Essay on Native American Folklore As Mythology

Essay on Native American Folklore As Mythology

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Throughout history, and all over the world, mythology has been developed as a way of explaining the unknown and coping with one’s existence. Why does the sun shine? Well, seemingly, to generations past, something is controlling the universe, so there must be a god in charge of the sun and many other natural phenomenon. During the creation of Native American myths, “there was much in the way of free-range food, but hunting wasn't as easy as getting up in the morning, taking a stroll and shooting a few passing bison with your bow” (Godchecker). Times were tough, “even Plains societies who lived off the prolific buffalo fell under the threat of starvation at times” (Godchecker). Finally, “when herds were found, the people were grateful and thanked the Gods profusely” (Godchecker). In Native American myths, “animals had powerful spirits and it was necessary to thank them and placate them if you wanted to make a meal of them” (Godchecker). They believed “you could see into the souls of the BEAVER, BADGER and Buffaloes as they went about their business,” or “feel the THUNDER-BIRD fixing the weather, and revel in the rascality of RAVEN, MANABOZHO and COYOTE with their tantalising tricks” (Godchecker). How can there be any doubt as to whether or not the Native American legends can be considered myths?
Essentially, there are three typical characteristics of mythology. Classic myths often include gods or supernatural heroes, are “closely linked to religion,” and “generally take place in a primordial age, when the world had not yet achieved its current form” (“Mythology” Wikipedia). Furthermore, myths provide an explanation for the existence of life and how the world came to be.
Classic myths are often include gods or supernatural heroe...


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...ura, and Arnold Krupat. “Native American Trickster Tales.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Julia Reidhead. 7th ed. Vol. A. New York: W.W.Norton & Company, Inc., 2007. 72-74.
Franklin, Wayne, Philip F. Gura, and Arnold Krupat. “The Iroquois Creation Story.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Julia Reidhead. 7th ed. Vol. A. New York: W.W.Norton & Company, Inc., 2007. 18-21.
"Mythology." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 2011. Web. 22 Jan. 2011. .
"Native American Mythology: Introduction." Godchecker.com - Your Guide To The Gods. Web. 22 Jan. 2011. .
"Native American Mythology." Myths Encyclopedia - Myths and Legends of the World. Web. 22 Jan. 2011. .

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