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Coyote and Sheep from St George, Utah Area

Coyote from San Rafael Swell, Utah

Coyote in Kiva Mural from Pottery Mound, New Mexico

Coyote from Superstition Mts in Arizona

Coyote from Three Rivers, New Mexico

Coyote from Three Rivers, New Mexico

In native American culture, Coyote is one of the helpers in the Creation of the World. He is the symbol for the trickster and merrymaker.

Rock Art Coyote 9 Mile Canyon

Coyote from 9 Mile Canyon, courtesy Layne Miller

According to Native American legend, First Woman had a plan to write laws so that all human beings could see them and live in peace together. Using the stars from the blanket at her feet, she slowly recorded the laws by placing her stars across the dome of night. But First Woman was observed by Coyote, who offered to help her. Unfortunately, he lacked First Woman's patience. Picking up the blanket, Coyote impetuously flung the remaining stars into the heavens, and destroyed forever First Woman's dream of universal harmony. He hurled the stars up into the sky the sky in wild disorder, shattering First Woman's careful patterns,and left human beings forever in confusion about exactly what the laws may be.

How do we recognize Coyote when we see him on rock art panels? Look for feet that are flat, not ball shaped; a tail that is sometimes bushy and usually pointed down; and two long ears, frequently with one pointing forward, and one pointing backward - Coyote NEVER wants to miss anything!

The following is excerpted from Coyote's Canyon, by Terry Tempest Williams, Gibbs Smith Publisher; ISBN: 0879052457

The canyons of southern Utah are giving birth to a Coyote Clan – hundreds, maybe even thousands, of individuals who are quietly subversive on behalf of the land. And they are infiltrating our neighborhoods in the most respectable ways, with their long, bushy tails tucked discreetly inside their pants or beneath their skirts.

Members of the Clan are not easily identified, but there are clues. You can see it in their eyes. They are joyful and they are fierce. They can cry louder and laugh harder than anyone on the planet. And they have enormous range.

The Coyote Clan is a raucous bunch: they have drunk from desert potholes and belched forth toads. They tell stories with such virtuosity that you’ll swear you have been in the presence of preachers.

 Members of the Clan court risk and will dance on slickrock as flash floods erode the ground beneath their feet. It doesn’t matter. They understand the earth re-creates itself day after day.…….beauty is not found in the excessive, but in what is lean and spare and subtle."

Coyote's main purpose in life is to prevent us from taking life too seriously. Sometimes he likes to dress up and go out on the town with his bag of tricks. WATCH FOR HIM!! He may be someone you know!

 

Click here on the link to buy "Coyote's Canyon" and other wonderful books by Terry Tempest Williams!