“Coyote and the Buffalo” an Okanogan Folk Tale


“Coyote and the Buffalo” an Okanogan Folk Tale

“Coyote and the Buffalo”

General Background

 This story comes from the Okanogan people of north central

Washington State and southern British Columbia.

 This particular story was also part of the oral tradition, just like the last tale we read, “The World on the Turtle’s Back”.

 This particular story tells the history of the Animal People, “a race of supernatural beings believed to have been the first inhabitants of the world” (Language of Literature 39). These Animal People had magical

powers and could change their shape.

 The Coyote is one of the most important of the Animal People and is central to many stories. What qualities/characteristics do we often associate with coyotes?

Important Literary Terms

Folk Tale: stories handed down, usually by word of mouth, from generation to generation.

Trickster Tale: folk tales that feature an animal or human character who engages in deceit, violence, and magic.

Often trickster tales are mythic, explaining features of the world.

Archetype: A recurring symbol, motif, or character that represents universal patterns of human nature.

A Few Archetypes

Trickster archetype: breaks the rules of the gods either maliciously, or with some kind of positive effects. They are often a mixture of good and bad.

 Examples: Loki, Prometheus, the coyote

Hero archetype: A larger-than-life character, usually connected to supernatural, who often goes on a quest to complete a task

 Examples: Thor, Beowulf, Luke Skywalker

Villain archetype: Basically opposite the hero; evil, deceitful, seeks to cause harm.

 Examples: Darth Vader, Grendel, any Disney bad guy