Early encounters by Westerners with Indian cultures led to numerous misconceptions about Native American oral traditions. Most Native American literatures, before European contact, belonged to the oral tradition. Works were originally conceived for dramatic presentation, often with music and dance, and as lyrics to songs, rather than as texts for the printed page. Some tribes made pictographic records, but this was not typical. Western readers, with the expectations of readers of printed works, erroneously concluded that Indian literature, which featured the...
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