Awendela(Morning) Ma'i (Coyote)
A Coyote Pauses briefly for a stunning portrait in the morning
It is important to mention that this photo was taken from a vehicle parked on the side of the road. On foot, being this close to wildlife in Yellowstone is illegal. I am about 10 feet away from this Coyote who so happened to pass my car and stop briefly for this shot.
Attached to the Coyote is a radio collar, Yellowstone is a unique research opportunity because it is a fully functioning ecosystem where the animals are protected from hunting by mankind.
Coyotes behave differently in the park than they do outside of the park. Within the park the animals are diurnal which means they can be active at all times of day. Outside of the park coyotes tend to be primarily nocturnal, though you may see them fleeing your location if you sneak up on there hide out for the day.
Since the beginning of the westward expansion a war has been waged on the Coyotes, thousands of them yearly are killed by hunters and government agencies. The same war that eliminated the Wolf has been waged on the coyote. But where the wolf failed and was nearly driven to extinction the coyote has thrived.
Indian Lore, has many versions of the coyotes role with the earth but all are very high tasks. The coyote is known as the trickster. To many he is also responsible for bringing mankind to this earth. His role is often that of a mischievous, but helpful ally to the human race.
Here is one legend summarized of the Coyote. A long, long time ago, people did not yet inhabit the earth. A monster walked upon the land, eating all the animals--except Coyote. Coyote was angry that his friends were gone. He climbed the tallest mountain and attached himself to the top. Coyote called upon the monster, challenging it to try to eat him. The monster sucked in the air, hoping to pull in Coyote with its powerful breath, but the ropes were too strong. The monster tried many other ways to blow Coyote off the mountain, but it was no use.
Realizing that Coyote was sly and clever, the monster thought of a new plan. It would befriend Coyote and invite him to stay in its home. Before the visit began, Coyote said that he wanted to visit his friends and asked if he could enter the monster's stomach to see them. The monster allowed this, and Coyote cut out its heart and set fire to its insides. His friends were freed.
Then Coyote decided to make a new animal. He flung pieces of the monster in the four directions; wherever the pieces landed, a new tribe of Indians emerged. He ran out of body parts before he could create a new human animal on the site where the monster had lain. He used the monster's blood, which was still on his hands, to create the Nez Percé, who would be strong and good.
Above all things though the Indians also recognized Ma'i as a survivor, many will say that his brother the fox has the power to bring him back from the dead.
To read a selection of more legends about the coyote and learn more about how Indians viewed the Coyote, or 'God's Dog", go to the following link.