American Indian Literature

  1. Native American Literature include hieroglyphic and pictographic writing of Middle America
  2. Extensive set of Folk Tales, myths and oral histories.

Transmission of Oral Literature

  1. Transmitted by the storytellers threw out to centuries and live in the contemporary American Indian Writers


  1. Want to live in harmony with physical and spiritual universe.
  2. In their understanding, Breath, speech and verbal art are closely related
  3. They believe in symbolic power of the word can change the world worse or better.
  4. Silenced is described as sanctuary of sound.

Characteristic & Symbols

  1. Folk tales are the part of the social and cultural life of American Indian.
  2. They belief that one can be transported to the other world by the art of storytelling, depends on the imaginative skills of narrator.
  3. Repetition of incidents in the story telling. The number of repetition usually corresponded to the number associated with the culture. Ex Christian tradition, the sacred number is most often counted in threes (the Trinity). In Native American the sacred number is most often associated with Four, Cardinal Direction


  1. The cycle is another recurring symbol in native literature
  2. Symbolize sun and earth.
  3. Circle is important in ceremonies and dance other view is that , the hero or heroines who have left the tribe come back after many trails and adventure thus completing a circular journey.

Other Characteristics

  1. Strong fellow feeing and helpfulness
  2. Age and experience are respected and valued
  3. Some characteristics are specific to certain tribes. Ex Hopis Stress hard work, nomads stress movement.
  4. American literature reflects the mythology and past histories as well also experience of the present
  5. The oral literature is held sacred by the tribes and outsiders are not allowed access to them.
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