Hello–I spent a lot of time watching (and helping)  my family do food demonstrations at the tribal resort.  They would blend legends together with explanations of food preparations and the role of food in American Indian culture.  coyoteThis blog is an opportunity for me to share my memories and how blessed I have been.  In my work I’ve traveled around the world, and experienced the kindness of indigenous people not only in Canada and the United States, but other countries as well, including Indonesia, Guam, Sai-Pan, and other places where Native culture (and food) is still strong.  One of my uncles used to jokingly refer to me in the Agency Longhouse as “that Coyote fella,” although my actual Sahaptin name is Xaiyama-yai Aswan, which roughly translates as “Spirit of the Golden Eagle Boy.”  I think it’s because years ago I was asked to give the opening address at an International Conference on Human Sexuality.  Our Clinical Director said at a staff meeting, “I’ve never heard you talk about sex before, but the other stuff you talk about is so interesting, I’m sure you can handle sex as well.”

I went to my mom and asked, “what should I tell all these White people who are coming from around the world about Indians and sex?

She said: “Go talk to your Uncle Rooster.”

And I did.  He looked at me and said–“Tell ’em about Coyote’s Growing Medicine.”

And so I did.  I also gifted a carved Coyote fetish to the organization, which I’m told is now passed from president to president along with the wooden gavel.

I’ll save Coyote’s  Growing Medicine for another time…

In the photo I’m holding a Coyote head dress I sometimes wear when I’m dancing at powwows.  If I’m going to be called “that Coyote fella” in the Longhouse, I might as well act like one…

But for now—

There’s a lovely Cherokee story that says a young man fell in love with a young woman.  But she was shy and pretended she didn’t notice his attention.  He prayed to the Creator for help, and the Creator took pity on him.  Wonderful red berries began to appear in front of the young woman.  She reached down  to pick their sweet brightness, and as she slowed down, the young man was able to catch up with her and let her know how much he cared for her.  This was the origin of the strawberry.  strawberry The “Virginia strawberry” of this story is Native to North America, and what most people these days know from the supermarket is a hybrid derived from the tasty berry. 


Doesn’t a bowl of fresh strawberries sound great about now?

6 Comments on “About”

  1. Travis K Says:

    Wow…I think what you are doing is great.

    • coyotecooks Says:

      Why thank you—there are just so many legends and so many foods–and so many bowls and plates to fill! There’s a quote that sometimes people need stories more than they need food…

  2. sweetnnekked Says:

    I ate strawberries this morning!

    • coyotecooks Says:

      A most excellent day sweetnnekked–a sweet and healthy way to start the morning–and now according to the legend, you should be expecting to find a guy to show up and tell you how much he admires you! (lol–maybe this legend is one the Strawberry industry needs to sell more berries)

  3. Kyla Davis Says:

    It is so great what you are doing. The ethnic food class must be great to teach kids tolerance for other people and acceptance.
    I found this site via Native recipes on yahoo.com groups.
    The stories are so great, I have been reading them to my youngest 7yr old. She loves them. Makes me wish I had listened better to my great Granny’s stories.
    So glad I found this site.


    • coyotecooks Says:

      I appreciate your kind words–and I hope your youngest enjoys hearing the stories as much as I did my first time around 🙂 I also want to emphasize how much I learned from others sharing their culture and culinary traditions. For example, my Chinese-American friend took us to an Asian Market in Seattle to show us a lot of items that aren’t found in more conventional American supermarkets…

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