Culture is the social behavior and norms found in human societies. Culture is considered a central concept in anthropology, encompassing the range of phenomena that are transmitted through social learning in human societies. Cultural universals are found in all human societies; the concept of material culture covers the physical expressions of culture, such as technology and art, whereas the immaterial aspects of culture such as principles of social organization, philosophy and science comprise the intangible cultural heritage of a society. In the humanities, one sense of culture as an attribute of the individual has been the degree to which they have cultivated a particular level of sophistication in the arts, education, or manners; the level of cultural sophistication has sometimes been seen to distinguish civilizations from less complex societies. Such hierarchical perspectives on culture are found in class-based distinctions between a high culture of the social elite and a low culture, popular culture, or folk culture of the lower classes, distinguished by the stratified access to cultural capital.
In common parlance, culture is used to refer to the symbolic markers used by ethnic groups to distinguish themselves visibly from each other such as body modification, clothing or jewelry. Mass culture refers to the mass-produced and mass mediated forms of consumer culture that emerged in the 20th century; some schools of philosophy, such as Marxism and critical theory, have argued that culture is used politically as a tool of the elites to manipulate the lower classes and create a false consciousness, such perspectives are common in the discipline of cultural studies. In the wider social sciences, the theoretical perspective of cultural materialism holds that human symbolic culture arises from the material conditions of human life, as humans create the conditions for physical survival, that the basis of culture is found in evolved biological dispositions; when used as a count noun, a "culture" is the set of customs and values of a society or community, such as an ethnic group or nation. Culture is the set of knowledge acquired over time.
In this sense, multiculturalism values the peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between different cultures inhabiting the same planet. Sometimes "culture" is used to describe specific practices within a subgroup of a society, a subculture, or a counterculture. Within cultural anthropology, the ideology and analytical stance of cultural relativism holds that cultures cannot be objectively ranked or evaluated because any evaluation is situated within the value system of a given culture; the modern term "culture" is based on a term used by the Ancient Roman orator Cicero in his Tusculanae Disputationes, where he wrote of a cultivation of the soul or "cultura animi," using an agricultural metaphor for the development of a philosophical soul, understood teleologically as the highest possible ideal for human development. Samuel Pufendorf took over this metaphor in a modern context, meaning something similar, but no longer assuming that philosophy was man's natural perfection, his use, that of many writers after him, "refers to all the ways in which human beings overcome their original barbarism, through artifice, become human."In 1986, philosopher Edward S.
Casey wrote, "The word culture meant'place tilled' in Middle English, the same word goes back to Latin colere,'to inhabit, care for, worship' and cultus,'A cult a religious one.' To be cultural, to have a culture, is to inhabit a place sufficiently intensive to cultivate it—to be responsible for it, to respond to it, to attend to it caringly." Culture described by Richard Velkley:... meant the cultivation of the soul or mind, acquires most of its modern meaning in the writings of the 18th-century German thinkers, who were on various levels developing Rousseau's criticism of "modern liberalism and Enlightenment". Thus a contrast between "culture" and "civilization" is implied in these authors when not expressed as such. In the words of anthropologist E. B. Tylor, it is "that complex whole which includes knowledge, art, law and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society." Alternatively, in a contemporary variant, "Culture is defined as a social domain that emphasizes the practices and material expressions, over time, express the continuities and discontinuities of social meaning of a life held in common.
The Cambridge English Dictionary states that culture is "the way of life the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time." Terror management theory posits that culture is a series of activities and worldviews that provide humans with the basis for perceiving themselves as "person of worth within the world of meaning"—raising themselves above the physical aspects of existence, in order to deny the animal insignificance and death that Homo sapiens became aware of when they acquired a larger brain. The word is used in a general sense as the evolved ability to categorize and represent experiences with symbols and to act imaginatively and creatively; this ability arose with the evolution of behavioral modernity in humans around 50,000 years ago, is thought to be unique to humans, although some other species have demonstrated similar, though much less complex, abilities for social learning. It is used to denote the co
The Haida are one of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. Their national territories lie along the west coast of Canada and include parts of south east Alaska. Within Haida mythology, Raven is a central character, as he is for many of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, see Raven Tales. While described as a "trickster", Haidas believe Raven or Yáahl to be a complex reflection of one's own self. Raven can be a magician, a transformer, a potent creative force, ravenous debaucher but always a cultural hero, he is responsible for creating Haida Gwaii, releasing the sun from its tiny box and making the stars and the moon. In one story he released the first humans from a cockle shell on the beach. Raven stories on one level teach listeners how to live a good life, but by counterexample. Raven has been described as the greediest, most lecherous and mischievous creature known to the Haida, but at the same time Raven helps humans in our encounters with other supernatural beings.
Raven acquired such things as fresh water and the house for humans. Robert Bringhurst has noted that Raven never creates anything. Ta'xet and Tia are death gods among the Haida. Ta'xet rules violent death, while Tia rules peaceful death. Dzalarhons, a woman associated with frogs and volcanoes, her husband, arrived at the homeland of the Haida from the Pacific Ocean along with six canoes full of people. Gyhldeptis is a kindly forest goddess. Lagua is an invisible spirit. Shamans could speak with Lagua's voice by clenching their teeth. Sin is the sky chief deity; some of the mythology has been collected by poet Anne Cameron, who created interpretations for adults and children. Epic versions of the mythology by 19th century Haida storyteller-poets Skaay and Ghandl have been translated by Robert Bringhurst, whose Story as Sharp as a Knife, a collection of their works, won the Governor General's Award, his translations, are controversial in Haida circles and some have charged him with cultural appropriation.
Raven Tales Native Languages of the Americas: Haida Indian Legends, native-languages.org
Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans. Stories of everyday human beings, although of leaders of some type, are contained in legends, as opposed to myths. Myths are endorsed by rulers and priests or priestesses, are linked to religion or spirituality. In fact, many societies group their myths and history together, considering myths and legends to be true accounts of their remote past. In particular, creation myths take place in a primordial age when the world had not achieved its form. Other myths explain how a society's customs and taboos were established and sanctified. There is a complex relationship between recital of myths and enactment of rituals; the study of myth began in ancient history. Rival classes of the Greek myths by Euhemerus and Sallustius were developed by the Neoplatonists and revived by Renaissance mythographers.
Today, the study of myth continues in a wide variety of academic fields, including folklore studies and psychology. The term mythology may either refer to the study of myths in general, or a body of myths regarding a particular subject; the academic comparisons of bodies of myth is known as comparative mythology. Since the term myth is used to imply that a story is not objectively true, the identification of a narrative as a myth can be political: many adherents of religions view their religion's stories as true and therefore object to the stories being characterised as myths. Scholars now speak of Christian mythology, Jewish mythology, Islamic mythology, Hindu mythology, so forth. Traditionally, Western scholarship, with its Judaeo-Christian heritage, has viewed narratives in the Abrahamic religions as being the province of theology rather than mythology. Labelling all religious narratives as myths can be thought of as treating different traditions with parity. Definitions of myth to some extent vary by scholar.
Finnish folklorist Lauri Honko offers a cited definition: Myth, a story of the gods, a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the gods as a result of which the world and culture were created together with all parts thereof and given their order, which still obtains. A myth expresses and confirms society's religious values and norms, it provides a pattern of behavior to be imitated, testifies to the efficacy of ritual with its practical ends and establishes the sanctity of cult. Scholars in other fields use the term myth in varied ways. In a broad sense, the word can refer to any traditional story, popular misconception or imaginary entity. However, while myth and other folklore genres may overlap, myth is thought to differ from genres such as legend and folktale in that neither are considered to be sacred narratives; some kinds of folktales, such as fairy stories, are not considered true by anyone, may be seen as distinct from myths for this reason.
Main characters in myths are gods, demigods or supernatural humans, while legends feature humans as their main characters. However, many exceptions or combinations exist, as in the Iliad and Aeneid. Moreover, as stories spread between cultures or as faiths change, myths can come to be considered folktales, their divine characters recast as either as humans or demihumans such as giants and faeries. Conversely and literary material may acquire mythological qualities over time. For example, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, seem distantly to originate in historical events of the fifth and eighth-centuries and became mythologised over the following centuries. In colloquial use, the word myth can be used of a collectively held belief that has no basis in fact, or any false story; this usage, pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. However, as used by folklorists and academics in other relevant fields, such as anthropology, the term myth has no implication whether the narrative may be understood as true or otherwise.
In present use, mythology refers to the collected myths of a group of people, but may mean the study of such myths. For example, Greek mythology, Roman mythology and Hittite mythology all describe the body of myths retold among those cultures. Folklorist Alan Dundes defines myth as a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity evolved into their present form. Dundes classified a sacred narrative as "a story that serves to define the fundamental worldview of a culture by explaining aspects of the natural world and delineating the psychological and social practices and ideals of a society". Anthropologist Bruce Lincoln defines myth as "ideology in narrative form." The compilation or description of myths is sometimes known as mythography, a term which can be used of a scholarly anthology of myths. Key mythographers in the Classical tradition include Ovid, whose tellings of myths have been profoundingly influential.
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants. Although some indigenous peoples of the Americas were traditionally hunter-gatherers—and many in the Amazon basin, still are—many groups practiced aquaculture and agriculture; the impact of their agricultural endowment to the world is a testament to their time and work in reshaping and cultivating the flora indigenous to the Americas. Although some societies depended on agriculture, others practiced a mix of farming and gathering. In some regions the indigenous peoples created monumental architecture, large-scale organized cities, city-states, states and empires. Among these are the Aztec and Maya states that until the 16th century were among the most politically and advanced nations in the world, they had a vast knowledge of engineering, mathematics, writing, medicine and irrigation, mining and goldsmithing. Many parts of the Americas are still populated by indigenous peoples.
At least a thousand different indigenous languages are spoken in the Americas. Some, such as the Quechuan languages, Guaraní, Mayan languages and Nahuatl, count their speakers in millions. Many maintain aspects of indigenous cultural practices to varying degrees, including religion, social organization and subsistence practices. Like most cultures, over time, cultures specific to many indigenous peoples have evolved to incorporate traditional aspects but cater to modern needs; some indigenous peoples still live in relative isolation from Western culture and a few are still counted as uncontacted peoples. Indigenous peoples of the United States are known as Native Americans or American Indians and Alaska Natives. Application of the term "Indian" originated with Christopher Columbus, who, in his search for India, thought that he had arrived in the East Indies; those islands came to be known as the "West Indies", a name still used. This led to the blanket term "Indies" and "Indians" for the indigenous inhabitants, which implied some kind of racial or cultural unity among the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
This unifying concept, codified in law and politics, was not accepted by the myriad groups of indigenous peoples themselves, but has since been embraced or tolerated, by many over the last two centuries. Though the term "Indian" does not include the culturally and linguistically distinct indigenous peoples of the Arctic regions of the Americas—such as the Aleuts, Inuit or Yupik peoples, who entered the continent as a second more recent wave of migration several thousand years before and have much more recent genetic and cultural commonalities with the aboriginal peoples of the Asiatic Arctic Russian Far East—these groups are nonetheless considered "indigenous peoples of the Americas". Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, which includes not only First Nations and Arctic Inuit, but the minority population of First Nations-European mixed race Métis people who identify culturally and ethnically with indigenous peoplehood; this is contrasted, for instance, to the American Indian-European mixed race mestizos of Hispanic America who, with their larger population, identify as a new ethnic group distinct from both Europeans and Indigenous Americans, but still considering themselves a subset of the European-derived Hispanic or Brazilian peoplehood in culture and ethnicity.
The term Amerindian and its cognates find preferred use in scientific contexts and in Quebec, the Guianas and the English-speaking Caribbean. Indígenas or pueblos indígenas is a common term in Spanish-speaking countries and pueblos nativos or nativos may be heard, while aborigen is used in Argentina and pueblos originarios is common in Chile. In Brazil, indígenas or povos indígenas are common if formal-sounding designations, while índio is still the more often-heard term and aborígene and nativo being used in Amerindian-specific contexts; the Spanish and Portuguese equivalents to Indian could be used to mean any hunter-gatherer or full-blooded Indigenous person to continents other than Europe or Africa—for example, indios filipinos. The specifics of Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the exact dates and routes traveled, are the subject of ongoing research and discussion. According to archaeological and genetic evidence and South America were the last continents in the world to gain human habitation.
During the Wisconsin glaciation, 50–17,000 years ago, falling sea levels allowed people to move across the land bridge of Beringia that joined Siberia to northwest North America. Alaska was a glacial refugium; the Laurentide Ice Sheet covered most of North America, blocking nomadic inhabitants and confining them to Alaska for thousands of years. Indigenous genetic studies suggest that the first inhabitants of the Americas share a single ancestral population, one that developed in isolation, conjectured to be Beringia; the isolat
In mythology, in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a character in a story, which exhibits a great degree of intellect or secret knowledge, uses it to play tricks or otherwise disobey normal rules and conventional behaviour. Tricksters are archetypal characters. Lewis Hyde describes the trickster as a "boundary-crosser"; the trickster crosses and breaks both physical and societal rules. Tricksters "...violate principles of social and natural order, playfully disrupting normal life and re-establishing it on a new basis."Often, the bending/breaking of rules takes the form of tricks or thievery. Tricksters can be foolish or both; the trickster questions and mocks authority. They are male characters, are fond of breaking rules and playing tricks on both humans and gods. All cultures have tales of the trickster, a crafty creature who uses cunning to get food, steal precious possessions, or cause mischief. In some Greek myths Hermes plays the trickster, he is the patron of thieves and the inventor of lying, a gift he passed on to Autolycus, who in turn passed it on to Odysseus.
In Slavic folktales, the trickster and the culture hero are combined. The trickster figure exhibits gender and form variability. In Norse mythology the mischief-maker is Loki, a shape shifter. Loki exhibits gender variability, in one case becoming pregnant, he becomes a mare who gives birth to Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir. British scholar Evan Brown suggested that Jacob in the Bible has many of the characteristics of the trickster:The tricks Jacob plays on his twin brother Esau, his father Isaac and his father-in-law Laban are immoral by conventional standards, designed to cheat other people and gain material and social advantages he is not entitled to; the Biblical narrative takes Jacob's side and the reader is invited to laugh and admire Jacob's ingenuity–as is the case with the tricksters of other cultures". In a wide variety of African language communities, the rabbit, or hare, is the trickster. In West Africa, the spider is the trickster; the trickster or clown is an example of a Jungian archetype.
In modern literature the trickster survives as a character archetype, not supernatural or divine, sometimes no more than a stock character. Too, the trickster is distinct in a story by his acting as a sort of catalyst, in that his antics are the cause of other characters' discomfiture, but he himself is left untouched. A once-famous example of this was the character Froggy the Gremlin on the early children's television show "Andy's Gang". A cigar-puffing puppet, Froggy induced the adult humans around him to engage in ridiculous and self-destructive hi-jinks. In folklore, the trickster/clown is incarnated as a clever, mischievous man or creature, who tries to survive the dangers and challenges of the world using trickery and deceit as a defense, he is known for entertaining people as a clown does. For example, many typical fairy tales have the king who wants to find the best groom for his daughter by ordering several trials. No brave and valiant prince or knight manages to win them, until a simple peasant comes.
With the help of his wits and cleverness, instead of fighting, he evades or fools monsters and villains and dangers with unorthodox manners. Therefore, the most unlikely candidate receives the reward. More modern and obvious examples of that type include Pippi Longstocking. Modern African American literary criticism has turned the trickster figure into an example of how it is possible to overcome a system of oppression from within. For years, African American literature was discounted by the greater community of American literary criticism while its authors were still obligated to use the language and the rhetoric of the system that relegated African Americans and other minorities to the ostracized position of the cultural "other." The central question became one of how to overcome this system when the only words available were created and defined by the oppressors. As Audre Lorde explained, the problem was that "the master's tools never dismantle the master's house."In his writings of the late 1980s, Henry Louis Gates Jr. presents the concept of Signifyin'.
Wound up in this theory is the idea that the "master's house" can be "dismantled" using his "tools" if the tools are used in a new or unconventional way. To demonstrate this process, Gates cites the interactions found in African American narrative poetry between the trickster, the Signifying Monkey, his oppressor, the Lion. According to Gates, the "Signifying Monkey" is the "New World figuration" and "functional equivalent" of the Eshu trickster figure of African Yoruba mythology; the Lion functions as the authoritative figure in his classical role of "King of the Jungle." He is the one. Yet the Monkey is able to outwit the Lion continually in these narratives through his usage of figurative language. According to Gates, "he Signifying Monkey is able to signify upon the Lion because the Lion does not understand the Monkey's discourse…The monkey speaks figuratively, in a symbolic code. In this way, the Monkey uses the same language as the Lion, but he uses it on a level that the Lion cannot comprehend.
This leads to the Lion's "trounc" at the hands of a third party, the Elephant. The net effect of all of this is "the reversal of status as the King of the Jungle." In this way, the "
The coyote, Canis latrans, is a canine native to North America. It is smaller than its close relative, the gray wolf, smaller than the related eastern wolf and red wolf, it fills much of the same ecological niche as the golden jackal does in Eurasia, though it is larger and more predatory, is sometimes called the American jackal by zoologists. The coyote is listed as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to its wide distribution and abundance throughout North America, southwards through Mexico, into Central America; the species is able to adapt to and expand into environments modified by humans. It is enlarging its range, with coyotes moving into urban areas in the Eastern U. S. and was sighted in eastern Panama for the first time in 2013. As of 2005, 19 coyote subspecies are recognized; the average male weighs the average female 7 to 18 kg. Their fur color is predominantly light gray and red or fulvous interspersed with black and white, though it varies somewhat with geography.
It is flexible in social organization, living either in a family unit or in loosely knit packs of unrelated individuals. It has a varied diet consisting of animal meat, including deer, hares, birds, amphibians and invertebrates, though it may eat fruits and vegetables on occasion, its characteristic vocalization is a howl made by solitary individuals. Humans are the coyote's greatest threat, followed by gray wolves. In spite of this, coyotes sometimes mate with gray, eastern, or red wolves, producing "coywolf" hybrids. In the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, the eastern coyote is the result of various historical and recent matings with various types of wolves. Genetic studies show that most North American wolves contain some level of coyote DNA; the coyote is a prominent character in Native American folklore in the Southwestern United States and Mexico depicted as a trickster that alternately assumes the form of an actual coyote or a man. As with other trickster figures, the coyote uses deception and humor to rebel against social conventions.
The animal was respected in Mesoamerican cosmology as a symbol of military might. After the European colonization of the Americas, it was reviled in Anglo-American culture as a cowardly and untrustworthy animal. Unlike wolves, which have undergone an improvement of their public image, attitudes towards the coyote remain negative. Coyote males average 8 to 20 kg in weight, while females average 7 to 18 kg, though size varies geographically. Northern subspecies, which average 18 kg, tend to grow larger than the southern subspecies of Mexico, which average 11.5 kg. Body length ranges on average from 1.0 to 1.35 m, tail length 40 cm, with females being shorter in both body length and height. The largest coyote on record was a male killed near Afton, Wyoming, on November 19, 1937, which measured 1.5 m from nose to tail, weighed 34 kg. Scent glands are a bluish-black color; the color and texture of the coyote's fur varies somewhat geographically. The hair's predominant color is light gray and red or fulvous, interspersed around the body with black and white.
Coyotes living at high elevations tend to have more black and gray shades than their desert-dwelling counterparts, which are more fulvous or whitish-gray. The coyote's fur consists of soft underfur and long, coarse guard hairs; the fur of northern subspecies is longer and denser than in southern forms, with the fur of some Mexican and Central American forms being hispid. Adult coyotes have a sable coat color, dark neonatal coat color, bushy tail with an active supracaudal gland, a white facial mask. Albinism is rare in coyotes; the coyote is smaller than the gray wolf, but has longer ears and a larger braincase, as well as a thinner frame and muzzle. The scent glands are the same color, its fur color variation is much less varied than that of a wolf. The coyote carries its tail downwards when running or walking, rather than horizontally as the wolf does. Coyote tracks can be distinguished from those of dogs by less rounded shape. Unlike dogs, the upper canines of coyotes extend past the mental foramina.
At the time of the European colonization of the Americas, coyotes were confined to open plains and arid regions of the western half of the continent. In early post-Columbian historical records, distinguishing between coyotes and wolves is difficult. One record from 1750 in Kaskaskia, written by a local priest, noted that the "wolves" encountered there were smaller and less daring than European wolves. Another account from the early 1800s in Edwards County mentioned wolves howling at night, though these were coyotes; this species was encountered several times during the Lewis and Clark Expedition, though it was well known to European traders on the upper Missouri. Lewis, writing on 5 May 1805, in northeastern Montana, described the coyote in these terms: The small woolf or burrowing dog of the prairies are the inhabitants invariably of the open plains.
A raven is one of several larger-bodied species of the genus Corvus. These species do not form a single taxonomic group within the genus. There is no consistent distinction between "crows" and "ravens", these appellations have been assigned to different species chiefly on the basis of their size, crows being smaller than ravens; the largest raven species are the thick-billed raven. The term "raven" referred to the common raven, the type species of the genus Corvus, which has a larger distribution than any other species of Corvus, ranging over much of the Northern Hemisphere; the modern English word raven has cognates in all other Germanic languages, including Old Norse hrafn and Old High German raban, all of which descend from Proto-Germanic *hrabanaz. Collective nouns for a group of ravens include "unkindness", "treachery", "conspiracy". In practice, most people use the more generic "flock". Corvus albicollis – white-necked raven Corvus corax – common raven Corvus coronoides – Australian raven Corvus crassirostris – thick-billed raven Corvus cryptoleucus – Chihuahuan raven Corvus mellori – little raven Corvus rhipidurus – fan-tailed raven Corvus ruficollis – brown-necked raven Corvus tasmanicus – forest raven †Corvus moriorum – Chatham raven †Corvus antipodum – New Zealand raven †Corvus corax varius morpha leucophaeus – pied raven Cultural depictions of ravens Ravens of the Tower of London Raven videos on the Internet Bird Collection North American ravens on eNature