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Legendary Native American Figures: Coyote (West Coast and Northwestern)

Name: Coyote (West Coast and Northwestern)
Tribal affiliation: Alsea, Coos, Miwok, Bannock, Shoshone, Northern Paiute
Native names: Yelis (Coos); Ja'mul (Achumawi), Mo'luptsini'sla (Alsea); Ispilyay (Cayuse); Itsappa, Itsappe, Izabui, Isapaippi, Isapaippu, Isa'opaippeh, Itsappu, Isappu (Shoshone-Bannock-Paiute); Sinawavi (Chemehuevi); Talapus (Chinook)
Type: Coyote spirit, trickster, transformer, Creator
Related figures in other tribes: Coyote (Southwest), Coyote (Plains), Chirich (Arikara)

On the West Coast, the Great Basin, and the northwest Plateau, Coyote tends to be a more serious mythological figure than he is further to the south. Though he still plays the role of the trickster in many northwestern stories, Coyote is also viewed as a respected benefactor of humans, responsible for such important deeds as bringing fire to the people, teaching them the arts of civilization, and helping to shape the world for their benefit. Among the Shoshone, Bannock, and Paiute tribes, Coyote is the younger brother of the respected creator god Esa (Wolf), and although he is an irresponsible and socially inappropriate character, he also assists his brother in his important tasks. In some California tribes Coyote is the creator of humanity or even the world, often in cooperation with other divine animal spirits. In the folklore of other California tribes Coyote acts as a more malevolent force of nature bringing danger and destruction to other characters.

Northwestern Coyote Stories

*Achomawi Creation Myth:
    The story of the creation of the world by Silver-Fox and Coyote.
*Coyote and Cloud:
    Achumawi legend of a race between Coyote and a cloud.
*Coyote and Silver-Fox:
    Atsugewi myth about the creation of the world and the relationship between Coyote and Silver Fox.
Silver-Fox and Coyote:
    Achumawi myth about Silver-Fox creating people and Coyote trying to imitate him.
*Spider Woman and Coyote:
    Achumawi story about the animals working together to end winter.
*The Monster Who Came Up The River:
    Cayuse legend about Coyote using his cleverness to slay a monster that was causing a famine.

Recommended Books of Related Native American Legends

A Salish Coyote Story: Beaver Steals Fire:
    Traditional Coyote folklore about the origin of fire, presented by the Salish and Kootenai tribes.
Coyote Places the Stars:
    Children's picture book based on a Western Native American legend about Coyote arranging the stars in the sky.
Coyote Stories:
    A great collection of Salishan Coyote stories told by an Okanagan author.
Coyote Was Going There: Indian Literature of the Oregon Country:
    Excellent collection of folklore from the Oregon tribes.
Surviving Through the Days: Translations of Native California Stories and Songs:
    Anthology of myths and traditional literature from the California Indian tribes.

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Additional Resources

 Alsea language
 Miwok language
 Miwok words
 California Indians
 Oregon Indians
 Northwest Coast Native Americans



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