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North American Indian and Native Hawaiian Quilt Collection

Coyote Helps to Create the Night Sky
Pat Courtney Gold
Wasco, Warm Springs, Oregon
Cotton with polyester filling
46 1/4" x 39”
MSUM 1996:124.1
Photo by Doug Elbinger, all rights reseved by the Michigan State University Museum

Pat Courtney Gold (Wasco) relates this parable to accompany her quilt. "Coyote Helps to Create the Night Sky".

Coyote wanted to help the Great Spirit put stars in the night sky. Coyote was told that there were many, many stars and that he would be very busy for a long, long time.

Coyote assured the Great Spirit that he could do it, no problem. But after Coyote worked for a few years, he decided it was too boring to place each star up in the night sky. "I think I'll make designs," thought Coyote, but he could not think of any.

Bear came along and said, "Coyote, put me up in the sky. Put me right near the center of the sky where everyone can see me and I can guide them." Coyote agreed. We call the Bear star design the Big Dipper.

Then Rabbit hopped up, saw Bear in the night sky, and said, "Coyote, since you put Bear in the sky, you must put me there with my whole family. Everyone likes rabbits." Mouse overheard Rabbit and squeaked, "Coyote, you need little creatures in the night sky. You must put me in along with all my family." Owl was out hunting, and flying overhead, he listened to Mouse and Rabbit. Owl hooted, "Don't forget all us birds, Coyote, you must put all of us in the night sky, too."

Coyote said, "There is too much arguing and too much noise, I can't put everyone in the sky. Putting the stars in the night sky is too much work."

So Coyote grabbed all the remaining stars and threw them up into the sky. This is how Coyote made the Milky Way.

From To Honor and Comfort Native Quilting Traditions

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