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Native American Literature Our American identity as we know it is a product of our past. Our class will focus on literature which reveals how we arrived at our ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Native%20American%20Literature

Native American Literature
(No Transcript)
Historical Cultural Context
  • Our American identity as we know it is a product
    of our past. Our class will focus on literature
    which reveals how we arrived at our society and
    culture today.
  • We study Native American literature out of a
    respect for the indigenous cultures who were here
    before the European explorers as well as a
    respect for their cultural and literary influence
    throughout the years.

  • Indigenous Americans inhabited this continent
    before anyone else. They endured many invasions
    from the Spaniards for the following primary
  • 1. land
  • 2. gold
  • 3. crops
  • (all of which were plentiful)

Storytelling Oral Tradition
  • Long before European explorers came to North
    America, Native Americans had a rich literary
    tradition of their own. Their stories, histories,
    and legends were shared and preserved through
    oral tradition. The storyteller is one whose
    spirit is indispensable to the people.

  • The Native Americans spoke hundreds of languages
    and lived in incredibly diverse societies with
    varied mythological beliefs.
  • Despite their differences, their cultures and
    literary traditions had the following common
  • Lack of a written language
  • They believed in the power of words and they
    relied on memory, rather than writing to preserve
    their texts
  • Thus, these stories are not defined by the
    boundaries of written language there are no
    ending pages and they are not contained within a
    limited, concrete, physical source.

  • These stories belong to the collective people/the
  • The storyteller is very important to culture and
    is one of the most honored and respected members
    of the tribe/society
  • There is no known original author

  • These oral stories include the following types of
  • Cultural information (beliefs about social order
    and appropriate behavior)
  • Historical accounts including migrations how
    people got to where they are
  • Lessons describe how and why things are the way
    they are
  • Creation stories and the origins of societies
    (beliefs about the nature of the physical world)

  • While oral stories are meant to be passed
    down through generations verbally, it is
    important to remember that written transcripts
    are not exactly representative of the oral
    performance. But a translation/ transcription of
    the stories is the closest we can come to sharing
    the Native American culture and tradition.

Some Dominant Themes Motifs
  • Relationships between humans and animals
  • Respect and reverence for mother earth and nature
  • Connection to the spiritual world and the
    presence of an invisible power that is the source
    of life and good for humans
  • Animal and human roles are interchangeable
  • Cyclical patterns renewal and continuance

  • Plants are thought to be alive, their juice is
    their blood, and they grow. The same is true of
    trees. All things die, therefore all things have
    life. Because all things have life, gifts have to
    be given to all things.
  • - William Ralganal Benson Pomo
  • This rock did not come here by itself. This tree
    did not come here by itself. There is one who
    made all this, Who shows us everything.
  • - Yuki