Denys Branham Storytelling, SLIS 5400 December 5, 2002
Coyote Myth Tales
Description of the research project: During an online chat with students in the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Sciences, Dr. Barre Toelken described the Coyote of Native American tales this way, “Coyote is a kind of character we seldom find in our culture. He is believed to be sacred (he often creates plants, places, the stars, teaches animals how to behave etc.) and at the same time he is extremely secular (he is underfed, oversexed, selfish, arrogant, pushy, competitive), in short all the things native people are supposed to be.” The Coyote character takes many forms in the stories within each tribe, but the character changed even more dramatically as the stories traveled over time to different regions and new generations. He is a fascinating character with a special aura about him that brings to mind Greek gods with their human frailties. This project will explore the character of Coyote and the cultural meaning attached to Coyote in examples of these stories. The morphology of the Coyote stories will be analyzed as well.
Purpose of the research project: This is a research paper using a selection of Native American Coyote Tales from Mexico and the United States. The stories have been chose to provide a representation of the different stories told in different times and places. The purpose of this paper is to provide background knowledge for librarians or teachers preparing units of study on Native Americans.
Location of items used in this project: Materials were gathered from the Castañeda Elementary School Library, the McAllen Public Library, and the library at the University of Texas Pan American.