Native American Literature

Native American Literature
English 3
“The Sun Still Rises in the Same Sky:
Native American Literature”
by Joseph Bruchac p.15-16
 Article about Native American literature
 Living oral tradition
– Passed down from generation to generation
– Much literature went undiscovered for years
– At least 350 Native American languages
 Never treated with the same respect as
European literature
– Not recognized for its value until late 1800’s
“The Sun Still Rises in the Same Sky:
Native American Literature”
 Stories teach moral lessons and practical information about
the natural world
 Animals and humans are used as characters
– Often in the same story
 Powerful metaphors used in literature
– Words themselves can be endowed with special powers
 Indians are tenacious
– They have persisted to honor their own customs
– Sun Dance is an example of this
 World view is not a progress line but an endless circle
– Changing seasons
– Cycles of birth, death, and rebirth
– Ceremonies repeated yearly
“The Sun Still Rises in the Same
Sky: Native American Literature”
 What is the meaning of the title?
– Reread the last paragraph on p. 16 and decide.
The Sun Still Rises in the Same
Sky: Native American Literature
by Joseph Bruchac
 According to Bruchac, what is one important
thing that Native American literature has in
common with European classics?
 Consider what Bruchac says about the
authors whom he names. What have these
writers done for Native American literature?
Make the Connection –
 Myths, which are almost always connected
with religious rituals, explain the world the
people live in and their traditions.
 Take some notes on myths you are familiar
– What do they explain to people?
– What comfort might they offer?
 St. Nicholas, Blackbeard, Johnny
Appleseed, How a Rainbow was formed, Big
Literary Focus - Archetypes
 An archetype is an old imaginative pattern
that has appeared in literature throughout
the ages.
 Archetypes can be plots, characters, or
 An archetype appears across cultures.
 Explanation of Archetypes PP
“The Sky Tree” p. 20
 Huron piece of literature
 Creation myth
– The beginning of the earth
– How people, and land came to be
 The Earth Diviner Myth
Common among Native American cultures
Earth is covered by water
An animal dives down in to the water and brings up soil
Many Native Americans call North America Turtle Island
 Symbolism: What does the rooting of the tree
“The Sky Tree”
 Archetype
– The Tree
 Symbolism
– Rooting of Tree
“The Earth Only” p. 21
Teton Sioux
Composed by Used-as-a-Shield
Translated in 1918
– Wise old man
 Profound philosophical truth
– The earth endures, but people (& all living things) do
 a poem that celebrates the permanence of the natural
world and the wisdom of those who recognize the truth.
“Coyote Finishes His Work” p. 21
 Nez Perce tale
 Retold by Barry Lopez
 Creation myth
– Explains creation of the
– Explains the creation of
Indian culture
 Archetypes
– Coyote is the
archetypal trickster
– Earth-woman
– Old Man
“Coyote Finishes His Work”
 Archetype: The trickster often takes the
form of an animal. What traits of Coyote
help him to be a trickster?
 Where does Old Man Above send Coyote?
“Coyote Finishes His Work”
 Coyote plays tricks on Indians.
 Coyote helps the Indians
– Rids the earth of evil spirits
– Teaches important skills
 Old Man tells Coyote his work is done,
and he sends Coyote to a resting place.
 The Old Man leaves, too.
 One day, Coyote and the Old Man will return.
 Meanwhile, the Old Man will send messages by
the spirits of those with near death experiences.
 Indians are awaiting the return of Coyote.
“Coyote Finishes His Work”
 Old Man Above sent “Coyote” to create inhabitants of
the world.
– Coyote made “Indians” and spread around world
 Liked to play tricks and often got in trouble
 Old Man Above came down and told Coyote his work
was done.
 Told the “Indians” that Coyote and he would return
when the world needed change
 Until then, they would live in the world of good/evil,
trickery/fun, beautiful/ugly that Coyote had developed
“Coyote Finishes His Work”
 The return of Old Man and Coyote
– Coyote will return first.
– Earth will require a change.
– Old Man will bring spirits of the dead with him.
– There will be no more “other side camp.”
– All people will live together.
– Earthmother will be restored.
Review of Myths
 Myths and Coyote Review
 Create Your Own Myth
Short Answers in Notebook
 When did Western scholars begin to realize
that Native Americans had an oral
 In “The Sky Tree,” which animals make a
place where Aataentsic can land?
 According to “The Earth Only,” which people
speak the truth?
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