Values and Morals through Native American Myths and Tales
Throughout all forms of Native American tales and myths we see many values and aspects portrayed by the Native American people.In the myths that are read, the reader can easily pick off and single off values that the Native American people truly saw were thoroughly important in their time and society.The Native American people believed in many aspects which were usually considered important values for people to possess.
The thing about Native American myths and tales that is found astonishing is the fact that these stories are most likely improbable but regardless of that, these stories still depict great human qualities that everyone should have. Native American myths capture the culture and values of the society in which it was produced with the morals involving love and friendship, the relationship between humans and animals and trust and loyalty.
Firstly, in opinion one of the biggest values told by the Native Americans has indeed have to be love and friendship. There are several appearances of these two morals throughout the myths, this indicates that the Native Americans did in fact see these values as quite important. Right off the bat, we see in the first story “The Earth on Turtle’s Back” the animals in the story see the women and instantly try to care for and make sure the women is safe, “We must do something to help her” this shows somewhat of a base for the love the animals radiate toward the women. As the story progresses we also see quotes such as, “Look, she doesn’t have webbed feet. I don’t think she can live in the water.”
This is also another form showing love and friendship because Native Americans are extremely caring toward one another, even if that life form isn’t even of the same species. Also in the myth “Iroquois Constitution” we see quotes such as, “Your heart shall be filled with peace and good will and your mind filled with yearning for the welfare of the people of the confederacy.” If Native Americans pledge to live peacefully and become a part of the confederacy they will have unity, or friendship with each other. On the other hand, love and friendship are not the only values truly seen in these myths, another big one would have to be the relationship between humans and animals.
Relating back to the tale “The Earth on Turtle’s Back” it is easily seen that there is a strong relationship between the animals and the human. “I have heard that there is Earth far below the waters. If we dive down and bring up Earth, she will have a place to stand.” This shows how the animals saw how helpless the women was and knew they had to help her. Also in the tale “When Grizzlies walked Upright” the daughter of the sky chief accidently gets caught up with the grizzlies and the Mother Grizzly watches out for and protects the daughter. Also as the story advances the daughter actually marries one of the grizzlies, “When she became a young woman she and the eldest son of the grizzly bears were married.”
In the story the bear and the daughter got married, this is a very straightforward point shown that Native Americans thoroughly believed in the relationship between humans and animals. Finally, the last value strongly represented throughout the myths is the aspects of trust and loyalty. This is one of the only aspects that in a way was executed in each of the myths. In “When the Grizzlies Walked Upright” the Mother Bear makes a loyal decision to send one of the grizzlies to tell the Chief where the daughter was, “Then she sent her eldest grandson in a cloud to the top of Mount Shasta to tell the spirit chief where he could find his long-lost daughter.”
The Mother Bear was so loyal to the chief that even knowing the chief would be rather angered, a grizzly was still sent to spread awareness of the lost daughter. The tale of “The Navajo Origin Legend” shows trust, even though it may not seem at first. In the story the people are practicing a ceremony where the people have to trust their elders, “Then they told the people to stand at a distance and allow the wind to enter.” The people have to trust the elders and listen to them in order for the ceremony to work properly. But like what was stated, all stories give off the general idea that everyone should accept the values of trust and loyalty. Such how in the “Iroquois Constitution” all of the states have to have trust in the constitution and pay loyalty to one another.
In “The Earth on Turtle’s Back” the animals have to have trust in each other that one of the animals will in fact bring up the Earth. In conclusion, it is easily seen that there are several aspects and values that the Native Americans want people to accept and live by. By reading these myths and stories, it really does give us an in-depth idea of how the Native American people wanted people to act and treat one another. In almost every tale ever told by the Native Americans there is something to take from it, the Native Americans truly wanted everyone in this world to be good, genuine people.
Although there are so many aspect presented by these people, it’s hard to single out which are considered the most important. From reading the stories though, one can conclude that the three main aspects given to us involve love and friendship, the relationship between humans and animals and trust and loyalty.