Cultural Expression of African and Native Americans

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Culture can be expressed in many ways throughout the various ethnic groups; whether it’s the way in which they dress, their religious beliefs, musical expression, food, writings, art…etc.Folklore and spirituality are vital forms of cultural expression because they have been a major part of survival, history, and cultural retention for many ethnic groups that have been controlled and persecuted by early Anglo settlers. This paper will discuss spirituality and folklore and how they have helped the Native Americans and African Americans retain their culture, and provide a basis for beliefs, history, and sometimes survival. The first part of this paper will mainly focus on the spirituality of the Native Americans, how their beliefs defined their people, and how taking away a piece of their spirituality could be detrimental to their retention of history and culture. The second part of this paper will discuss folklore, how it helped keep the African American hopes alive, and how it even helped them to escape slavery.
Spirituality and folklore can sometimes be intertwined through stories and beliefs which are at the heart of culture for many different groups. They can be expressed through stories, songs, poems and art. Most folklore was passed from generation to generation by stories that were told aloud, and never written down. Many of the stories were written down by white people who were intrigued by folklore and its means of communicating to members of the group. The first and most authentic volume of African American folklore was Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings by Joel Chandler Harris (Brewer 3). He was a plantation owner who was intrigued by the songs and tales that his slaves used to talk about. He listened to the elders say their stories and wrote them down, and eventually published them (3). Because many people became interested in folklore, we now can learn folklore from most, if not all, of the ethnic groups, and we c…