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 –
Quickwrite
 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
with.
– What do they explain to people?
– What comfort might they offer?
 St. Nicholas, Blackbeard, Johnny
Appleseed, How a Rainbow was formed, Big
Foot
Literary Focus - Archetypes
 An archetype is an old imaginative pattern
that has appeared in literature throughout
the ages.
 Archetypes can be plots, characters, or
images.
 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
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–
–
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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
represent?
“The Sky Tree”
 Archetype
– The Tree
 Symbolism
– Rooting of Tree
“The Earth Only” p. 21
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Teton Sioux
Poem
Composed by Used-as-a-Shield
Translated in 1918
Archetype
– Wise old man
 Profound philosophical truth
– The earth endures, but people (& all living things) do
not.
 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
Indians
– 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
literature?
 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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Native American Literature