Smoke Signals vs. Way to Rainy Mountain

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Brandon Nitschmann Essay In most Native American literature the land on which they live, their families and their traditions are all big parts in these stories. Such as in Way to Rainy Mountain and Smoke Signals, all three of those are incorporated heavily in the story line. The Native American people were very spiritual and family oriented and concentrated on the bonds and traditions that held their families together. They believed that almost everything on Earth was symbolic of something, the soil on which they lived upon, the crops that were grown, the animals hunted for food, they are all connected. So in the Native American culture there are three main aspects; their land, their families, and their traditions. The land on which they lived on in Way to Rainy Mountain and Smoke Signals were similar, but in different ways. In Smoke Signals the Native Americans lived on reservations in small houses or mobile homes where as in Way to Rainy Mountain they lived in the old huts built from little resources which were available to them. Although conditions in which they lived varied they were both located in the desert, out west, away from whites. In both stories the land on which they lived was very spiritual indeed. All living things on Earth played a spiritual role in their culture. The rivers, the trees, the soil, the wind, all of these were believed as spiritual beings. Everything around them was spiritual. "The sun is at home on the plains. Precisely there does it have the certain character of a god." In Way to Rainy Mountain this shows that the sun was even believed to be a god. The moon was believed to be a god as well along with many other aspects of nature. In Smoke Signals Thomas says, “You don’t need money on a reservation.” Their reservation was surrounded by dirt roads and mountains out west and they were closely surrounded by family
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