The Native American Oral Tradition: Voices of the Spirit and Soul

The Native American Oral Tradition: Voices of the Spirit and Soul

The Native American Oral Tradition: Voices of the Spirit and Soul

The Native American Oral Tradition: Voices of the Spirit and Soul

Synopsis

Einhorn, a rhetorical scholar, explores the rich history of the Native American oral tradition, focusing on stories, orations, prayers, and songs. Because American Indians existed without written language for many generations, their culture was strongly dependent on an oral tradition for continuity and preservation. Not surprisingly, they spent many hours perfecting the art of oral communication and learning methods for committing their messages to memory. Einhorn thoroughly examines the important aspects of this unique oral tradition from a rhetorical perspective, covering individual speakers, nations, and time periods.

Excerpt

Imagine yourself living in a world filled with love, peace, joy, cooperation, and unity. People treat you with kindness and respect not because of what you do, but because of who you are. You accept, value, appreciate, and celebrate other people's differences, viewing them as opportunities for you to learn and grow. You see with sensitivity, hear with heart, and speak with sincerity.

You value truth, unity, and peace. You define peace not only as the absence of war, but also as respect and reverence for life and for nourishing, cultivating, and sustaining life. You nurture and cherish your family, friends, and people in your tribal nation, especially Elders, the links to the past, and children, the representatives of the future. You also serve as guardian of the land since the hallowed ground beneath your feet represents your ancestors.

Some violence and crime exist. Occasionally you hear the words rape, murder, and war. But your culture overall stresses love, unity, and living in harmony with nature. You have never heard of alcohol, pollution, or guns or of diseases such as smallpox, cholera, or tuberculosis.

You belong. You belong to your family. You belong to your tribal nation. Most importantly, you belong to the Earth.

You understand your purpose and place on this planet. You nourish and cherish Mother Earth, who, in turn, nourishes you and all her creatures. You believe that everyone and everything possess equal worth. Like all people, you share the exquisite Earth with the shimmering sun, spacious sky, woodland wildlife, and fragrant foliage.

You live each moment in the present to the fullest, in harmony with Mother Earth. You know the past is gone, and the future consists only of . . .

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