Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

A wealth of stories and writings originated from the arrival of European strangers to North America, specifically the moments of “first contact,” when Indigenous people and newcomers encountered each other for the first time. First contacts were moments of danger and possibility, without shared understandings or common language. As literature and mythology, the narratives are potent with symbol and metaphor, mystery and possibility. As history, they have tremendous power, even though mediated, edited, and retold from different perspectives. Whether preserved in writing by Europeans, or in oral tradition by Indigenous peoples, the stories have been subject to change over time, reflecting their transmission as culturally constructed discourses, shaped by multiple and shifting motivations and purposes. Yet the narratives have survived, and when collected and compared, communicate much about these seminal events and their meanings.

Keywords: Indigenous peoples, North America, first contact, Indigenous narratives, mythology

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.