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Native American Literature

Indians, we picture them as half naked people causing raucous throughout the land, messing with the settlers, and being completely uncivilized and uneducated. There Is no way that these people could have created stones to be passed down throughout the generations but they did and they still are around to this very day. These oral traditions, or stories that are told by word of mouth, include “The World on the Turtle’s Back”, which explains to us how our world came to be.

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The story “Coyote and Buffalo” gives us lessons that easily correlate with the building of a person’s hearted, and finally, “Fox and Coyote and the Whale” persuades us to fight for who and what we love. These tall tales can be Influential to our lives as Americans because the stories tell of lessons that could be essential to all of the human race when it comes to developing one’s self to become a better soul. The story called “World on Turtle’s Back” gives us an idea on how the Indians believed the world began.

Before there was an Earth there was a skyward. There, a pregnant lady went to dig up the roots from a sacred tree and was then either pushed Into or accidental fallen through a hole that exposed an entire new world underneath. (Page 42, Paragraph 1) As she fell and grasped to the edges of skyward, remnants of soil and roots were attached to her hands. Luckily, as she fell a group of birds caught her on their wingspan and finally laded her down upon a sea turtle’s shell.

Then, a heroic muskrat brought up soil from deep within the ocean underneath so the fallen lady could set to work creating land. ( Page 42, Paragraph 9) Soon the pregnant woman gave birth to her child, a daughter, and together the two travel around the turtle’s back until land was formed. As her child aged she became magically pregnant by the West Wind. Page 42) She then gives birth to twins who constantly quarrel, for they are opposites, good and evil. Together they balance the world, inventing opposing animals such as the peaceful deer and violent mountain lion. Page 40, Paragraph 2) As the story progresses, it tells of reasons for most common assurances in nature, such as the moon being the twin, as in today’s ideas of evil It Is associated with the darkness that comes from the night. The second story Is entitled “Coyote and Buffalo”. This story expresses to the dalliance various character traits that should be Instilled within a person or avoided. One of these values is to respect others. When coyote kicks the skull of the dead bull, and the bull comes back alive to kill him, it expresses how important it is to treat others the way you would want to be treated. Page 25, paragraph 1) Another lesson it emphasizes Is to listen to what you’re told to do, as it is for a reason. When the bull gives coyote the cow, he tells him not to eat It, but coyote does not listen and defies him. (page 28-29) Coyote at this point Is very dishonest and greedy. He thinks that he can get away with eating the cow and perhaps getting another one from the bull, hush leading up to another life lesson, karma. When coyote kills the cow, an old woman tells him that he should not be cooking the cow for that is woman’s work.

At this point, coyote is being incredibly vain and this woman is being very sneaky and steals all of his food. (Page 28, paragraph 2) This proves that what comes around goes around and that you should let yourself become slobbered, which all people have The last story is called “The Fox, Coyote, and Whale” and it teaches a lesson on fighting for those you love. Fox’s wife, leaves him to be the evil whale that occupies the river. Page 44, Paragraph 1) Fox is so overwhelmed by his love for her that he stops at no cost and risks his life to retrieve her from the whale’s possession.

While trying to take his wife back, the evil whale attempts to kill Fox, Coyote, and Fox’s wife, but Fox loves these people and protects them over himself and hides them within his pipe, saving them all. (Page 45, Paragraph 1) As Fox’s wife gets away from Whale, she feels as if she had been awaken from a spell, for once she is returned to fox she becomes happy again. (Page 45, Paragraph 4) So in other words, love can cast a spell n you causing you to make rash decisions while under its magical powers.

Of course, Fox finally forgives his wife, but this proves that you should not cheat on your significant other. So in conclusion, Native American literature is very important to our society. The themes of all of the stories are easily related to everyday life. From the positive moments to the very lows, lessons can be learned from these tales. To the people of Indian cultures these stories are still very relevant to their lives. It is the only surviving history that they have of the prior lives of their relatives, so they must keep it preserved for generations to come.