History of Native American Literature Essay

History of Native American Literature Essay

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The normal life of Native Americans in early America was pretty low key. They were the only people in Northern America until the end of the 15th century. Soon after, in the 16th and 17th centuries, many people from Europe traveled to America. This caused many problems for the American Indians. The European diseases and weapons caused many deaths among the Native Americans. They were abused by the newcomers who stole their land and treated them badly. There were wars between Indian tribes that caused injury and death. Before the Europeans arrived, there were other problems like floods and animal attacks that caused death. This type of literature is a transition was changing to the oral tradition before the Europeans arrived to America.
Storytelling was an important way for Native Americans to understand the world around them and help them understand their past. Native Americans of all the tribes passed stories down generation to generation through their words and songs known as oral tradition. Stories were a way to pass their tribal history, customs and the struggles they faced along the way. . They described a strong bond between the Indian and nature, linking the spirit of dead relatives to animals like


bears, coyotes, hawks and other animals. Storytelling was an important way for Native Americans to understand the world around them and help them understand their past. A common theme in their stories were that of a “hero’s journey” where a man or even animal sets off to change the course of their life. Joesph Campbell wrote a famous book entitled The Hero with a Thousand Faces. This book was based on his life long journey researching heroes, myths and stories around the world. Another common theme is the link between the ...


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...ty. They also spoke of their relationship to the land and the fact that life is a “property” of the land as are all those living on it. The land was described as “a part of our being”. This understanding of the importance of the land was passed down to each generation. The land was considered sacred.
In the Renaissance, authors tried to bring to light the “civilized” aspects of tribal life. They were trying to gain respect for the Native American. They speak of the destruction of their culture. They speak of people being caught between their “old” traditional ways and modern


society. They told the truth and dispelled old images of the Native Americans as savage and primative. They speak of their loyalty to each other and their sense of community. They identified how the loss of their land, which they consider linked to life, was so defeating to them.

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