ELA 4: The Elk Hunters

Today we're learning about a Native American myth about some elk hunters and sky raising. We're glad the sky is up where it belongs now. We've always wanted to be stars but....not like that.

4th GradeLanguage Arts
Elementary and Middle School4th Grade

Transcript

00:26

…Yeah, we wish it was a box of kittens too, but trust us, this is almost as good.

00:30

The story begins as many stories do - with the Creator making the world. [Earth spinning]

00:34

He started in the East and then went West, giving a different language to each people

00:39

he came across.

00:40

When he reached Puget Sound, which is in the present-day state of Washington, he liked [Man hovering over coastline]

00:44

it so much that he decided to scatter many, many different languages across it.

00:48

That’s why there are so many different Native American languages spoken there.

00:52

Because we all know when you love something, you give it a bunch of different languages [Box of books in different languages]

00:56

…No?

00:57

You don't do that?

00:58

Well that explains why no one ever likes our presents… [Person puts books in the trash can]

01:00

But there was a problem with the Creator's gift of languages.

01:03

See, there were a ton of different people living close together who had no way to talk

01:07

with one another.

01:08

It'd be like living between someone who speaks Japanese and someone who speaks French.

01:12

Sure it sounds cool, but you'd never know if they were asking to borrow a cup of sugar, [Man stood in the middle of foreign neighbors]

01:16

or telling you your house is on fire…

01:18

Anyway, back to the story…all of these people shared a little problem: the Creator had made

01:23

the sky too low, and as a result, they were all bumping their heads on it!

01:27

Tall people will know how terrible that is.

01:29

Short people – use your imaginations. [Woman bouncing up and down]

01:32

So the wise people of every tribe came together to have a meeting to fix the problem. [Tribe people gather round campfire]

01:37

And though they couldn’t speak with each other, they managed to decide upon one word

01:41

that they could all share.

01:42

This word was “Ya-hoh” and it would act as a signal for everyone to push the sky up

01:47

together at the same time.

01:49

So they all went back to their tribes and with everyone working together, they shouted

01:52

“Ya-hoh!” and pushed the sky up. [Tribesmen shouting Ya-hoh]

01:55

That really gives a different meaning to the phrase “raise the roof," huh?

01:58

All the different peoples pushed.

02:00

Even the animals and birds and trees joined in. It was quite a party. [Hands pushing up the sky]

02:03

They pushed and pushed and pushed and….

02:05

….the sky moved upwards!

02:06

We know this sounds like a happy ending, but hold your horses – we’re not done quite yet. [Mother reading story to girl]

02:11

You see, there were three hunters that didn't get the message about the day of the big sky push.

02:15

So instead of helping to push the sky, they were out chasing four elks. [Tribe people chasing Elks]

02:19

The hunters had chased the elks way up high, right up to the point where the earth and

02:23

the sky met.

02:24

And so, when the sky was finally pushed up, the three hunters and four elks got trapped

02:29

on the sky side and entered the Sky World. [Tribesmen and elk in the sky]

02:31

Which, trust us, is not quite as fun as Disney World.

02:34

It doesn't even have churros.

02:36

Anyway, this transformed the three hunters and four elks into stars, and they remain

02:41

there in the sky in the form of the Big Dipper. [Big Dipper in the sky]

02:43

So now that we know the story, we should probably figure out what it all means.

02:47

Or more specifically, “What elements of this story make it a myth?”

02:50

Well, we know that myths are stories, and this is definitely a story, so that fits the bill.

02:55

But, more importantly, myths help us learn about the world.

02:58

They explain things to us. [Coop explaining myths]

03:00

So what do we see in this story that we recognize from the world we live in today?

03:04

Well for starters, it explains language.

03:06

It tells us that the creator made the earth and gave each different group of people a

03:10

different language. [Creator dropping languages]

03:11

It also explains the origin of the Big Dipper by saying that the three hunters and four

03:14

elks got trapped in the sky and turned into stars.

03:18

And what about theme?

03:19

What sort of moral or lesson can we gather from this myth?

03:22

Well, seeing as the story is all about many different people with different languages [Tribesmen round a campfire]

03:25

coming together to work towards the common goal of pushing up the sky, we could say that

03:30

theme of the myth is “teamwork.”

03:32

When people set aside their differences and work together, anything is possible – even [Hands lifting the sky]

03:36

lifting the sky.

03:37

…okay, so maybe we can't lift the sky, but whatever.

03:40

You get the point.

03:41

Anyway, the next time you read or hear a myth, you can ask yourself these same questions:

03:46

what makes it a myth?

03:47

What does it explain about the world around us?

03:49

What’s the myth's theme? [Questions appear]

03:51

And while you're at it, maybe learn the phrase, "your house is on fire," in different languages…that [Man with house on fire and fire engine appears]

03:56

sure would've saved us a lot of sugar over the years.