Essay about The Sioux Legend The Rabbit and the Elk

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Animals have always been mentors to humans, informing them about upcoming dangers, and teaching them how to hunt, gather, and find fresh water. The animals’ ways were of such a magnitude of importance that the Native Americans began to use stories based on these animals to teach lessons in life. Stories about these animals have emphasized the virtues of the animals, and repeatedly taught children to be, “wise, gentle, brave, or cheerful in the same manner as certain birds and animals” (Caduto and Bruchac, XI). An animal of great importance to the tribes of North America, was and still is, the elk. The elk was not only a source of food but also for clothes, tools, glue, and even teepee coverings. The teeth of the elk were used a jewelry to be worn only by the women of the tribes, also as a currency among the Native Americans. By scrutinizing Native American stories and scientific facts we can see how elks’ physical traits and ecological interactions can be traced to the culture of the Native American people.
The elk is thought to be a prey animal, seeing the elk eats only vegetation and is not a predator of any sorts. In the Sioux legend The Rabbit and the Elk, the elk is a complete jokester. He tricks the rabbit into thinking the rabbit had killed an elk in his trap. When the rabbit came to check his trap he saw the “dead” elk and ran home to tell his grandmother of the good news. “Grandmother, I have trapped a fine elk. You shall have a new dress from his skin. Throw the old one in the fire” (First People of America). When the rabbit came back to the trap, the elk got up and said “Ho, friend rabbit. You thought to trap me; now I have mocked you,” as he ran into the thicket. This is a prime example of anthropomorphism because ne...

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Works Cited

"Native American Legends: The Rabbit and The Elk." First People - The Legends. First People of America and First People of Canada : Turtle Island, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
Duvall, D. C. "The Elk-Woman." Mythology of the Blackfoot Indians. By Clark Wissler. Lincoln: U of Nebraska, 1995. 32-33. Print.
Lapinski, Mike. The Elk Mystique. Stevensville, MT: Stoneydale, 1998. Print.
Caduto, M. J., and J. Bruchac. Keepers of the animals, Native American stories and wildlife activities for children. Fulcrum Publishing, 1998. Print.
Toweill. "Elk Anatomy and Physiology - Elk Article #2." Elk of North America; Ecology and Management. By Thomas. N.p.: Stackpole, n.d. N. pag. Web. 27 Apr. 2014. .
"Elk." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 20 Apr. 2014. Web. 27 Apr. 2014.

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