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“The Sky Tree” “Coyote Finishes His Work”

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1 “The Sky Tree” “Coyote Finishes His Work”
Myths and Archetypes

2 Essential Question(s)
What are myths and archetypes? Why are they important to Native American literature?

3 “The Sky Tree” and “Coyote Finishes His Work”
“The Sky Tree” is a creation myth of the Huron, a Native American people of the eastern woodlands. “Coyote Finishes His Work” has been handed down through the tradition of the Nez Perce, a Native American people of the Plateau culture who lived in what is now Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

4 Myth A myth is an anonymous traditional story that is basically religious in nature and that usually serves to explain a belief, ritual, or mysterious natural phenomenon. Myths are usually connected with religious rituals and explain the world the people live in and their traditions.

5 Archetype An archetype is a very old imaginative pattern that appears in literature across cultures and is repeated through the ages. An archetype can be a character, a plot, an image, a theme, or a setting. Examples Plots- the death of the hero, boy wins girl, the journey Characters- the trickster, the savior, the rescued maiden Images- a place where people never die, a golden cup, hoarded treasure

6 Understanding Cultural Characteristics
It is important to recognize difference in literary traditions when reading works by members of different cultures. Since American Indian literature was handed down orally by storytellers, these pieces lose some of their power in written form.

7 Assignment Read “The Sky Tree” on page 24.
Then, read “Coyote Finishes His Work” on page 25. Page 26-Reading Check and Thinking Critically

8 “The Sky Tree” What was the world like in the beginning?
How does the myth explain the origin of the earth as we know it today? What aspects of the settings in this myth are archetypes? What other stories have used the same archetypes?

9 “Coyote Finishes His Work”
What aspects of life on earth are explained in this myth? Metamorphoses, or shape changes, are common in myths of all cultures. What metamorphoses take place in this myth?

10 What other archetypes did you find?
The tree in the Huron myth is an archetype—that of the life-giving tree. Coyote in the Nez Perce myth is an archetype—that of the trickster hero.

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