A gentleman named David Eller once quoted, “Insularity is the foundation of ethnocentrism and intolerance; when you only know of those like yourself, it is easy to imagine that you are alone in the world or alone in being good and right in the world. Exposure to diversity, on the contrary, is the basis for relativism and tolerance; when you are forced to face and accept the other as real, unavoidable, and ultimately valuable, you cannot help but see yourself and your 'truths' in a new - and trouble - way.”To judge another culture based solely on the standards and/or values opposing to your own is a very complicated way of life. As far back as history dates, diverse societies have shunned others for the beliefs against their own. The many cultural ways of The Native Americans, greatly impact ethnocentrism and the oral literary tradition. During the Christopher Columbus’ era, around 1492, “Europeans spoke some two or three dozen languages, most of them closely related; and they were generally Christian in religious belief and worldview, although many groups had had contact, and conflict, with adherents of Judaism and Islam.

” (Baym et al. 7).Long before Native Americans were discovered, Europeans already had their own way of “thinking,” or in other terms, “oral interpretation. ” Relating to the ethnocentrism term, Europeans definitely felt superiority in their culture by having discovered their own oral literary traditions. As the Europeans approached what is now America, they learned that the Native Americans organized their societies in widely assorted forms, speaking hundreds of different languages.

“The Native Americans had a lively oral culture that valued memory over mechanical means of preserving texts, although among some groups, such as the Aztecs, written traditions existed (in North America these records included shell work belts and painted animal hides, tepees, and shields), and many more groups used visual records in subtle and sophisticated ways. ” (Baym et al. 11). Native Americans were extremely stubborn when it came to their language, after all, it made them distinct and diverse from anyone else.A certain group of Native Americans did not use a written alphabet, yet a different form of oral interpretation.

“Also unlike European cultures, Native Americans north of what is now Mexico did not use a written alphabet. Theirs were oral cultures, relying on spoken words-whether chanted, sung, or presented in lengthy narratives. ” (Baym et al. 7).

The many ways that the Native Americans represented their oral culture, tremendously differed from the European oral literary tradition.Native Americans, unlike Europeans, produced their own verbal expressions. The religious beliefs, and languages of the Native Americans were countless. “In Native America there were almost surely such things as Winnebago trickster tale cycles, Apache jokes, Hopi personal naming and grievance chants, Yaqui deer songs, Yuman dream songs, Piman shamanic chants, Iroquois condolence rituals, Navajo curing and blessing chants, and Chippewa songs of the Great Medicine Society, to name only some of the types of Native American verbal expression.” (Baym et al. 7).

From the early Colonial Period, to the early-nineteenth-century revolution when Romanticism was discovered, there was slight confusion and disagreement whether many Native American verbal types could be considered literary or not. “In that period the concept of literature shifted away from being defined by the medium of expression (all language preserved in letters) to the kind of expression (those texts that emphasized the imaginative and emotional possibilities of language). ” (Baym et al. 8).After the modification of the definition of literature, society now believed that many Native American verbal categories could be considered literary. Ethnocentrism; judging another culture solely by their values and standards, greatly impacted the many cultural ways of The Native Americans and their oral traditions.

As you can tell, there were significant language differences that the Native Americans had to offer, knowing the Europeans had not yet discovered them. After battling with society, the Native Americans finally get some respect from their different verbal categories, and are decided to actually be considered literary.