Nature In Native American Literature

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Literature is a window to past societies and ancient cultures; through it people are granted the opportunity to be transported in time, and are given the ability to understand the intricate dealings of societies, make sense of their behavioral patterns and the ways in which they conducted their matters. Because Native American literature was not always documented, researchers lacked the materials necessary to fully decipher the Native American cultures and comprehend their view on certain events that were originally narrated from an immigrant’s point of view. They were forced to rely on the rare occurrences of translated versions of oral literature and work with seldom written accounts by English speaking natives. Through Red Jacket’s speech…show more content…
The fact that natives believed the universe sprang into existence from the back of a turtle signifies the tight-knit relationship they share with co-existing natural organisms “While holding her, the turtle increased every moment and became a considerable island of earth” (22). In addition to that, natives consider nature to be the mentor who taught them how to adapt to their surroundings and survive grueling circumstances. Nature brought the world into existence and it took humanity by the hand guiding it through hardships in a motherly fashion, thus explaining the term Mother Nature. They believed that all natural things hold lessons and morals to be absorbed, ranging from the tallest most rigid tree to the tiniest most delicate flower. In an interview, University Professor Donald Fixico stated that because nature provided great help for the natives, they felt duty bound to it; therefore, they remained faithful and respectful to the environment. Similarly to other cultures, Native Americans benefited from the sources nature offered them, in his response to the missionary Jacob Cram, Red Jacket mentioned the gifts from nature which the Great Spirit bestowed upon them “He had created the buffalo, the deer, and other animals for food. He had made the bear and the beaver. Their skins served us for clothing” (229), however; due to their perceptions of nature, they thought of…show more content…
While Native American religions varied between one tribe to another ranging from monotheism to polytheism to a variety of others, they all shared an unwavering grip on their beliefs. They refused to forsake their ancestors’ beliefs and concede to new foreign ideologies. “For all these favors we thank the Great Spirit, and Him only” (Red Jacket 230), here Red Jacket implies their unrelenting refusal to convert to a new religion. They would not assimilate to the immigrants’ culture because they believed the day they loosened their grip on their beliefs is the day their own culture and dignity evaporated into thin air. Their refusal to change their religious ideals and beliefs stemmed from the fact that they were passed along to them from generation to generation, it is what they lived by, what helped them survive all these years, and change would only bring about destruction of all that is safe, familiar and unifying. “We worship in that way. It teaches us to be thankful for all the favors we receive; to love each other and to be united. We never quarrel about religion” (Red Jacket 231), the natives feared that introducing new principles would create rifts and endless quarrels between tribe members. Their beliefs also gave them their own special identity which separated them from other nations and they were immensely proud of
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