Coyote the Trickster and Teacher

Coyote is a very important character to the Native people on the West Coast, the Great Basin area, and the Northwest Plateau. Coyote often takes on the persona of Coyote the Trickster, but Coyote can take on many other forms as well. He is, after all, a trickster! Sometimes Coyote teaches humans in ways that portray him as a fairly bad character, and at other times he takes on the form of a very decent and likable fellow.

Just about all the art I create is based on the traditional arts of my ancestors and on the legends that have been handed down by my people from generation to generation. Coyote the Trickster legends are chief among them.

My goal is to make the characters in these legends come alive and to make the images they incorporated into their arts appeal to contemporary tastes.

So my art features the Creator’s right-hand man Coyote the Trickster, who helped the Creator make the world and helped the Creator teach people about the way things should be. And my art features a host of other characters and stories as well, including She Who Watches, the Huckleberry Sisters, Salmon, Eagle and Owl … and many more.

My intention is always to honor the stories of my ancestors, as well as to educate and entertain people, just as the stories of my ancestors have done for so many thousands of years.

—Lillian Pitt