Friday, November 25, 2011

Coyote Transforms

Coyote changes to hunter

Inspired by, but NOT intended to be an accurate representation of, the Wasco myth Coyote and Multnomah Falls, as well as other stories about coyote the shapeshifter from various Pacific Northwest tribes.

The myth was set in "that long ago time before this time, when all the people and all the animals spoke the same language." The clothing references I used for the illustration were from the 19th century, so no claims are being made to cultural authenticity or period accuracy here ;-)

In Coyote and Multnomah Falls, coyote turns into a young man. (This is the second image in my series of illustrations inspired by myths about wild canid spirits that shapeshift into human form.)

Made trips to two museums, where staff were very helpful and informative. One of the museums was the Museum at Warm Springs, in Warm Springs Reservation, Oregon, where the Wasco tribe now lives. An excellent resource.

Also borrowed more books than I could safely carry from the library. But after talking to more knowledgeable people, I realized that there were probably no authoritative references on what recent pre-contact people, not to mention ancient people, on the Oregon plateau actually wore. The lives of Plateau people were already changed by indirect European influence long before anyone set eyes on their first person of European descent.1 For instance, horses broadened the trade network of tribes and spread fashion influences from the Plains to the Plateau.2

Notes:
  1. Robert Boyd, People of the Dalles, p12
  2. Kelly L. Barth, Native Americans of the Northwest Plateau, pp 34-35

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