Stories passed down from generation to generation, through spoken language.
This movement is based mostly on oral tradition - which can give us a hint as to why there is very little written material.
Those stories, fables, tales, myths and chants were written down later for preservation, not because that was typical for Native Americans of the time.
Common Characteristics of Native American Lit
Nature and elements of nature are the most common aspect of these writings.
Common Themes of Native American Lit:
A very common theme in American Indian stories is the link between the land and the people. Stories make it clear that humans come from the land and return to the land.
Another theme is that of a hero’s journey. Sometimes literal (young warrior rides off to fight a hostile nation) but sometimes metaphorical (a person or an animal learn a lesson that sets their life off on a new course).
When did the Early Settlers Movement Occur?
1500's - 1670's
Most of the literature is comprised of letters, diaries, journals and histories.
The accuracy of these writings is often called in to question.