Native American Stories

Native American Stories
Multiple Choice
Identify the letter of the choice that best completes the statement or answers the question.
The questions below refer to the selections “The Sun Still Rises in the Same Sky: Native American
Literature”; “The Sky Tree”; “The Earth Only”; “Coyote Finishes His Work.”
1. Joseph Bruchac says the Longfellow’s epic poem Song of Hiawatha is misnamed because —
a. the title tells nothing of the struggles faced by Native Americans
b. the poet attributes his story to the wrong native group
c. there was never an Iroquois named Hiawatha
d. Hiawatha was a Chippewa, not an Iroquois
2. What does Joseph Bruchac cite as part “of the problem” in the West’s misrepresentation of Native American
a. The first European settlers feared American Indians.
b. Until just recently, no one in the West knew American Indians had literature.
c. The hundreds of different native languages posed a translation problem.
d. Native speakers have never done translations of Indian literature.
3. In Bruchac’s view, writers like M. Scott Momaday and Leslie Marmon Silko helped revitalize Native
American literature because they —
a. placed age-old stories in modern settings
b. combined contemporary English with a native understanding of Indian story-telling
c. helped non-Native Americans see that Indians are no different than anyone else
d. brought increased attention to Native American literature
4. In the Abenaki story of Gluskabe, Gluskabe’s grandmother tells him to return the animals he has caught
because —
a. she is angry with him about something else
b. it is both greedy and environmentally unsound to capture all the available game
c. American Indians belong to matriarchal societies in which the women hold all the power
d. the animals have spirits, just like humans
5. According to this essay, metaphors are especially powerful in the Native American literary tradition
because —
a. words themselves can be endowed with special powers
b. Native American writers are inherently poetic
c. American Indian writers use nature as inspiration
d. oral tradition has, over time, improved the quality of the original work
6. Bruchac’s description of the Lakota Sun Dance is an example of the Native American worldview that —
a. how you get somewhere is just as important as what you do once you’re there
b. in nature, things happen cyclically, rather than in a straight line
c. traditions are a basic part of human existence
d. natural resources, like sunlight, should be celebrated
7. How does the author’s description of the different ways Indians traveled to the Sun Dance support his
contention that Indian traditions are “tenacious”?
a. Despite the fact that they have been affected in profound ways by other cultures, Indians
have persisted in honoring their own customs.
b. The Lakota would walk miles to participate in this ceremony.
c. Indians are adaptable and practical enough to use new forms of transport.
d. No details of the Sun Dance have changed in hundreds of years.
____ 8. In “The Sky Tree,” Aataentsic most likely throws herself down the hole after the tree because —
a. wood is precious in Sky Land
b. without the tree, there can be no life
c. the old chief commanded her to do so
d. she wanted to taste the fruit at the top of the tree
____ 9. In “The Earth Only,” what might it be said does not endure?
a. The sea and sky
c. Outmoded ideas
b. Living things
d. The wind and the sun
____ 10. In “Coyote Finishes His Work,” Coyote helps the people when he —
a. rids the world of evil spirits and teaches important skills
b. amuses the people with tricks
c. creates the mountains and the forests
d. protects people from vicious predators
Reading Skills: Understanding Cultural Characteristics
The questions below refer to the selections “The Sun Still Rises in the Same Sky: Native American
Literature”; “The Sky Tree”; “The Earth Only”; “Coyote Finishes His Work.”
____ 11. An important characteristic of American Indian literature is that it —
a. is written in an ornate style
b. is written in short sentences
c. was originally not written but handed down orally
d. was told to an eager audience
____ 12. Bruchac makes the point that Western literature has its roots in stories told by word of mouth. Which of the
following statements would that point support?
a. Native American literature is no less valid than that found in the West.
b. This sort of story is superior to work that began its life as written text.
c. Western literature is flawed.
d. All literature has come from foreign sources of some kind.
____ 13. Which of the following statements is not a generalization that Bruchac makes about Native American
a. It provides an accurate historical record of events in Indian history.
b. It teaches moral lessons about the natural world.
c. It includes epic narratives, songs, and chants.
d. It provides practical information.
____ 14. What work does the author give as an example of Western literature finding inspiration in Native American
a. Beowulf
c. The Odyssey
b. The Song of Hiawatha
d. The story of Gluskabe
____ 15. Different worldviews underlie the Native American literary tradition and the Western tradition. Which of the
following phrases best describes that difference?
a. Nature versus nurture
c. Cycles versus linear progression
b. Modern versus ancient
d. Moral lessons versus narrative
____ 16. “Coyote Finishes His Work” and “The Sky Tree” come from different cultures. What themes do they have in
a. Life on earth begins with an act of sacrifice.
b. Animals aid humans.
c. Everything is controlled by women.
d. Only the earth endures.
Literary Focus: Archetypes
The questions below refer to the selections “The Sun Still Rises in the Same Sky: Native American
Literature”; “The Sky Tree”; “The Earth Only”; “Coyote Finishes His Work.”
____ 17. An archetype is a —
a. king or other leader in ancient myths
b. pattern that occurs over and over again in literature
c. way of telling an old story in a new way
d. written version of an oral story
____ 18. In the Greek tale the Odyssey, the hero often gets his way by lying. Which character in the stories you just
read does the hero most resemble?
a. Turtle
c. Coyote
b. Old Man Above
d. Aataentsic
____ 19. In “Coyote Finishes His Work,” the Old Man Above is an archetype of a —
a. mean old villain
c. valiant warrior
b. wily trickster
d. creator god
____ 20. Many myths and legends deal with the “Other Side Camp” that Old Man Above talks about in “Coyote
Finishes His Work.” What do you think this “Camp” is?
a. An actual area on the far side of the continent.
b. A place where Earthwoman lives.
c. A place where human beings go after they die.
d. A place where Coyote can be found.
Constructed Response
The question below refers to the selections “The Sun Still Rises in the Same Sky: Native American
Literature”; “The Sky Tree”; “The Earth Only”; “Coyote Finishes His Work.”
21. In the last line of his essay, Joseph Bruchac writes, “The sun still rises in the same sky.” On a separate sheet
of paper, explain the meaning of this phrase. Then, use this notion to explain how Western and Native
American literature differ.