Forrest Carter’s The Education of Little Tree (ELT) was published as a memoir in 1976. Carter died in 1979, but his book gained in popularity, to win the American Booksellers Association Book of the Year award in 1991 and became a national best seller. The book explores the significance of nature and animals in a traditional Native American worldview, even as it espouses ecological consciousness via the education of Little Tree by his Cherokee grandparents. The Education of Little Tree has much to offer in its presentation of a Native American philosophy of life that includes caring for the earth and its creatures as well as other people, regardless of their skin color or ethnicity. This article aims to examine the ecological values portrayed by the traditional Cherokee way of life as presented in The Education of Little Tree.
Cite this paper
Chang, L. (2014) The Significance of the Natural World in The Education of Little Tree. Advances in Literary Study
, 58-65. doi: 10.4236/als.2014.22010
 Aftandilian, D. (2010). Animals Are People, Too: Ethical Lessons about Animals from Native American Sacred Stories. Interdisciplinary Humanities, 27, 79-98.
 Bruce, D. (2008). Forrest Carter’s “The Education of Little Tree”: A Discussion Guide. Athens, Ohio: The Author.
 Carter, F. (2001/1976). The Education of Little Tree. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico.
 Cornell, G. L. (1985). The Influence of Native Americans on Modern Conservationists. Environmental Review, 9, 104-127.
 Deloria, Jr., V. (1970). We Talk, You Listen: New Tribes, New Turf. New York: Macmillan.
 Devall, B., & Sessions, G. (1985). Deep Ecology. Salt Lake City, Utah: Gibbs. M. Smith.
 Fox, M. (1976). Between Animal and Man: The Key to the Kingdom. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc.
 Gates Jr., H. L. (1991). Authenticity, or the Lesson of Little Tree. New York Times Book Review, 24 Nov.: Sec 7, p. 1.
 Grinde Jr., D. A., & Johansen, B. E. (1995). Ecocide of Native America: Environmental Destruction of Indian Lands and Peoples. Santa Fe: Clear Light Publishers.
 Harvey, K. D. (1991). Vanished Americans. Social Education, 132-133.
 Perdue, T. (1989). The Cherokee. New York: Chelsea House Publishers.
 Roche, J. (1999). Asa/Forrest Carter and Regional/Political Identity. In P. D. Dillard, & R. L. Hall (Eds.), The Southern Albatross: Race and Ethnicity in the American South (pp. 235-274). Georgia: Mercer University Press.
 Stewart, M. P. (2002). The Color of Their Skin? Quality Native American Children’s Literature. MELUS, 27, 179-196.
 Taylor, B. (2005). Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature. London & New York: Continuum.
 Weaver, J. (1996). Introduction. In J. Weaver (Ed.), Defending Mother Earth: Native American Perspectives on Environmental Justice (pp. 1-26). New York: Orbis.