Native American Literature

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, United States, Culture Pages: 4 (1413 words) Published: August 26, 2013
Native American Literature

Native American literature is made up of two different types of literature, the oral traditions and the newer written traditions. From these two types are many different styles that make up the many different tribes of the Native American culture. Storytelling has long been an important aspect of all Native American cultures. It is through storytelling that the Native Americans are able to pass down their traditions and cultural identities. Oral traditions as well as the newer written traditions play an important part in understanding the cultural make-up of a tribe as well as establishing the historical significances of each individual tribe.

The oral traditions of a tribe provided the heritage and memories of the tribe. It contained the actions, behaviors, relationships, and practices that encompass the social, economic, and spiritual identities of the people. These stories were related to each generation, keeping intact the beliefs and important aspects of the tribe. Storytellers learn their stories from other storytellers and from experience. Their stories change with the speaker and with time and with circumstance. Each story is told from a subject-position which affects the telling of the story (Leen, 1995).

Storytelling is an event in which the people gather and information is shared through orations for both social and educational purposes. The same tale told in different tribes will be significantly different because each tale contains the important beliefs and stylistic differences of the individual tribe. An example of this can be found in the Trickster tales. Throughout just the Plains Indians, the Trickster takes many forms, such as the spider for the Dakota tribe or the coyote for the Kiawa tribe. However, the story or the moral of these stories is often the same, serving to teach or provide information necessary to keep the beliefs of the tribe intact.

Oral traditions of storytelling change not only...

References: Annenberg Foundation. (2013). Native Voices. http://www.learner.org/amerpass/unit01/pdf/unit01ig.pdf retrieved August 19, 2013
Howe, Le Anne. (1995). Moccasins Don’t Have High Heels. Native American Literature. A Brief Introduction and anthology. New York, NY: Addison-Wesley p.199
Leen, M. (1995). An art of saying: Joy Harjo 's poetry and the survival of storytelling. American Indian Quarterly,19(1),http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/login.aspx?direct=true&d b=lkh&AN=95082203 66&site=ehost-live retrieved August 19, 2013
Luther Standing Bear, (1928) My People, The Sioux. Native American Literature. A Brief Introduction and anthology. New York, NY: Addison-Wesley p. 33
Momaday, N. Scott. (1969). The Way to Rainy Mountain. Native American Literature. A Brief Introduction and anthology. New York, NY: Addison-Wesley p.60
Rogers, J. (c. 1890). Return to White Earth. Native American Literature. A Brief Introduction and anthology. New York, NY: Addison-Wesley p.46
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Essay on Native American Literature
  • Essay on Early American Literature
  • Explore the Role of the Trickster Figure in Native American Literature Essay
  • Native American Essay
  • american literature Research Paper
  • Essay about American Literature
  • Native American Paper
  • Essay on Native American Lierature

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free