The Coyote and the Buffalo

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The Coyote and the Buffalo

The Coyote and the Buffalo

Summary of the TalePrior to the story, Buffalo Bull was killed by Young Buffalo, but comes back to and tries to kill Coyote for taunting his skull.Coyote quickly calls upon his spirit helper to save him, but has to use his own wit to save his life. Coyote offers to make Buffalo a new pair of horns so that Buffalo can seek revenge on Young Buffalo.After Buffalo Bull killed Young Buffalo, he rewarded Coyote with a cow that healed an infinite amount of times, as long as Coyote did not kill it.Selfishly, Coyote killed the cow but not without ramifications: crows and magpies quickly swarmed the carcass and ate all the meat; an old woman stole the bone marrow soup; the cow appeared back into the herd with Buffalo Bull and refused to go back with Coyote.

Background on the OkanoganThe Okanogan live in the Northwest in the Washington State/British Columbia, Canada area.In the past, each Okanagan band was led by a chief. The name comes from a place on the Okanogan River near Okanagan Falls; it is said to be headquarters of large band of tribe and also said to be place of origin for entire tribe. Each youth and young adult was not only trained in a special area, but they were also taught the lifestyle and laws of the community at large. The people of the tribe were taught to love, honor and respect each other’s roles and their own roles and taught the role of children, youth, adults, elders and as a man or women.Okanagan women gathered plants and herbs and and did most of the child care and cooking. Men were fishermen and hunters and sometimes went to war to protect their families. Both genders took part in storytelling, artwork and music, and traditional medicine.

ThemeOne should not be greedy for more if one already has enough. When Coyote gets the young cow from Buffalo Bull, he agrees to never kill the cow, only eat the fat. But after only a couple of days, Coyote killed the cow. After the cow was dead, Coyote was left with nothing because of the birds, old woman, and bone thief. So when Coyote went back to Buffalo Bull for another cow and was not given one, Coyote was left to find his own food, something he would not have had to do if he had not been greedy for more than he needed.Literary DevicesArchetype: The coyote, being a trickster, is an archetypal character - his character type can be found in other literary works such as other myths or animated cartoons.

““Buffalo Bull will never know,” Coyote told himself, and he took his young cow down beside a creek and killed her.” (lines 66-67)

“From this stump Coyote carved a pair of fine heavy horns with sharp points. He gave them to Buffalo Bull. All buffalo bulls have worn the same kind of horns since.” (lines 43-46)

“Coyote thought he might be able to get another cow from Buffalo Bull, so he set out to find him. When he came to the herd, he was astonished to see the cow he had killed ... She refused to go with Coyote again, and Buffalo Bull would not give him another cow. Coyote had to return to his own country without a buffalo. That is why there never have been any buffalo along the Swah-netk’-qhu.” (lines 89-91)

Photo Sources:top left: page 51 of the textbookcoyote top right: http://www.bluecoyotegaller top right: right: page 49 of the textbookbottom left:


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