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Essay on The Land Scape Will Teach You Who You Are

5 pages
1128 words
University of Richmond
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The landscape will teach you who you are is a mythical narrative that gives an interpretation of an indigenous thought in how traditional people viewed nature. The people learned their nature through narratives in order to understand who they were. This paper identifies and discusses four themes from the narrative.

The Native metaphysics of nature

The story talks about the traditional view of nature by the locals. They believed that there were spirits that lived in the mountains. Pukini traditions required rituals to be performed with respect to the spirits. Traditional rituals have been used to enhance the respect for nature. According to Jay Hansford, the sacred resides in us as human beings, and we, in turn, reside in the sacred hence all things are sacred possessing both spirit and soul. As a result, we are obliged to respect and obey all forms of nature. Spirits are traditional and non-tangible aspects that are known to punish humans when they go wrong or fail to respect them. The connection spirits and nature can be seen in the story. Repulsions of disobeying nature are realized afterward. Nature is said to be unforgiving when provoked and their lack of forgiveness is seen in aspects such as environmental degradation that results in calamities such as flooding. It is believed that world might end as a result of ecological degradation. The author seems to understand that nature dictates our ways of lives by teaching us how we should live and avoid problems. Maintaining the nature at an ideal state will subsequently propel us towards good living in our habitats.

Insight into the once and future wisdom essential to earth care

The traditional narratives and teaching install wisdom that is essential in taking care of our ecology. Jay Hansford symbolizes Joes remarks of the landscape will teach you who you are to dreams he derived from traditional quest to take care of the earth. The locals made a promise to the spirits to preserve and take care of their earth for the future generation. The spirits are thought to comprise the ancestors who died a long time ago and taking care of the earth for the future generations appears as dreams they had before they died. Jay Hansford states that dreams have a direct origin in nature and constitutes ones wisdom originating from the subconscious mind. Dreams are in most cases driven by what we intend to achieve in specific aspects. Our surroundings make us dream of various aspects of who we are and what we are capable of achieving. As a result, nature teaches us who we are and what we can achieve if we exploit our potential. The locals in this narrative believed that wisdom could come from the spirits in the mountain. They believed that the spirits were full of wisdom and could pass it to the native people. This notion created more urge to dream in order to fulfill the spirits wish. The wisdom gained is, in turn, to be used in improving the world and make it a better living place for all habitats. The habitats include both humans, animals as well as plants hence human beings have the duty to use their wisdom in taking care of nature for the benefit of all.

Tradition versus modernity

Another common theme in the story is the theme of tradition versus modernity. The narrative talks of traditional aspects such as respecting and offering rituals to the spirits. On the contrary, such aspects are not seen in the modern world. Most traditional aspects are passed from one generation to another and teach us where we came from and how our ancestors lived. While some traditional aspects have been hailed for preserving our nature, modernization aspects especially industrialization are associated with degradation of local ecology. Some of the traditional aspects are ideal and helps in conserving our ecology. This narrative talks about how the locals defend the sanctity of Pikuni-Blackfeet sacred geography. The traditional elders such as Joe Crowshoe believed nature was sacred and should be protected at all cost. They believed the spirits demanded the nature to be protected and never be disturbed. Going against the spirits wish would result in punishment. The modern view is that nature is important and should be protected; however, the reasons for protection vary between the traditional view and the modern view. While the traditional view is that spirits will punish those who do not respect the nature, the modern view is based on solid scientific grounds that show that degradation of nature will result in adverse effects on the earth. As a result of fear of spirits repulsions, traditional people had more respect to the ecology as compared to the modern world where laws have been enacted to protect the nature. Some of such laws include banning of the plastic bags that are thrown carelessly by human beings in the environment resulting in adverse effects on the environment.

The power of mythic narratives in conserving the nature

The narrative portrays how the mythic narratives can be used in reducing the degradation of nature. The mythic narrative installs fear to the people who fear the negative repercussions of destroying the areas that are viewed as sacred. The Pikuni people had areas, where they believed, were sacred because spirits lived in those areas. In addition to the rituals to the spirits, these areas were highly respected and never destroyed. The author states that the locals believed that the spirits had the power to cause death to those who did not respect them. As opposed to the modern world way of learning where people are formally taught how to protect the nature as well as what might happen when nature is destroyed, traditional people used narratives in teaching. In order to make sure that the people did not deviate from crucial teachings, mythic narratives that installed fear were used. In the case of Pikuni people, mythic narratives involving spirits were used. They believed the spirits added wisdom to the people and the wisdom was to be used for the good of the society and more so to make the society a better place to be habited by all living things. These narratives had a major impact in conserving the nature.


The narrative helps to enlighten on how narratives are connected to our ecology. Through mythical stories, people understand themselves better as well as their nature. The themes identified in this work show that narratives are important in understanding and preserving the nature and failure to preserve the nature will result in negative effects on living things.


Crowshoe, Joe, . The land scape will teach you who you are In Native American Oralcy: Interpretations of Indigenous Thought by Vest, Jay Hansford C, 75-87. Vernom: J Charlton Publishing, 2014.


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