Monday, January 20, 2014

Week 10: Cherokee

Here are my favorite stories, but it was very hard to choose, since I liked this Cherokee unit a lot! So I took notes on a lot of the stories. :-)

How the World Was Made. I loved the way the buzzard made mountains by flapping his wings. That's a big buzzard! I've been to the Smoky Mountains and mountains of western Carolina... so, yes, a really big buzzard! I also really like how the animals that stayed awake all night to pray received the power to see in the dark, and the trees that stayed awake are evergreens. And at first a woman gave birth every week: ouch! Too many people, so they changed it to just once a year.

The Journey to the Sunrise. I loved the idea of this journey taking all their lives. It's also about finding different peoples and different ways of life: "At first they met tribes they knew, then they came to tribes they had only heard about, and at last to others of which they had never heard."

Origin of the Pleiades and the Pine. The way the boys' mothers cook the stones from their game and serves it to them for supper is fantastic: "Since you like the gatayû'stï better than the cornfield, take the stones now for your dinner." But then it turns sad, and the boys become the Pleiades, although one falls and dies, and where the mother weeps over him there grows the pine (which has a star nature!).

The Moon and the Thunders. INTENSE: the spots on the moon are ashes rubbed by his lover/sister, the sun, who wanted to learn his identity. Meanwhile, an eclipse is a great frog in the sky wanting to eat the sun or moon.

The Deluge. Very cool story where a talking dog warns his master of what is to come, and so the man builds a raft, and he and his family survive. Plus GHOSTS: "Now there was no one alive but the man and his family, but one day they heard a sound of dancing and shouting on the other side of the ridge. The man climbed to the top and looked over; everything was still, but all along the valley he saw great piles of bones of the people who had been drowned, and then he knew that the ghosts had been dancing."

Flint Visits The Rabbit. There were so many good Rabbit trickster stories, but this was my favorite because Rabbit tricks Flint but is also a kind of culture hero AND a creator - the way he makes the being called Flint explode is why there is flint scattered around now, and a piece of flint split rabbit's lip too!

The Terrapin's Escape From The Wolves. I love this story! It's like Brer Rabbit and the Brierpatch, but with turtle and wolves instead, where the wolves are angry because the turtle was using wolf ears for hominy spoons!  The turtle gets away by tricking the wolves into throwing him in water; his shells cracks, but gets sewn back together.

The Owl Gets Married. The Huhu Gets Married. I loved both of these stories about a woman who marries a no-good man that turns out to be a bird in disguise. I'm not sure if a huhu is a kind of owl (?), as these two stories were very similar. It's a dramatic way to show how marriages don't always turn out as hoped! More scary and intense are the different stories of The Bullfrog Lover.

Snake Boy and Snake Man. There were lots of stories about these giant, supernatural killer snakes, but my favorite was the one about the boy who BECOMES one of these fierce snakes, an uktena... and his grandmother misses him so much that she goes after them and disappears into the water in the wilderness. How did the boy turn into a snake exactly? There's another story about a transformation paired with this one, and it was really intense!

The Rattlesnake's Vengeance. WOW: in this story a woman kills a rattlesnake and she must die to atone for it. Her husband knows this, but does not tell her. The Cherokee get a prayer song that gives them power over a rattlesnake bite... but the woman is dead, and she does not come back. Powerful stuff.

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