Native American Songs And Poems. Essay

986 words - 4 pages

Poetry is a literature form, which expresses feelings, emotions, love, and everything that has always been mysterious to the humankind. Most of the time the essential purpose of poetry is to enchant readers with the beauty of the language. It is widely assumed that Native Americans didn't have any alphabet and thus, no written literature. At first though, they indeed didn't have a written language until a Cherokee member named Sequoyah, invented a syllabary for the Cherokees in 1821. Their songs and poems had been preserved and distorted throughout all this period of time. In spite of the difficulties, which accompany translation of Indian songs and poems their authentic meaning didn't changed at all. They are still beautiful, and reveal a highly sophisticated worldview. Native American songs and poems represent poetry, which is difficult to understand and assimilate by people living outside the tribal culture.
Since there is such great diversity among Indian tribes and groups there really is no such thing as a single Indian culture. There are some beliefs and traditions common to many nations. The technologies, economies, languages and political systems of American Indian people were as diverse as far their European counterparts. American Indian history, before European contact, was as exciting as those of other nations. For these reasons it is impossible to identify one "American Indian culture."
Indian cultures were stable, spiritually oriented, harmonious, and there were little given to internecine warfare (Velie 102). Although there was a great deal out of the warfare and raiding between tribes, harmony was the rule within the tribes. The traditional Native American poems and songs were usually created for tribal occasions such as weddings, healings ceremonies and planting or hunting rituals. The songs were used to present the tribal history, standarts of ethical conduct and religious beliefs. Usually the songs were rhythmically chanted or sung in a tribal context to drums or other musical accompaniment.
For the Indians, literature was functional. It was an educational tool that taught the younger generation the beliefs and history of their tribe. Many songs were good medicine, others were morale builders sung before battles. Songs were sung to increase the fertility of the fields, to assure a successful hunt and so on. The ritual for the Indians was a form of sacred drama filled with poetry, song, and dance; it acted out on earth events taking place in a place in a more important realm (Schoolcraft 22). Of course, the different tribes had different literary tastes but mostly they had similar customs and taboos, the poetry is one of them.
The subject matter of the Indian poems and songs comes from nearly every phase of life, particularly love, war, medicine, and religion. Many songs were composed to celebrate particular event. They interpret dreams, affect the performance of miraculous cures, and preside over the most sacred rites (Krupat...

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