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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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1. Native Voices   

1. Native Voices

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
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Activities: Author Activities

Stories of the Beginning of the World - Author Questions

Back Back to Stories of the Beginning of the World Activities
  1. Comprehension: What is a creation story? How does it differ from an emergence story?

  2. Comprehension: What is a trickster? What does a trickster do?

  3. Comprehension: What according to the Pima and the Iroquois existed at the beginning of time?

  4. Comprehension: In the Iroquois creation story the monsters are concerned when Sky Woman sinks into the dark world. What does their reaction tell us about the nature of monsters and the lower world?

  5. Comprehension: In the Pima emergence story, Juh-wert-a-Mah-kai had to rub his palm four times before the world was created. What else has to be done four times in the Pima stories? What does the number 4 come to mean by the end of the stories?

  6. Context: Listen to the audio clip about Coyote [8008]. Compare him to the trickster figures found in the Winnebago, Sioux, Koasati, Coville, Clatsop Chinook, and Navajo stories. Which of the trickster figures does he most resemble? Which does he differ from the most?

  7. Context: What are the themes and elements of some of the trickster tales? How do these compare to the gambler tales as described in the Extended Context "Sacred Play: Gambling in Native Cultures"?

  8. Context: Examine the Iroquois Cradle [8115] and the Huron Dolls [8113]. Do these appear to have been created by the good or bad mind of the Iroquois creation story? How do you know?

  9. Exploration: Is the Iroquois creation myth still an Iroquois text if it has been translated into English? Does such a translation so alter the meaning that it is no longer accurate to speak of it as Iroquoian, or should the fact of translation merely make readers more cautious, less eager to assume that they understand it? Is it better for non-Indians to have no access to such texts than to have texts that may be contaminated or inaccurate?

  10. Exploration: The theme of rival twins is widespread in the Americas and in the Bible. What cultural anxieties or issues does this theme address? What might account for its popularity?

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