Culture is a system of beliefs and values through which a group of people structure their experience of the world


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Acc. to Andrew Wiget, Culture is a system of beliefs and values through which a group of people structure their experience of the world.

  • Acc. to Andrew Wiget, Culture is a system of beliefs and values through which a group of people structure their experience of the world.

    • the impact of ideology upon literature
    •  pluralize our notion of the world
    • & understand that other peoples can organize their experience in different ways
    • and dramatize their experience of the world through different symbolic forms


If culture is a system of beliefs and values by which people organize their experience of the world,

  • If culture is a system of beliefs and values by which people organize their experience of the world,

  • then it follows that forms of expressive culture (literature) should embody the basic beliefs and values of the people who create them.



These beliefs and values can be roughly organized in three areas:

  • These beliefs and values can be roughly organized in three areas:

    • (1) beliefs @ the nature of the physical world
    • (2) beliefs @ social order & appropriate behavior
    • (3) beliefs @ human nature & the problem of good and evil


Stories about the Creation of the World

  • Stories about the Creation of the World

  • tell people who they are by telling where they came from” (21)

  • influence how they think about the world & treat it

  • their worldview

  • symbolic story about how the world was created & how humans came to be



common traits:

  • common traits:

    • advance a general cultural outlook
    • perspectives on life
    • ways to understand life
    • also
    • birth theme: start of life cycle
    • higher power: a creator, catalyst
    • innocence, sinlessness
    • animals & humans together


Natives:

  • Natives:

    • spoken, narrated, sung, chanted (oral tradition)
    • mid- to late-1800s that Euro-Americans gained the linguistic skills & cultural understanding to translate them decently
    • & Natives collaborated in the recording of their myths & legends
      • Frank Hamilton Cushing, Zuni, 1879
      • Washington Matthews (army doc), Navajo, 1880s
      • JW Fewkes, & JW Lloyd, Pima, 20th C.
      • David Cusick, a Tuscarora member of the Iroquois 6 Nations), 1825 – 1st Native


5 Nations:

  • 5 Nations:

    • Mohawks
    • Seneca
    • Oneida
    • Onondaga
    • Cayuga
  • 6th nation =

    • Tuscarora of North Carolina, early 1700s


People of the Longhouse

  • People of the Longhouse

    • Haudenosaunee
    • referred to self
    • longhouse
      • 20 ft. wide
      • 40-200 ft. wide
      • several families in 1
      • shared cooking fires


Iroquois:

  • Iroquois:

    • French
    • English & Dutch: Mohawk, Seneca, Maqua
  • area:

    • northeast North America
    • Erie & Ontario lakes
    • St. Lawrence & Ottawa rivers
    • Hudson River


25 versions (oral tradition)

  • 25 versions (oral tradition)

  • 1623: Gabriel Sagard, French

  • 1828, David Cusick – Sketches of the Ancient History of the Six Nations



2 worlds

  • 2 worlds

    • Lower World
      • of darkness
      • the possession of the Great Monster
    • Upper World
      • of sky
      • inhabited by “mankind”


SKY WOMAN:

  • SKY WOMAN:

    • conceives TWINS
    • sinks, pushed, falls from Upper World to Lower World
  • Lower World creatures see her falling, prepare her landing

    • get a patch of earth
    • turtle volunteers to catch her in the water


TURTLE

  • TURTLE

    • grows to the size of an island
    • w/bushes & trees


TWINS

  • TWINS

    • fight in the womb
    • evil one wants to burst out his mother’s side
    • good one prevents it
  • birth

    • she dies shortly after


ENIGORIO

  • ENIGORIO

    • good son
    • creator
      • sun from mother’s head
      • moon from mother’s body
      • stars
      • creeks & rivers
      • animals
      • “Adam & Eve” = “The Real People” (Ea-Gwe-Howe)
      • rain, vegetation, game animals


ENIGONHAHETGEA

  • ENIGONHAHETGEA

    • evil son
    • creates only bad things, tries to corrupt brother’s creations
      • mountains, valleys
      • (rivers in only 1 direction)
      • reptiles – poisonous to humans
      • tries to create humans – but APES
      • tries again, brother stops, gives them life & souls
        • the most knowledge of Good & Evil” (25)


Evil Son tries to contain all animals, to keep from humans – Good Son frees them

  • Evil Son tries to contain all animals, to keep from humans – Good Son frees them

  • Final Battle

    • Evil Son challenges brother
    • for governance of entire universe
    • confess their weaknesses
      • Good’s = beaten w/corn stalks, rushes, reeds (a lie?)
      • Bad’s = beaten w/deer antlers
    • 2-day battle
    • Bad = beaten w/antlers, crushed into the earth
    • Bad’s last words –
      • he’ll become Evil Spirit (“Devil/Hades”)
      • hold equal power over human souls after death


COMPARISON to BIBLE:

  • COMPARISON to BIBLE:

    • virgin birth
    • good vs. evil struggles
    • Creation
    • Adam & Eve
    • ultimate battle, Good vs. Evil, Armageddon
    • Devil, Hades


Athabascan language

  • Athabascan language

    • shared by Canadian & Alaskan tribes
    • shared by Apaches
  • Navajo Nation

    • Din-e
    • The People
    • Navajo = Spanish, Apaches who cultivate fields (Apachu de Nabajo)


migrated south west

  • migrated south west

  • skills

    • farming & weaving - from Pueblos
    • silver-working – from Mexicans
    • livestock – from Spanish


Washington Matthews, late 1800s

  • Washington Matthews, late 1800s

  • complex

  • 5 Worlds

  • #1 theme =

    • HARMONY & BALANCE
      • gods & humans & creatures
      • man & wife


  • like an island floating in a sea of mist” (26)

  • red

  • no sun, stars, people

  • only light = the sky



    • wind creatures (Nilchi Dine’e)
    • the Holy People (Hashch’eeh Dine’e)
      • predecessors of Humans (we got their beauty & form)
    • 4 colors of the day
      • white = eastern sky, dawn (rise & shine)
      • blue = southern sky, day (work)
      • yellow = western sky, evening (retire)
      • black = northern sky, night (sleep)


  • north = death

  • Great Fountain

    • center of the world (axis mundi)
    • confluence of 3 rivers
  • 12 TRIBES

    • 4 in 3 directions
    • ants, dragonflies, beetles, bats, locusts
      • not insects/animals
      • but spiritual beings


  • 4 GUARDIANS

    • in the water surrounding the 1st World
    • Water Monster, east
    • Blue Heron, south
    • Frog, west
    • White Mountain Thunder, north


  • “FALL”

    • adultery
      • resulted in deceit, jealousy, turmoil
        • * destroys the HARMONY between husband & wife
    • warned 3x, 4th = banishment
    • but they were “lost in their wickedness & did not heed”
    • 4 Guardians sent Great Flood
    • escape east, through small opening into a blue world
      • “strange blue head” in the sky


    • blue
    • barren & flat
    • scouts (like Noah & raven & dove)
    • Swallow People (blue beings)
      • (supernaturals who were precursors of today’s birds)


    • don’t learn their lesson:
      • take liberties with head Swallow’s wife
      • (adultery #2) 
    • kicked out #2
    • White Head appears, go south – crooked opening


  • white

  • Grasshopper People

    • (supernaturals who were precursors of today’s insects)
  • adultery #3  kicked out #3

  • Red Head, go west – winding entrance



  • black & white

  • the Pueblos (the Kiis’annii) –

    • lived in pit houses, houses in the ground
  • Pueblos teach them @ agriculture

    • (corn, squash, pumpkin, beans)


  • *Nilch’i Dine’e behave

  • (no adultery, no kick out)



  • Holy People appear

    • 3x just a voice – 4th x = appear
      • White Body (Talking God)
      • Blue Body (Water Sprinkler)
      • Yellow Body (Calling God)
      • Black Body (Fire God)
    • 4 days, 4x a day – tried to speak w/gestures & signs – not understood
    • want to make more people, but in better forms
    • ND = formed like Holy People: teeth, 4 legs, claws like insects…


  • “smell bad”  purify

    • wash
    • dry with sacred cornmeal –
      • white for men, yellow for women
    • Holy People return in 12 days


  • Creation of 1st HUMANS

    • 2 buckskins
    • 2 ears of corn (white, yellow)
    • buckskin, ears, buckskin
    • Sacred Wind came between buckskins
    • Mirage people appeared & walked around the buckskins
    • 4th turn of the MP  man & woman replaced the ears


  • Creation of 1st HUMANS

      • ADAM & EVE
        • First Man, First Woman
        • Altse Hastiin, Altse Asdzaan
      • make a shelter  husband & wife
      • rock crystal
        • to man
        • symbol of clear thought
        • to burn for fire
      • turquoise
        • to woman
        • symbol of power of speech
        • to burn


  • 4 days  TWINS

    • Nadleeh
    • have both male & female spirit --???
      • hermaphrodites?
      • men who did women’s work w/o stigma?
    • every 4th day
      • 4 more sets of twins (no more Naleeh)


  • Instructions:

    • A&E taken to east mountains for 4 days
    • children taken later, for 4 days
    • how to live a good life
    • how to conduct themselves (in a manner befitting their divine origins)
    • Knowledge of Good & Evil
      • b/c Holy People were capable of G&E
      • taught them witchcraft, too


    • religious rituals:
      • A&E wore masks
      • prayed – long life, ample rain, abundant harvests
      • ceremonies: prayers, songs, rituals…have NOT changed


    • marriage:
      • children of A&E + Pueblos + Mirage People
      • 4 days  children
    • inventions
      • earthen dam
        • guardians = Nadleeh
      • Nadleeh made pottery, baskets while there
    • “Millennium”
      • period of peace
      • 8 years (long time, 4x2)


  • Trouble:

    • Earth & Sky join  COYOTE & BADGER
    • bad & good omens
  • 1st argument



  • 1st argument:

    • 1st Woman’s “ungrateful remark” regarding his hunting & providing
    • other versions make it seem a “bawdy” joke
      • the vagina (the joosh) = responsible for the successful hunting & food provision
    • 1st Man moves away, separation =


  • 1st argument:

    • 1st Man gathers all men
    • take all their weapons & tools
    • & move across river (with Nadleeh)
    • Let’s see how they “get along w/o us after all!”


  • 1st argument:

    • 1st winter:
      • women = OK b/c they harvest men’s crops
      • women taunt men too late in season for men to plant, ate mush
    • spring: men w/ bigger harvest
      • (than before, than women)


  • 1st argument:

    • 4th year:
      • men had so much they left most to rot in field
      • waste = taboo
      • women = starving
      • women miss men
        • dildos of cacti & stones
        •  creation of monsters
        • loss of self-control
    • reunion
      • for sake of species (no more children)
    • feast
      • to commemorate, celebrate
      • = “community”


  • LESSONS from 1st argument:

    • imbalance,
    • loss of self-control x2
    • taboo: waste food
    • feasts = community
    • pray to Holy People


  • 3 women = missing

    • mother, 2 daughters
    • captured by Water Monster as they were rowing across the river
    • pray to Holy People
    • Coyote helps in search of water – 4 chambers of WM’s dwelling
    • found, retrieved, BUT Coyote steals WM’s child  FLOOD
    • feast


  • Flood b/c of Coyote’s trick

    • planted trees to climb to safety
    • juniper, pinon, pine, spruce
    • Old Man, Young Man – w/sacred soil  Great Reed
      • from 7 sacred mts.
      • 32 reeds fused into 1 giant reed
      • hole in east side of reed, climb in for safety, sealed
      • escape through Sky
      • Turkey = last out, white tail feathers = reminder of escape


  • glittering

  • Holy People, Pueblos, A&E, Nadleeh, offspring

  • return Water Monster’s baby

  • plant, build houses, scouts, multiply



  • divination

    • HP do test to determine their future
    • “magic shell” tossed into water: float = immortality, sunk = mortality
    • Coyote tosses 2nd stone in water when 1st floated
    • sinks  “If we do not die, we shall soon overrun the world. There will be no room for us all.”
      • people see wisdom, reluctantly agree
      • Coyote = responsible for human mortality = across Native Am. stories


  • 1st death & burial

    • Nadleah
    • Holy People instruct – prepare body, place in rocky crevice
  • Argument #2:

    • over seed corm brought from 4th World
    • vs. the Kiis’aannii
  • separation #2

    • borders, marked by 4 mountains, w/3 interior mts., by A&E
    • Naming Ceremony (by A&E)
    • east, south, west, north


  • 4 color changes of the sky (as before – see 1st World)

  • need more light  Sun & Moon = created

    • Old Man w/sacred soil, reward = Sun God, immortality, bears sun across sky
    • Young Man = Moon God, immortality, bears moon across the sky


  • MONSTERS:

    • result of women’s unnatural acts in 4th World (stones, cacti)
    • horned monster, kicked people off cliffs, killed w/eyes, flying monster
    •  only 4 people remain
    • 1st Man still prays each morning  faith in hardship (JOB)
    • 4th morning – White Body told 1st man to go to mountain 


  • CHANGING WOMAN:

  • the most beloved of all the deities

    • as a baby, 1st Man takes her home
    • 4 days = full growth, maturity – moves out
    • birth to TWINS


  • TWINS:

    • sons of Sun & Waterfall
    • Born-for-Water, Monster Slayer
      • twins defeat the monsters (helped by Spider Woman, others)
      • MS slew, B4W stayed home protection spells
      • Sun gives special weapons to kill Giant, one of his sons/monsters b/c killing humans
      • weapons made of lighting, magic to walk on rainbow


  • TWINS:

    • last 4 monsters = PANDORA’S BOX-
      • Old Age, Poverty, Hunger, Cold
      • spared by the Twins so Humans would not get complacent
      • Twins go dwell w/Holy People
        • become protectors of Humans (still)


  • Sun & Changing Woman get married

    • after he agreed that she wouldn’t be long away from her people
    • made more people (replenish earth after the Monsters)
      • 4 Original Clans


  • Happy Ending:

    • Changing Woman makes more people
    • Twins become protectors of Humans (live w/Holy People)
    • Holy People leave but in touch through PRAYER & SONGS
    • Sacred Rainbow =
      • placed around Navajo homeland (Dine’bikeyah)
      • protection blessing
      • reminder of sacredness of that land
      • so long as Dine remain w/in this boundary, they have protection of Holy People
        • connection to the land
        • (Jerusalem as “Holy Land”)


#4

  • #4

  • industry

  • cleansing/purification ritual

  • how 1st Man & 1st Woman came to be

  • prayer

  • ceremonies & rituals

  • why there’s good & evil

  • marriage

  • be fruitful & multiply

  • harmony & balance

  • loss of self-control & results

  • waste = taboo (esp. waste of food)



feasts to commemorate good times: symbol of community, celebration

  • feasts to commemorate good times: symbol of community, celebration

  • flood

  • why turkeys have white tail feathers

  • why we die – mortality

  • how to bury

  • naming ceremony

  • faith in woe, still pray

  • sun & moon

  • twins

  • why there’s Old Age, Poverty, Hunger, Cold

  • prayer & song

  • holy connection to the land



axis mundi (Garden of Eden)

    • axis mundi (Garden of Eden)
    • 12 Tribes of Israel
    • Sodom & Gomorrah
    • Fall & banishment
    • Great Flood
    • scouts = dove & raven from Noah’s ark
    • Adam & Eve


marriage

    • marriage
    • industry, work
    • be fruitful & multiply
    • millennium
    • fall, Serpent-trickster
    • Job & monsters (faith in woe/crisis)
    • Holy Land


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