Coyote and Raven: A Mandan Tale of the End of Creation

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Myth Crafts

Imagine this:

You’re a young hunter; you and your band scout for buffalo, and drive them into a coral, where you take them down.

The buffalo provides food, shelter and clothing.

The tribe uses every part. This is a sacred pact; an understanding between man and animal that nothing should go to waste out of respect for the life taken.

This is how your world works.

But one day, Raven flew over head. It shrieked:

“Get Bitter! Get Bitter!”.

From the day this started, the meat turned inedible when the Raven flew overhead.

Your people have started to starve.

And then Winter will come.

This spells certain death.

*

Among the Mandan* people of South Dakota (and formerly North Dakota), Coyote isn’t a trickster, the way he is in the stories of many other indigenous American tribes.

[*Mandan is a Europeanized name; they have many titles for themselves in their…

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