FIRST: Read or skim chapter 1 in our textbook, Eric Foner’s Give Me Liberty: An American History, Volume 1.
Additionally, read or skim this 2009 article by Lewis Lord about population estimates of the Americas prior to European ‘discovery’ in 1492 (will attach.). This secondary source article should be especially enjoyable for those looking for a statistical look at ‘pre-Columbian’ North America.
THEN: Read this Iroquois creation story (will attach link). Consult our textbook for more about the Iroquois, a term that applies to one of the most powerful and largest of American Indian confederacies. Iroquois groups like the Seneca, Mohawk, and Cayuga are the historic locals of the St. Lawrence River, the Erie and Ontario Lakes, and areas of today’s New York, Canada, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. As you read the story, imagine hearing this story as a Seneca or Mohawk child. What purpose might this story serve in your life? Consider what we, as historians, can glean from this story.
Explore this web collection of Native American oral stories (will attach link) that have been recorded (albeit not without complications over the centuries). Please spend time reading at least four or five stories for your comparison. Will attach link to other stories.
FINALLY: Referencing our textbook and as many of this week’s online readings as possible, answer completely in a 300-word post the following prompt. Explore samples of different Native groups’ legends and stories on the website collection linked above. Find a common theme or trend in these different groups’ beliefs and explain your findings. What do you think accounts for the similarities? What can we learn from these written oral stories? What might be some of the challenges of taking these stories at face value?
Make sure to cite them in MLA format.