Friday, January 25, 2008

Coyote legend elevates wild creature to god

Many Native American tribes credit the coyote with helping God create the world and prepare it for the first people. Or, according to other's beliefs, the coyote performed the magic himself.

In the legends of many tribes, the coyote made the first humans from feathers, mud or straw.

The Zuni believed that the coyote taught man to hunt, the Sioux that the coyote taught humans the use of medicinal plants; the Shasta and others believe the coyote gave man fire, the Kutenai that the coyote divided the day into equal parts of light and darkness.

To the Indians, "Old Man Coyote" was, in turn, creator, transformer, trickster.

As transformer, the coyote was said to have altered the course of rivers, moved mountains and dried up lakes, correcting mistakes made when Earth was created.

In the belief of the Navajo and the Hopi, the coyote changed the course of the sun and removed all but one moon from the evening sky, rearranged the stars and scattered the seeds of plants all over the countryside...

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Coyote legend elevates wild creature to god

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