Native American Mythology

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In order to preserve their history, traditions, and culture, Native Americans passed their myths by word of mouth (the oral tradition). Native Americans who were particularly good storytellers emphasized that the myths being orated should be shared with future generations. Some common themes in Native American myths would have explanations on how the world was made, where people came from, and the physical and social development of those people. The social evolution of the Navajo people is an important subject in the Navajo creation story, Diné bahane'. The first beings, according to the Diné bahane', were essentially illustrated as insects; these beings were called the Air Spirit people. The Air Spirit people have not yet fully established themselves as an organized and central civilization due to the fact that they are always committing adultery with one another and usually fighting afterwards. Because they were incapable of adhering to the rules society mandates, the Air Spirit people were exiled from each society they traveled to. Only in the last, final society they encountered did they learn to cooperate with one another by ultimately following the statutes that forbid adultery. This lesson represents the social evolution of the Air Spirit people because they realized that by following the rules society mandates, peaceful social order could be maintained. Also, in Diné bahane', the argument between First Man and First Woman about who gets credit for the meal concerns gender roles. As a result, First Woman states that women could get along without men, and so they separate. The separation of men and women, which is divided by the river, clearly illustrates one infamous saying that ALL women can attest to: “Men. You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them.” The same saying can apply to men as well; whether you like it or not, one gender just cannot live without the other. The women in Diné bahane' did not fare well and were on the verge of...
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