In Harmony with Nature Notes
Native American Traditions: In Harmony With Nature:
· The first American literature was created by the first people to live here -- the Native Americans, who inhabited North America tens of thousand of years before the first Europeans arrived.
· They belonged to more than three hundred distinct groups who spoke more than 200 different languages.
· They called themselves names such as Anishinabe, Dine', and Lakota -- each of which means "the people."
· Their ways of life differed greatly. They had complex religious beliefs, sophisticated political systems, and strong social values, all reflected in their literatures.
· Native American literatures were primarily oral, passed down from generation to generation by storytelling and performances.
· Widespread types of Native American oral literature are
o creation myth, which explain the beginning of the world;
o tales of heroes and tricksters who transformed the world to its present state;
o and the ritual songs and chants that are part of ceremonies.
· Much of the traditional Native American literature emphasizes the importance of living in harmony with the natural world.
o Human beings have a kinship with animals, plants, the land, heavenly bodies, and the elements.
o Humans do not have dominion over nature; they are part of nature and must act to maintain a right relationship with the world around them.