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The Earliest Days Pre-history to 1750. Origins and Encounters. Native Americans. Central Traditions -land is sacred- a living entity to be respected No one can own land -lives are organized around cycles of nature, not concepts or past, future and progress

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native americans
Native Americans

Central Traditions

-land is sacred- a living entity to be respected

No one can own land

-lives are organized around cycles of nature, not concepts or past, future and progress

-traditions are passed verbally through folktales, fables and sacred stories

-speechmaking and storytelling are important aspects of life

native american literature
Native American Literature

Oral literature


creation myths- how the world and human life came to exist

origin myths- explain how natural phenomenon came to be or why a society has certain beliefs and customs


animal characters

defy authority and create trouble and chaos

curious, creative and reveal wisdom

creation myth
Creation Myth

How the World Was Made

The Sky Tree


Northern New York

Written down in 1991

  • Cherokee
  • Forest of the Great Smoky Mountains
  • Written down by anthropologist in 1891
wisdom of the native americans
Wisdom of the Native Americans

Who does he credit his “wisdom” to?

Is he grateful? Why?

What has he learned?

What have you learned?

iroquois confederacy league of five nations
Iroquois ConfederacyLeague of Five Nations
  • Mohawk-Oneida-Ondondaga-Cayuga-Seneca
the iroquois constitution
The Iroquois Constitution
  • Tribes continually fought with one another
    • Vulnerable to attack
  • Denkanawida
    • 1550-1600 (vanished)
    • Destined to “stop the shedding of blood among human beings”
    • Worked with Hiawatha to establish the Confederacy

“We are a powerful Confederacy; and by your observing the same methods our wise forefathers have taken, you will acquire such strength and power”


  • Attitude that a writer expresses toward his or her subject
  • Word choice (diction) and sentence structure (syntax)

Diction (choice of words) – Describe diction by considering the following:

  • Words may be monosyllabic (one syllable in length) or polysyllabic (more than one syllable in length). The higher ratio of polysyllabic words, the more difficult the content.
  • Words may be mainly colloquial (slang), informal (conversational), formal (literary) or old-fashioned.
  • Words may be mainly denotative (containing an exact meaning), e.g. dress, or connotative (containing a suggested meaning), e.g. gown.
  • Words may be concrete (specific) or abstract (general).
  • Words may be euphonious (pleasant sounding), e.g. butterfly, or cacophonous (harsh sounding), e.g. pus.
  • Examine the sentence length
  • Are the sentences telegraphic (shorter than 5 words in length), medium (approximately eighteen words in length), or long and involved (thirty words or more in length)?
  • Does the sentence length fit the subject matter, what variety of lengths is present?
  • Why is the sentence length effective?
  • Leader of Onondaga people
  • Served as a representative of the United Iroquois at meetings with British colonists
  • Urged British colonies to unite to form a strong centralized government like that of the Iroquois
  • Rallying cry of the patriots---United we stand, divided we fall
offer of help
Offer of Help
  • European settlers rarely respected the cultures and traditions of the Native Americans
  • Cotton Mather-”We, God’s chosen people, must conquer the earth…”
  • Superiorty led to “generosity”
  • Representatives from Virginia invited to send a group of Native Americans to attend college for free
analyzing literature
Analyzing Literature
  • How would you describe the tone of Canassatego’s speech? Cite words or sentences that you feel indicate tone
  • In your opinion, why did Canassatego choose this particular tone?