|About the Book|
This is an introduction to the various ways of understanding mythology and a resource for the study of North American Indian traditions. It describes and then employs the principal means of myth analysis in interpreting a sequence of myths andMoreThis is an introduction to the various ways of understanding mythology and a resource for the study of North American Indian traditions. It describes and then employs the principal means of myth analysis in interpreting a sequence of myths and rituals from Indians across North America. Spanning a range of mythological possibilities and of American Indian culture areas, the myths and rituals treated here include the Hopi myth of emergence and clan migrations, the Ojibwa creation myth, the Iroquois myth of the Confederacy, the Navajo Orpheus tradition, the numerous pan-Indian myths (or monomyth) of peyotisms origins, and, finally, a contemporary sweat lodge ceremony. As the title suggests, Imagine Ourselves Richly treats these myths and rituals not only as clues to Indian identity and methods of survival but as a legacy of the spirit for us all. The lessons they teach, says Vecsey, community harmony, natural reciprocity, realism in facing death, yet hope and striving to better the human condition, a laughing sense of lifes absurdity, and yet acceptance despite it all--these are healthy, eminently health-promoting ideas that we can hardly afford to ignore. At the heart of the grand corpus of Indian stories the author finds a triple declaration of dependence: of the individual on the community, of the community on nature, and of nature on the ultimately powerful world of spirit.