American Indian Studies Native Essay

Pages: 4 (1422 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Native Americans


It was traditionally used to transmit religious beliefs because it conveys cultural tradition" (Oral Tradition And Origin Myth, n.d).

One of the most widespread forms of Oral Tradition is the story. Storytelling is a skill passed down from one generation to another. Just as with any arrangement of art, practice is the key. The storyteller must be able to gain the complete attention of the listeners; otherwise part of the lesson will be lost. The transmission of lessons by word of mouth leaves them susceptible to dissimilar understandings and fading forever. The story can cease to survive if it is forgotten; because there are no backup copies, the people's memories are the keepers of the scripts (Oral Tradition and Origin Myth, n.d).

One manner in which Native American groups vary is the manner in which they tell stories. For instance, all groups have their own dissimilar origin myth, but the general ideas behind the stories are alike. The source myth tells about the first people, migration, and the origin of family groups. These stories also pass on the ideas that the future does not depend on what one believes and hopes for in the future, but what is going on in the here and now (Oral Tradition and Origin Myth, n.d).

One of the key purposes of these stories is to reflect upon conventional values of the past in order to make sense of the moral changes of the present. Myths, particularly origin myths, normally seek to answer certain questions:

1. "Where people came from

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2. Describe the purposes of people and relationship with the Earth

3. Establish relationships with

4. The individual to the universe and spiritual world

5. The nation to the universe and spiritual world" (Oral Tradition and Origin Myth, n.d).

TOPIC: Essay on American Indian Studies Native American Assignment

The origin myth of the earth-diver is widely used to answer these questions. Generally the story clarifies that the solid earth, representative of order and haven, appears from a disorganized and shapeless universe. In variances of the stories, collaboration, service, and self-sacrifice bring order into the old disorganized world. These stories teach people that they must allocate power and accountability. If they become self-centered and take too much power and liability, they risk disturbing the order relations of the universe, which will consequence in disorder, anguish, illness, bad luck, and worst of all, death. "The world is supposed to be in a constant state of cosmic give-and-take. Deviance from this will cause unbalance. Oral tradition is a means through which people transmit cultural knowledge. This knowledge preserves cultural history" (Oral Tradition and Origin Myth, n.d).

In the Indian culture a person's own individual and family history determine their cultural identity and practices, which might change during their lifespan as they are exposed to dissimilar experiences. "The variation of cultural identity can be viewed as a continuum that ranges between one who views himself or herself as "traditional" and lives their traditional culture daily, to one who views himself or herself as "Indian" or "Native," but has little knowledge or interest in their traditional cultural practices" (American Indian and Alaska Native: A Guide to Build Cultural Awareness, 2010).

Native American storytelling was a way that people passed on beliefs and traditions that they found important to them. It was through the myths and stories that this society formed its sense of self. It was by these stories that these people knew who they were. It was also by these stories that people knew what was wrong and what was right. It was this sense of morality that guided their interactions, not only with each other, but with the world around them.

Works Cited

"About Indian Mythology." 2012. Web. 20 May 2012.

"American Indian and Alaska Native: A Guide to Build Cultural Awareness." 2010. Web. 20

May 2012.


"Culture Clash: The Puritans and the Native Americans." 2011. Web. 20 May 2012.

"How Did the Different Regions In North America Influence American Indian Myths?"

2012. Web. 20 May 2012.

"Native American Mythology." 2012. Web. 20 May 2012.

"Oral Tradition And Origin Myth." n.d. Web. 20 May 2012.


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How to Cite "American Indian Studies Native" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

American Indian Studies Native.  (2012, May 21).  Retrieved August 1, 2021, from

MLA Format

"American Indian Studies Native."  21 May 2012.  Web.  1 August 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"American Indian Studies Native."  May 21, 2012.  Accessed August 1, 2021.