First Advisor

Keith Walters

Date of Publication

Fall 12-12-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




Iktomi (Legendary character), Dakota Indians -- Folklore, Tricksters -- Great Plains -- Folklore, Characters and characteristics in literature -- Fiction



Physical Description

1 online resource (xiii, 253 p.) : ill.


This qualitative study comparing three separate English-language versions of a single Dakota cultural myth "Iktomi" presents a novel systematic approach for analyzing Native American folk tales to understand how stories function as tools of transmission of cultural information and knowledge. The method involved coding character traits according to type with regard to representation, ability, or attribute to ascertain patterns among the codes and elucidate character roles and relationships, reorganizing the coded traits into paired polarized correspondences to clarify relationships among traits, and assessing pronoun use and documenter effect pointing to gender-specific character activity. Findings revealed an encoded framework illuminating how the tale is used to represent progressive stages in the Dakota vision quest. Analysis using simple word counts of character traits produced emergent patterns disclosing a male-specific focus on character activities with additional evidence delineating a framework for the vision quest traditionally regarded tribally as a male rite of passage.


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