The Sacred Earth and the Power of Storytelling. Native American Mythology

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1 The Sacred Earth and the Power of Storytelling Native American Mythology

2 Essential Question How do the myths reflect how the Native Americans viewed the world around them?

3 Native Americans The Native Americans who populated America before European explorers arrive in 1490s had diverse cultures, languages, and social values

4 Native Americans Plains Indians Hunted buffalo Lived in portable dwellings Passed on knowledge through oral tradition stereotypical depiction of Native Americans

5 Native Americans Aztecs Complex society Great cities Large-scale farming Elaborate written records In-short, Aztec accomplishments rivaled those of European counterparts

6 p. 8 in your textbook What caused the dramatic population loss in Native American groups in the first century after European contact?

7 Oral Tradition Before European colonization, hundreds of nations of Native Americans existed Oral tradition began approximately 40,000 years ago Each culture develops its own stories and mythology-each had a unique culture and heritage Each had its own oral literature Stories passed down from one generation to the next in households and in tribal ceremonies Stories embodied the tribe s past and told of its close relationship with the natural world No single author created by an entire people

8 Oral Tradition Sacred stories at the heart of religious ceremonies Many Native American cultures considered the entire earth, and all living things, sacred Versions of stories evolve through generations and are still a living part of Native American traditions Reverence for the natural world passed down through oral storytelling Speakers and storytellers valued members of community What effect could the dramatic population loss have had on the Native American s oral tradition?

9 Mythology Myth Anonymous, traditional story that explains a natural phenomenon, an aspect of human behavior, or a mystery of the universe. Creation Myths Tell how the world and human beings came to exist Origin Myths Explain how natural phenomena, such as the stars, moon, and mountains, came to be or why a society has certain beliefs and customs Some stories contain both creation and origin myths

10 Beliefs Owning land Did not believe that any person or group could own land Insisted that it belongs in common to all people and living creatures How did Native Americans religious views lead to conflict with Europeans? (p. 12)

11 Based on their spiritual views and their values, what concepts and ideas would you expect to find in Native American literary tradition (NA stories)? Read pp

12 Mythology Myth Anonymous, traditional story that explains a natural phenomenon, an aspect of human behavior, or a mystery of the universe. Creation Myths Tell how the world and human beings came to exist Origin Myths Explain how natural phenomena, such as the stars, moon, and mountains, came to be or why a society has certain beliefs and customs Some stories contain both creation and origin myths

13 Archetypes A symbol, story pattern, or character type that is found in the literature of many cultures Example characters: Siblings who are complete opposites of each other

14 Archetypes In Iroquois myth, Sky Woman gives birth to twins, one good, and one evil. This explains the eternal struggle between light and dark and between order and chaos.

15 Archetypes Example characters Hero Wise man Trickster

16 Archetypes Example stories Quest Explanation Love

17 Archetypes Example symbols Good and evil Life and death Knowledge

18 Trickster Archetype Frequently an animal (often associated with a coyote, raven, or a mink) that speaks and displays other human traits, and has two sides to its personality 1. Rebels who defy authority and often cause trouble 2. Clever and creative figures who can unexpectedly reveal wisdom

19 Trickster Archetype Examples: Coyote brought death into the world because it would become overcrowded if everyone lived forever Trickster stole sun from other side of earth so all people could share day and night equally.

20 Trickster Archetype Robin Hood

21 Function of Myths Emphasize a strong spiritual bond between the Creator, humanity, and the entire natural world Emphasize the duty of human beings to maintain a balance in the natural world How are myths used? Provide a sense of identity and order Heal the sick Ensure a plentiful supply of food Teach moral lessons Transition into adulthood Share the wisdom of the tribal past

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