Native American Literature Essay

1220 words - 5 pages

The normal life of Native Americans in early America was pretty low key. They were the only people in Northern America until the end of the 15th century. Soon after, in the 16th and 17th centuries, many people from Europe traveled to America. This caused many problems for the American Indians. The European diseases and weapons caused many deaths among the Native Americans. They were abused by the newcomers who stole their land and treated them badly. There were wars between Indian tribes that caused injury and death. Before the Europeans arrived, there were other problems like floods and animal attacks that caused death. This type of literature is a transition was changing to the oral ...view middle of the document...

They had been alone and had their own way of life until the Europeans arrived. They were now forced to deal with strange people and their cultures and habits. The strangers came, stole their land and made them unwelcome where they lived.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, most of their works were autobiographies. This was totally different from oral tradition where the speaker told a story. Now the author was speaking about himself which was considered wrong or inappropriate. William Apes described in very strong terms, the “white abuse” of New England Indians in the 17th and 18th centuries. After publishing his last work, he disappeared from view.
For many Native Americans, the new century meant confinement on tribal reservations. Fearing their stories would be lost, they began to write them down. They also began to write of their own struggles. As years went on, they began to tell their stories to “Anglo” writers. Stories written about Native Americans gained popularity because they talked about the Native

American as a “dying” breed. They created sympathy among people who read the stories and began to realize that “Indians” were people, too. People started to care.
The influence on American Literature was very meaningful to Indian tribes and history. Early American writers had struggled to find ways to tell their stories. They blended European and American Indian traditions to create a new way to tell their stories. James Fenimore Cooper wrote a famous novel of Native American Literature. It is called The Last of the Mohicians. This book is still read widely today. It influenced Native American culture and storytelling by using the elements of American Indian stories. Cooper’s book includes the theme of the power of nature and the link man. The Poineers by James Fenimore Cooper. Washington Irving influenced Native American Literature by supernatural forces. In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow he combined American Indian stories and also Dutch and German stories. This was used to make the stories about the supernatural world and the natural world combined.
Even though Native American Literature is written by men some women write about it too. S. Alice Callahan wrote the first written novel by a woman that was Native American called Wynema: A Child of the Forest. This novel is about an American girl who has a relationship with a Native American girl named Wynema. Their growing understanding of each other’s culture and way of life helps them to develop a strong relationship. Callahan’s novel was trying to...

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