
“This same fight is going on inside of you, grandson…and inside of every other person on this earth.”
The grandson ponders this for a moment and then asks, “Grandfather, which wolf will win?”
The old man smiled and simply said,
“The one you feed.”
Long ago when the world was young, an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain and had a vision.
In his vision, Iktomi, the great trickster and teacher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider.
Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language that only the spiritual leaders of the Lakota could understand.
As he spoke Iktomi, the spider, took the elder's willow hoop which had feathers, horse hair, beads and offerings on it and began to spin a web.
He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life...and how we begin our lives as infants and we move on to childhood, and then to adulthood. Finally, we go to old age where we must be taken care of as infants, completing the cycle.
"But," Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, "in each time of life there are many forces -- some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But if you listen to the bad forces, they will hurt you and steer you in the wrong direction."
He continued, "There are many forces and different directions that can help or interfere with the harmony of nature, and also with the great spirit and all of his wonderful teachings."
All the while the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web starting from the outside and working towards the center.
When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the Lakota elder the web and said...."See, the web is a perfect circle but there is a hole in the center of the circle."
He said, "Use the web to help yourself and you people to reach your goals and make use of your people's ideas, dreams and visions.
"If you believe in the great spirit, the web will catch your good ideas -- and the bad ones will go through the hole."
The Lakota elder passed on his vision to his people and now the Sioux Indians use the dream catcher as the web of their life.
It is hung above their beds or in their home to sift their dreams and visions.
The good in their dreams are captured in the web of life and carried with them...but the evil in their dreams escapes through the hole in the center of the web and are no longer a part of them.
They believe that the dream catcher holds the destiny of their future.
The Lakota lived in the Great Plains and were famous for their strong resistance during the Sioux war, in which the U.S. waged war on Native Americans.
The Cherokee were Native Americans of the Eastern Regions they were more in tune with the forest and were among the first to meet English colonists.They are also known for the trail of tears.
By: Wesley Bumpus, Kriston Kapan, Lindsey Lukacs, and Wyndra Bair
the world around
How was it significant to the American History?
Native american literature inspired many modern novels. Ex: children stories.
the very idea of telling a story with a lesson involved was a huge literal impact.
teaching lessons and explaining the world to later generations.
One historical connection: between the themes of the stories is that it shaped native american philosophy.
usually shaped towards the white men arriving on their shores,They looked upon them with peace and tranquility.
Native American Literature was mainly for necessity. They always had a lesson to give, and in many ways this has seeped into american literature.