Native American Artwork And Literature

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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The combination and significance of literature and artwork are an extreme importance in the Native American culture. These two topics are rarely discussed in the Native American civilization. The modern day culture of the Native Americans is hardly ever passing down the traditions of their ancestors and even from their mothers and fathers. Many other topics such as lifestyles, spirituality, and wars are important also, but are not practiced in the household. Native Americans seldom teach their children about the artwork and the literature that goes with the tales based upon literature and artwork. The majority of the myths and artwork are told from the elders in the family or in the community. The most used subject back when the Native Americans were free was oral literature, and it is still used today.         Traditional Native American literature was expressed only orally, so it could be difficult for a person outside of a particular Indian culture to gain access to a tribe's literature.

Some of the ancient oral literature of Native American cultures has been put into print after enjoying a long life among people. Petroglyphs, stories or events related through pictures carved into rock, have been found throughout North America. These drawn, carved, or written pieces are only a sample of the different forms of oral literature that have been passed down from generation to generation. In the Native American culture, elders told stories, myths, and legends. Ceremonies and songs were performed among the people orally. Oral literature served religious, entertainment, and educational purposes, often at the same time. The young people of the tribe were educated in this way. They learned the religion, moral values, history, artistic values, humor, and music of their tribe. Even now many Native American storytellers and poets record their stories and experiences to still...