Old Man Coyote
Joseph Medicine Crow
The Crow Indians believed that the First Maker, when he created the human beings, gave the Crow Indians the propensity and the ability to understand the nature and the power of the First Maker, and he gave the Crow Indians the so-called vision quest experience to gain more knowledge of the power of the First Maker and his empowerment of the human being. So, with that in mind, I’ll always believe that I’m in a position to ask, to pray, supplicate and the First Maker will give me that power that I’d be strong, that I’ll be capable of doing things in the right and proper way.1
And at the same time, I believed in the Crow Indians’ concept of the First Maker through a teacher who was sent down here to teach the Crow Indian the good way of life, the good way of living in the sacred way. He was called Old Man Coyote. Old Man Coyote was a culture teacher. He was a good teacher. He would teach the people by doing something antisocial, doing something wrong, making a mistake. So, he would say to the people, “Don’t you do that now. You’ll get in trouble. I get in trouble all the time.” So, that was a good way of teaching people. That way it gets to them. They understand. Otherwise, “You do this. You do that. This is the good way,” they soon forget it.