The legend of Devil's Tower is important as it shows the deep connection that the Kiowa have to their natural surroundings. To most people outside the tribe, Devil's Tower may just look like a strange, gigantic stone formation. But to the Kiowa, it's imbued with deep cultural and spiritual significance.
According to legend, Devil's Tower was formed when a child turned into a bear and chased his sisters into a tree. The tree ascended to the sky while the bear scratched away at its trunk. The legend—as recounted by Momaday's grandmother—illustrates how the environment acts on the Kiowa, how it joins them to the land, blurring the distinction between the human and the natural world.
In the modern world, we tend to look at nature as an object radically apart from...
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