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Vision of Kitche Manitou Book
In his book The Vision of Kitche Manitou, Johnston `describes the creation story of Kitche Manitou of the Ojibwe, for instance, Kitche Manitou created everything out of nothing. Johnston argues that the creator gave his breath to a different nature and essence. Besides, each substance created had a power, and it became its soul-spirit. Kitche Manitou created the physical world of heavenly bodies such as the starts, sun, moon and the earth and other creatures. He then created man on the last day, and he gave the man the greatest gift-the power to dream, and through this, the man could control other creatures in the world (Johnston, 1976). Johnston asserts that the creator made The Great Laws of Nature that could apply to the well being and harmony of all creatures and things, and this could bring about an order in the world. The laws could control every living thing or creature, and this implies that Kitche Manitou was orderly and concerned.
In Creation Story Part 1: Sky Woman and Turtle Island, Porter describes the story of creation and how the heavenly bodies such as the moon came to existence. Porter argues that there was no land in the beginning, but there were water and water creatures. Porter goes further and describes that there were beings that resembled human beings in Karonhia:ke, The Sky World. The beings in the ‘Sky World’ had more powers and strength than human beings, for instance, they could make things occur by thinking about it. The author further describes the Tree of Life that was located in the center of the Sky World, and the beings in the sky were told not to disturb the tree (Porter, n.d). The author describes that one day an expectant woman wanted to drink tea made from the roots of the ‘Tree of Life’ and she ordered her husband to dig near the base of the tree to acquire the roots. In the process of digging, some dirt caved in, and the tree fell creating a hole in the floor of the ‘Sky World.’ The author asserts that the woman fell and luckily, she was supported by the birds and since the woman was heavy, she was lowered to the water below, and the turtle offered to help and carry her by the back. The turtle’s shell was able to help her, and this has made some individuals refer North America as the “Turtle Island.”
From the story, the Sky Woman was grateful since the creatures helped her. The Sky woman needed land to survive and allow the other nourishment to grow, for instance, “the animals dove down to try to get dirt from under the water…one creature was successful in bringing a few grains of dirt to Sky Woman… the turtle’s shell grew, and the grains of dirt multiplied.” With the aim of ensuring continuity, the Sky Woman dropped the seeds from the Tree of Life, and they started to grow right away (Porter, n.d). The Sky Woman gave birth to a baby girl who later gave birth to twin boys. The boys were special, and they were brought up by their grandmother, The Sky Woman after their mother died. The boy’s father was the spirit of the West Wind. When the Sky Woman passed away, her head was flung into the sky by the twins, and the head became the moon. The moon played an essential role as it reflects light at night. The Grandmother Moon helps the people in keeping track of time. The moon also regulates the rise and fall of the water. According to Porter, human beings were created last, and they were meant to be the caretakers and ensure that everything stays in balance. Besides, human beings ought to respect the original instructions and take good care of the earth (Porter, n.d). Porter’s book gives a creation account and describes the source of heavenly bodies. Besides, the book describes the role of the various bodies, for instance, the moon, as well as the role of human beings on earth.
Fixico’s book Oral Traditions and Traditional Knowledge describes the various sources of history, for instance, the written and the non-written sources. The author argues that old shopping lists, letters and diaries describe how people lived in the past, what they thought and what they felt about what happened around them. The author changes the readers’ thoughts by asserting that history can be studied in both written and non-written form, for instance, most individuals thought that something could only be studied as history if it is written down. Fixico argues that most cultures did not write down their history, but instead, they told stories to their children about what happened in society.
The parents passed information to the next generation, and through this, information was passed for many years (Fixico, 2003). Through the act of passing information from one generation to the other, history was kept, and this can be used in explaining some phenomena. The process of passing information from one generation to the other through word of mouth with the aim of keeping history is referred to as “oral tradition.” Fixico affirms that historians have recognized the importance of oral traditions as it enables them to know what happened in the various societies in the world. The author describes the main types of oral tradition, for instance, oral history and stories. Oral history describes what, when and why things happened to an individual or a society. On the other hand, stories give the message other than the facts about a community or a person. The stories give reasons for things in life that a community could not explain. The stories are referred to as fairy tales or folklore. The author asserts that oral tradition plays an essential role in the society, for instance, the oral history describes what happened and the fairy tales helps individuals in understanding what the people believed and how they felt about their environment.
Through oral history, an individual can tell how a community named mountains, rivers and other landmarks (Fixico, 2003). Oral history also describes why individuals performed some nature practices such as the rainmaking dances and medical practices. In some of the traditional societies, specific people could treat particular illness or wounds as this was through the knowledge passed on to them by their elders. In some of the societies more so the Afrikaans, anybody could be allowed to use the medicine.
Fixico asserts that South Africa is rich in oral traditions. For instance, most practices were carried over from one generation to the other, and they have been written down to preserve them. Besides, there are different versions of every tale because some information was distorted as the people kept on telling the stories over and over. Some of the information might have been left out as the people kept on telling the stories from one generation to the other or changed some things to make them understand better (Fixico, 2003). The author argues that the omission of information and distortion is common in oral tradition, but it is essential to listen to the stories as it gives important clues concerning the past and this is essential among the historians and other people interested in knowing much about a community or phenomena.
In Updating Aboriginal Traditions of Knowledge, Castellano argues that indigenous knowledge has accrued because the indigenous people tend to have a close connection with their surrounding and they learn through experience. Most of the teachings from the indigenous people come from observations and learning from the animals, plants, heavenly bodies, wind and the spirit world. The world of the indigenous world includes environment, language, governance, medicine, health, education and philosophy (Castellano, 2000). Through oral traditions and histories, the accumulated knowledge has been passed from one generation to the other through oral narratives such as songs, historical events, environmental knowledge, personal life experiences and sacred creation stories.
Castellano further argues that colonial impacts affected the writing and orality of the indigenous people of Canada since the Europeans rejected notched sticks, pictographs, and petroglyphs that were the primary native texts. In most indigenous people, oral narratives play an essential role as it connects the past to the present (Castellano,2000). Challenges exist in most societies, and through the oral narratives, the young generation can avoid resistance and this in turn, helps in solving the problems. Furthermore, the stories guide the young generation and utilizes the creativity of the elders in bridging the past to the present.
Castellano, M. B. (2000). Updating Aboriginal traditions of knowledge. Indigenous knowledges in global contexts: Multiple readings of our world, 21-36.
Fixico, D. L. (2003). Oral tradition and traditional knowledge. The American Indian Mind in a Linear World, 21-39.
Johnston, Basil (1976). “The Vision of Kitche Manitou” Ojibway Heritage. U of Nebraska Press.
Porter, T. Creation Story Part 1: Sky Woman and Turtle Island. In Haudenosaunee Origin Narrative (pp. 40-68).