American Cultural Myths Essay

The cowboy’s doings and goings, real and imaginary, include a considerable portion of our national ethos.“His” qualities, both good and bad, consistently receive attention in film and television and other cultural forms. In the end, it is clear the cowboy story is more fiction than fact, and that is just fine.Often misunderstood as violent people, by sharing their traditions and language, Native Americans offer an inside glimpse into their beliefs.

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In addition to being a teaching method, these stories became methods of entertaining the tribe.

Hero myths and folklore were other forms of storytelling that saw seemingly ordinary men given superhero powers and gave tribesmen a sense of pride within their people.

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Myths are popular methods for learning and understanding our history.

In American culture, the cowboy story is of particular note.These myths also show their respect for ancient wisdom, and how nature played an important and reverential role.Storytelling also included songs, music, poetry and dance as a way to connect tribe members and illustrate their history.Before we can understand the cowboy myth, we must first address the concept of “myth.” According to historian Richard Slotkin, myth “is the primary language of historical memory: a body of traditional stories that have over time, been used to summarize the course of our collective history and to assign ideological meanings to that history.” In this way, myths serve to define a culture, and more importantly, how participants of that culture want to be defined.Such definitions are accomplished through the creation of heroes and villains, icons and symbols, who together represent the values of that culture. Stories and legend serve an essential role in modern culture, and it would be a mistake to dismiss them as tales of fiction and times bygone.Mythology plays an important part in Native American religion.Creation myths are one of the most well-known traditions for Native American tribes. In creating and sharing these myths, native peoples were able to explain everyday natural occurencess such as weather-related events, as well as their own beginnings.Storytelling was an important method for Native Americans to pass down their history and traditions and can be seen as the seeds from which entertainers, teachers, and historians grew.Through storytelling, Native American tribes shared, preserved, and paid tribute to their early beginnings, so future generations could continue their legacy.Each tribe seems to have its own unique creation myth — stories that explained how their tribe came to be in the world.These myths speak to the importance of storytelling in Native Americans’ culture as well as to the individuality of the tribe and its beliefs.


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