SFBCIAC Scrapbook, Page Twenty-Eight

Title

SFBCIAC Scrapbook, Page Twenty-Eight

Description

Two news clippings announcing the publication of "Meet Mr. Coyote," a series of ten legends belonging to the Thompson Tribe near Lytton, B.C. that was illustrated by Aboriginal students in Noel Stewart's junior class at St. George's Indian Residential School.

Creator

The Society for the Furtherance of B.C. Indian Arts and Crafts

Source

Royal BC Museum, BC Archives (F/I/R19)

Publisher

Victoria Daily Times

Date

Dec.13, 1941

Text

SFBCIAC Scrapbook, Page Twenty-Eight

“Thompson Indian Children Record Ancient Myths”

From the southern interior comes “Meet Mr. Coyote,” collection of a few old Indian stories retold in popular form. These stories relate the history of Mr. Coyote, a heavenly visitor to B.C., who, in the dawn period, before man had appeared on the earth, instructed the animal people in the arts and crafts.

Such stories belong to youth, to the early beginnings of a people, and it is therefore fitting that they should be reproduced by the children of the race, before that latent sprit, which they must of necessity have inherited from their forefathers, becomes bent to other form by the western mold.

SYMPATHIZE WITH HIM

Mr. Coyote is a gay and somewhat irresponsible soul, usually fond of playing pranks on people, but here you see him chiefly in his beneficent mood, using his mystic power to help those weaker than himself. You have only to read how he made friends with the birds to feel in sympathy with him, and, when you read how he assisted at the invocation of the sunflower roots, and how he called upon the Great Spirit to destroy the cruel Giant Animal people, yet you will understand why the Indians love him.

There is something very deep and very ancient about such stories as these, we find them in all parts of the world, even in Europe. Here, in parallel, it may be stated that, as the Brothers Grimm took threads from the mythology of Europe’s prehistoric past to weave a changeling cloak, brighter than the cloak of Jacob by which the children of their generation were transported into the supernatural world long familiar to their forefathers, so do the Indians, in these stories, perpetuate ancient tales of prehistoric origin which have been told and retold among the Thompson Tribes for countless generations.

ILLUSTRATIONS AND INTEREST

And as the Brothers Dalziel and other artists in woodblock of the post-Bewick school have given color to remnants of European mythology, so do the illustrations to Mr. Coyote give added life to the narrative. These illustrations are by extremely young people who are descendants of a race of artistic Indians, and who, despite their immaturity, are able to convey proof of inherited traditions in native craftsmanship.

Thus, while in the company of Mr. Coyote and his animal people of long ago, the reader is transported by a mystic influence in which he may recognize another form of the familiar spirit which perhaps dominated a certain period of his own youth, a familiar spirit which may have arisen from repetitions of folk lore such as were found in some treasured copy of Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

But, despite these parallels, the reader will realize that, unlike the cloak woven by the Brothers Grimm, Mr. Coyote’s coat is of fur, for he is essentially western and, except for a tinge from the European dye pot, essentially Amerind. Nevertheless, since Mr. Coyote comes from a bright sky world, you will find him well worth shaking hands with, even worth your friendship.

Whether, on introduction, you are accustomed to use the clipped English response, or the less formal western greeting, I am sure that all who respond to Miss Ravenhill’s invitation will be both charmed and pleased to “Meet Mr. Coyote”—A.E.P.



“Meet Mr. Coyote”

MEET Mr. Coyote” is a series of legends of the Thompson Indian Tribe, British Columbia. It is moderately priced at twenty five cents and may be purchased from Mr. Noel Stewart, St. George’s Indian School, Lytton, British Columbia.

The illustrations for this attractive little book are the work of the Juniors of St. George’s Indian School at Lytton. Our readers will remember having seen illustrations of Health Rules done by these same Juniors in the February, 1941, number of our Red Cross Junior magazine.

There are ten interesting legends, the last one of which is called “Sunflower Roots and their Gifts.” The following excerpts will give you an idea of the style in which this little book is written:

“Thus, the people prayed to the root (Sunflower) itself when called upon to make exertion for any worthy purpose, asking that it would give them of its life-force when special endurance was required, such as climbing a steep, high mountain, or to enable them to exercise special dexterity when in need of great skill, or to avoid clumsy movements when much depended upon being sure-footed or silent in approach to a threatened dangerous encounter.”

“So I think you will be pleased to hear that though the Thompson Tribe ceased long ago to worship the Sunflower Roots, yet the boys at St. George’s School at Lytton have made for themselves Rules about food, cleanliness, sleep, and exercise, which they try to keep very earnestly, for they all belong to the Junior Red Cross.”

Files

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Citation

The Society for the Furtherance of B.C. Indian Arts and Crafts, “SFBCIAC Scrapbook, Page Twenty-Eight,” The Story is More than Itself, accessed November 24, 2017, http://thestoryismorethanitself.omeka.net/items/show/20.