Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History


| 6/27/2016 7:28:00 AM


Tags: coyotes, wildlife, predators, sustainable grazing, nature writing, Maine, Geri Vistein,

Two Coyotes In Winter

Understanding historical events, that have taken place on our American continent ever since our human species arrived, facilitates understanding of our perceptions and behavior of today. And one striking example of this is the dramatic change that took place in the life of our native wild dog: coyote.

In his newly published book, Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History, author Dan Flores wrote that Native Americans called coyote “Medicine wolf,” and they held coyote “in reverential awe.” He added: “Across the last 10,000 years, Coyote has been America’s Universal Deity.”

Why this reverence and respect? Well, Coyotes lived alongside Native Peoples who had numerous opportunities to observe the intelligence, behavior, and survival skills of this wild canine. They observed them survive against all odds; they observed their resilience and delight in being alive.

Our Native Peoples somehow intuitively understood coyote’s unique ability as a wild canine to live alongside them and be at ease in doing so. Both were at ease in this relationship.

Then 500+ years ago, enter the Europeans, replete with their own world view. As Coyote is unique to the North American continent, the Europeans who first came upon them did not quite know what to make of them. But with the invasion of millions and millions of non-native cows and sheep, and the carnage of Coyote’s native prey, coyote’s survival skills, once so revered by our Native Peoples, came into play once more.




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