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Naturally curious, when answers are not readily available

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Title: Naturally curious, when answers are not readily available


1
Native American Myths
2
  • A simple definition of a myth is a story handed
    down through history, often through oral
    tradition, that explains or gives value to the
    unknown.

http//www.motherearthbeats.com/wp-content/themes/
the20hobbit/images/weatherindian3.jpg
3
All generations of man have asked how, why, when,
and where.
http//www.crystalinks.com/namcreationwomen.html
  • Naturally curious, when answers are not readily
    available, we try to figure them out for
    ourselves.
  • What is lightning, what makes a volcano erupt,
    why are there tidal waves, how was the world
    created?

4
Why Myths?
  • People have always tried to figure out common
    questions like who made the universe or questions
    like what causes a storm.
  • Religion, gods, and myths were created when
    people tried to make sense out of these
    questions.
  • For early people myths were like science because
    they explain how things work.  They also
    explained other questions that are now answered
    through modern science.

http//media.photobucket.com/image/native20americ
an/jdfangman/Native20American/Pleiadewomannativea
mericanindian.jpg?o60
http//media.photobucket.com/image/native20americ
an/jdfangman/Native20American/Youngcouplenativeam
ericanindian.jpg?o56
5
  • Myths are often stories told by a particular
    people such as Indians, Egyptians, Greeks,
    Romans, and others. They are especially linked to
    religious beliefs and rituals.
  • A myth is a story with a purpose. It tries to
    explain the way the world is. 
  • Myths also try to explain the relationship
    between gods and humans.
  • Even though the events in a myth are usually
    impossible, they try to send a message that has
    an important social or religious meaning.

http//www.crystalinks.com/namcreationwomen.html
6
Myths as a Teaching Tool
  • Myths were used to teach humans behavior that
    helped people live in concert with one another.
  • Mythical gods certainly had some strange and not
    acceptable behavior, yet stories often
    demonstrated such topics as the need for
    hospitality (tale of Philemon and Baucis) or the
    need to keep pride in check (Narcissus). In the
    eyes of the gods, excessive pride, or hubris, was
    the worst offense and deserved the worst
    punishment. (Niobe story)

http//www.crystalinks.com/namcreationwomen.html
7
  • Many Native American myths could equally be
    called folktales they seem to be about ordinary
    people, not gods. However, the Native American
    attitude is that everything is animated by
    divinity. Hence ordinary people, animals and
    places are divine.
  • Often the people are not even named, or are given
    a convenient tag, such as Rabbit Boy raised by
    rabbits. Nor is there much attempt to
    characterize them. Universal principles are held
    to be more important than individual traits.

Folktales
http//www.crystalinks.com/namcreationwomen.html
8
  • Myths, then, are stories about certain characters
    -- gods, goddesses, men, women, and, especially,
    heroes. The Native North American cultures did
    not have a written language. Instead, a groups
    history, legends, and myths were entrusted to
    memory and faithfully passed from generation to
    generation through oral tradition.
  • In this oral tradition, stories often became
    distorted so that, in reading mythologies today,
    there are often variations in the same story. The
    moral however remains the same.

In the words of one Native American holy woman,
When you write things down you dont have to
remember them. But for us it is different. . . .
All that we are, all that we have ever been,
all the great names of our heroes and their songs
and deeds are alive within each of us. . . living
in our blood.
http//www.crystalinks.com/namcreationwomen.html
9
Characteristics of Native American Mythology
  • deeply based in Nature
  • rich with the symbolism of seasons, weather,
    plants, animals, earth, water, sky and fire.
  • The idea of an all powerful Great Spirit, a
    connection to the Earth, diverse creation
    narratives and collective memories of ancient
    ancestors are common.
  • Traditional worship practices are often a part of
    tribal gatherings with dance, rhythm, songs and
    trance.
  • trickster stories are common

www.randystory.com/mythology_page.htm
10
TRICKSTER TALES
  • Trickster tales are a type of folk tale that
    features an animal or human character who
    typically engages in deceit, violence, and magic.
    Often, trickster tales are mythic, explaining how
    some aspect of human nature or the natural world
    came to be.
  • Tricksters are archetypal characterscharacter
    types that can be found in literary works from
    different cultures throughout the ages. A
    trickster is full of contradictions and may
    appear to be heroic and greedy, devious and kind,
    or foolish and clever.

http//www.randystory.com/native_american_werewolf
.jpg
11
CREATION MYTHS
  • A myth is a traditional story, usually involving
    supernatural beings or events, that explains how
    some aspect of human nature or the natural world
    came to be.
  • A creation myth is a specific kind of myth that
    typically
  • describes how the universe, earth, and life began
  • explains the workings of the natural world
  • supports and validates social customs and values
  • guides people through the trials of living

http//www.crystalinks.com/nativeamcreation.html
12
  • Some Traditional NATIVE AMERICAN ANIMAL SYMBOLS
  • Please note that this is general animal symbolism
    and may vary by tribe.

Alligator Symbolizes stealth and a fight for
survival. Ant Symbolizes group effort, teamwork
and overall perseverance. Badger Symbolizes
aggressiveness, passion and drive. Bat The bat
is the guardian of the night. Bear The bear is
the protector and symbolizes physical strength
and leadership. Bear Paw The paw is a symbol of
direction and power. Beaver The beaver is best
known as a hunter and gatherer. Buffalo The
buffalo provides the good things for those living
as well as sacredness. Butterfly The butterfly
is a transformer and a symbol of metamorphosis.
Cougar The cougar stands for power, leadership,
and swiftness. Coyote Sometimes considered an
omen that bad things could happen. Is also
considered a trickster. Crane The crane is a
symbol of solitude and independence. Deer
Symbolizes speed and family protection. Dolphin
The dolphin is a symbol of kindness, but has the
nature to be playful. Dragonfly He is often
considered a messenger. Eagle Often considered
the protector, carrier of prayers, visions
spirits. Elk The elk is an animal of nobility,
power, freedom, and great strength and agility.
Fox The fox is very a cunning, intelligent, and
providing animal. Frog Symbolizes renewal,
fertility springtime.
13
Sources
  • http//www.dl.ket.org/latin1/mythology/whatisa.htm
  • http//library.thinkquest.org/J002356F/myth.htm
  • http//www.gods-heros-myth.com/namain.html
  • http//www.motherearthbeats.com/wp-content/themes/
    the20hobbit/images/weatherindian3.jpg
  • http//www.crystalinks.com/namcreationwomen.html
  • http//www.crystalinks.com/nativeamcreation.html
  • http//www.randystory.com/native_american_werewolf
    .jpg
  • http//www.randystory.com/mythology_page.htm
  • http//www.motherearthbeats.com/wp-content/themes/
    the20hobbit/images/weatherindian3.jpg
  • McDougal Littell Literature Grade 11, Literature
    of the Americas
  • http//media.photobucket.com/image/native20americ
    an/jdfangman/Native20American/Pleiadewom
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