Which Is Better?
In Native American oral traditions, the sometimes vulgar, but sacred Trickster assumes many forms. He can be Old-Man coyote among the Crow tribes, Raven in northwestern Indian lore, or, more generically, The Tricky One. Though the trickster's form may very from legend to legend his role in Native Americans cultural society remains the same. The cultural lessons of virtue and morals the trickster teaches are vital in preserving Native American societies.
By passing the tales of the trickster on through the generations, Native Americans are able to teach the next generation the importance of their morals and virtue. Let's consider for a moment just how the current dilemma of teaching children the important lessons of morals and virtue is being handled in America's schools. One favored method of moral education, which has been popular for the past twenty years, is called "values clarification," which maintains the principle that a teacher should never directly tell students about right and wrong; instead the students must be left to discover "values" on their own (Sommers 676).
The Elementary schools of Amherst, New York, provide good examples of an unabashedly directive moral education. Posters are placed around the schools that provide positive examples of extolling kindness and helpfulness (Sommers 676). Allowing students to sit at the "High Table," with tablecloths and flowers, rewards good behavior. One kindergarten student was given a special reward for having taken a new Korean student under her wing and showing her the ropes. But such simple and reasonable methods as those practiced in Amherst are rare. Many school systems have given up entirely the task of moral education (Malveaux 46).
With more and more school systems abandoning moral education it is often left for the child to learn morals and virtue for themselves. For Native American...