NATIVE AMERICAN CREATION MYTH AND COLONIAL SETTLERS

For this essay, please consider the following points to help you to select an approach that will allow you to discuss one of the major issues which the assigned readings have presented. In considering these points in your essay, compare the attitudes of the Native American peoples and their views with those of the emigrating Europeans; discuss the attitudes which the early American literature—both oral tradition and written—presents about these philosophical stances, in regard to Man and his world, the role that Man has in Nature, and the relationships which Man has/should have toward others and toward Nature/God. Examine what motivates Man’s actions and outlook. The essay should display the hallmarks of good writing (correct grammar, mechanics, and usage) and the insight that careful analysis of the works will produce. Use of the readings is expected as you employ details and quotations for support. Follow MLA guidelines for correct citation within your essay and for the correct form for the works cited page. At least two separate works should be used for the discussion of the idea that you offer for consideration. The essay should be approximately 750-1000 words in length, although you should not feel constrained by that length. 1Native American cultures—although divergent in background, language, and customs—demonstrate a spirituality especially toward nature, with a connective belief in the “Great Spirit” from whom all come and to whom all return. As expressed in the Lakota perspective: In the Indian the spirit of the land is vested; it will be until other men are able to divine and meet its rhythm. Men must be born and reborn to belong. Their bodies must be formed of the dust of their forefathers’ bones.[The Indian] was kin to all living things and he gave to all creatures equal rights with himself. Everything of earth was loved and reverenced. (Chief Luther Standing Bear, Land of the Spotted Eagle, Houghton Mifflin, Boston & New York, 1933)POINT 2The Puritans saw human history as an unfolding cosmic drama in which every person had a predestined role to play. True, men and women had no free will, but they had the assurance that their existence—indeed, their every action—was meaningful and that their strivings and sufferings in the present would ultimately produce a future of perfect peace and security—a kind of heaven on earth. That confidence made people like the Puritans anything but passive or despairing. On the contrary, they were an extraordinarily energetic, activist lot, constantly striving to reshape both society and government to accord with what they believed to be the will of God as set forth in the scriptures. They strove, too, to lead godly and disciplined lives—but not because they hoped that such righteous behavior would earn them salvation. Instead they believed that their very ability to master their evil inclinations provided some evidence that they ranked among the elect of saints. In other words, the Puritans did not regard leading a godly, moral life as the cause of a person’s salvation, but rather as an encouraging sign of the effect of being chosen by God to enjoy eternal bliss in heaven. It was impossible, of course, to be entirely confident of one’s eternal fate, but that edge of uncertainty only made believers redouble their efforts to purify their own lives and society as a whole. And nothing was more important to early modern men and women than gaining greater reassurance of salvation (Heyrman, Christine Leigh. “Puritanism and Predestination.” Divining America, TeacherServe©. National Humanities Center).POINT 3Some of the earliest settlers to America came as a result of religious persecution or to separate themselves from the established church that was perceived as a corrupt institution. Other settlers, however, more often than not, came for materialistic purposes; indeed, these settlers often proved to be more driven to explore the region and establish themselves than those who sought religious freedoms. The settlers at Jamestown—a group of businessmen—were commissioned as the Virginia Company by James I to emulate the success that the Spanish had had elsewhere in the New World. Although not immediately profitable, the fortune of the colony changed with the introduction of cash crops such as tobacco, which was sold to both Native Americans and people in England, starting as early as 1612. Easy to grow, tobacco became the “money crop.” Once the money began to flow in, the Jamestown colony grew, and other settlements in Virginia and other locations along the eastern seaboard were soon established. Capitalism, then, spurred the growth of the colonies, more so than a search for religious freedom. “Capitalism came in the first ships.” (Carl N. Degler, Out of Our Past)For the essay, then, using one or more of these points, discuss the perspective that Native Americansand/or early American settlers had in regard to the concept of Man in the world—what that role is/should be and how Man must/should behave to achieve what is expected. The issues which may be considered include:Nature as regarded by Native Americans and the European settlersDivinity as portrayed and regarded by Native Americans and the European settlersWork ethic as key to way of life—responsibility of the individual to contributeCapitalism/monetary gain as a spur to seek, establish, and develop the New World.Again, the essay should be 750 to 1000 words, although you are not limited to that length should you feel “inspired.” Also, sources that you choose to utilize for support must be limited to the textbook and other information which is available at Canvas—no outside sources other than the text and posted material at Canvas may be used. Be certain to cite all material drawn from the text and the posted material—you must credit all information used according to proper MLA format.