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Coyote — Šuŋgmánitu

The legendary figure of the coyote, šuŋgmánitu is perhaps more well-known than Iktomi. He is a trickster and culture hero, often described as witty, clever, obscene, vulgar, and thieving.

In Plains Indian stories, the coyote nearly always takes the shape of a man. He is clever but reckless and is constantly getting himself and the people around him into trouble with his socially inappropriate behavior like greed, boastfulness, and lying.

Coyote stories have typically been censored, usually classified as ethically humorous anecdotes, jokes, animal tales, folktales, and legends involving a sacred or worldly trickster, transformer and culture hero.’

Coyote stories have often been explained as confined to the pre-human mythical age when animals lived and talked like people. Generally, these tales are regarded as lessons or advice.

Neither children nor adults, in general, should behave as Coyote behaves in the stories.