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Characteristics of the Oral Tradition:

  • Formation of the world through struggle and robbery (Pacific Coast).

  • Movement from a sky world to a water world by means of a fall (Iroquoian).

  • Fortunate fall; creation story.

  • Earth-diver myth--world flood after the creation.

  • Theft of fire.

  • Emergence and migration myths--ascent of being from the underworld.

  • Beings are animal spirits in human form; monsters are confusions of nature.

  • Culture hero orders the world, turns animal people into animals; other beings become landmarks.

  • Trickster heroes (raven, spider) provide disorder and change, and are reminders of the seamy and artificial sides of life.




RESOURCES:






WRITERS:

Dekanawiday: "The Iroquois Constitution"






(Smoke Signals movie excerpt -- The Indian Oral Tradition)




STORIES:

"Rabbit's Short Tail"

(Cherokee Storyteller Gregg Howard)




APACHE: "Apache Creation Story"


ALGONQUIAN: "The Dream Fast"


BLACKFOOT: "How the Old Man Made People"


CHEROKEE: "Legend of the Cedar Tree"


CHEYENNE: "Race with Buffalo"


CHOCTAW: "Grandmother Spider Steals the Fire"


COMANCHE: "How the Buffalo Were Released on Earth"


CREEK: " How Rabbit Brought Fire to the People"


FLATHEAD: "Coyote and the Monsters of the Bitterroot Valley"


HOPI: "How the Hopi Indians Reached Their World"


IROQUOIS: "Spring Defeats Winter"


LAKOTA: "Origin of the Lakota Peace Pipe"


LENNI LENAPE: "Mother Corn"


MODOC: "How Old Age Came into the World"


NAVAJO: "The Son, Moon and Stars"



NEZ PERCE: "Yellow Jacket and Ant"


OJIBWA: "Great Serpent and the Great Flood"


ONONDOGA: "The Earth on the Turtle's Back"



PAWNEE: "Making the Sacred Bundle"


SENECA: "The Origin of Stories"


SIOUX: "The Resurrection of the only Daughter"








Page updated 6/08/2016.