American Indian Literature

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For thousands of years, vast cultures from around the world have told themselves stories. These stories, often to feed their curiosity of the world’s origins, are called myths. Many myths are similar in the fact that most of them are connected to each other. Either by what they say about the world, how it came to be, the people who live in it, their religious rituals or their traditions. Myths often comfort people in giving them a sense of identity.

American Indian Literature is home to some of the world’s most colorful myths. Some examples of these are “The Sky Tree”, “The Earth Only”, and “Coyote Finishes His Work”. These myths all share a different storyline. “The Sky Tree” tells the story of how land was first created on earth. It explains that the earth was inhabited by sea creatures and that in order to save Aantaestic (who was falling from Sky Land), the sea creatures worked together and created an island on Turtles back. This not only expresses that the earth was completed by God’s creatures but I also believe that it shows that nature is an ongoing experience.

“The Earth Only”, is a myth that reminds us humans that our life on earth is transient, whereas the earth is the permanent element of our world. We therefore should tread lightly on nature because nature will be here for the future generations, and that we do not have the right to impose our will on the earth. They say “the Earth only endures”, this means that human life has its toll on the earth and that she is the one who endures in the long run.

“Coyote Finishes His Work”, is a myth that makes promises for the future. Those promises being, that after Coyote has finished his work on Earthmother, he and Old Man will return when Earthmother has grown old and will restore Earthmother to her original shape. I think this myth may give comfort to people who are concerned of what will happen once Earthmother has grown old. This will give them a sense of hope that one day Coyote and Old...
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