Native Americans - Effingham County Schools

to 1750
Native Americans
 First
Native Americans migrated from
Asia across the Bering Strait 35,000
years ago.
 They migrated all over North and
South America, forming hundreds of
Food and Entertainment
 Native
Americans introduce corn,
squash, beans, and certain fish to
the settlers.
 Cattle and pigs are brought from
 Native Americans played slight-ofhand games, dice games, lacrosse,
and hoop-and-spear.
 Bonds
of kinship, or strong ties
among family members, ensured a
continuation of tribal customs.
 Elders
instructed the young and in
return the young honored the elders
and their departed ancestors.
 They
believed that land was a source
of life not a commodity to be sold.
 How
is this an example of valuing
the tribe over self?
More on the Native Americans
Some beliefs:
– All parts of nature are made up of
– Everything is sacred, spiritual, and
has life
– Polytheistic…many gods as seen in
– Prominent roles for women
Historical Background
 Christopher
Columbus reached
North America in 1492
 Found the area inhabited by
Native American tribes
Once explorers and settlers decided to
stay and start building the natives could
do nothing although they usually tried to
fight back.
 Natives had a completely different set of
values and traditions:
- some wouldn’t fight back until they
realized they would lose their land
- they lived off the land and held it in high
regard; earth was the mother
- they never used more than they needed
and they never wasted anything
The settlers’ flagrant ways and intruding
methods of desecrating the land came as
a huge blow to the Native Americans.
 The Europeans also brought disease that
natives were never exposed to before,
which brought actual physical desecration
to their people.
 Over time (hundreds of years) land was
progressively taken away from them and
they were not only robbed of their sacred
land and the traditions it embodied for
them, but they were forced into
assimilating into the emerging EuropeanAmerican culture.
Native American Literature
Oral tradition of song and stories.
Focuses on the natural world and the sacred world and the
importance of land.
Contains Magical and mystical elements
– Creation/Origin stories: explain where people and things come
from, why they exist
– Historical narratives: passed down the history of their people
and traditions
– Trickster tales: used to teach lessons
The Native American Oral
Oral literature – stories passed down from one
generation to the next as they were told and
retold in the privacy of households and in tribal
Animals play an important role in Native
American myths.
– Totem – animal or object to which a clan is “connected”;
revered by that clan
– Trickster – animal characters with 2 sides to their
personalities; rebels who often created chaos; curious,
clever, creative; may exhibit wisdom (coyote, raven,
Creation Stories
Similar to the account in The Bible
Similar from tribe to tribe
Used to explain how the world/universe was
Explained the origin of man
Explain the duty of humanity to maintain a
balance with the natural world
Sometimes had animal characteristics
Sometimes non-gender, or only one gender
(usually female—mother earth)
Contained what the tribe generally believed the
relationships between people and nature
Contained origins of tribal customs and structures
Creation occurs primarily in one of five ways:
From chaos or nothingness
From a cosmic egg or primal maternal mound
From world parents who are separated
From the process of earth diving
From several stages of emergence from other
worlds, or states of being
 In
every case, there is a sense of
birth—both of the world and humans
Creation Stories Characteristics
Characteristics include:
– A Creator, and the medium for creation, such
as clay, fluids, and a supernatural power
– The trickster, sometimes a negative force,
sometimes a cultural hero who dives to the
depths of nothingness to find form
– The first man and woman whose job it is to
continue to create both offspring, and plants
and animals
– The flood hero who saves mankind from the
great waters and begins again
Some Dominant Themes & Motifs:
 relationships
between humans and
 respect and reverence for mother
earth and nature
 land as the strength of the people
 village/community/tribe as sovereign
 cyclical patterns: renewal and
 importance of tribal traditions and
Literary Terms
Allusion: reference to someone or
something that is known from history,
literature, religion, sports, etc.
 Myth: traditional stories passed down
from generation to generation
 Alliteration: Repetition of the initial
consonant sound
 Simile: extended metaphor using “like” or
 Anecdote: short story that teaches a