Native American bird and animal symbols and totems are believed to represent the physical form of a spirit helper and guide. In Miwok mythology the people believed in animal and human spirits, and spoke of Animal Spirits as their ancestors. For additional information please refer to the Meanings of Animal Symbols.
Meaning of the Coyote Symbol
The Coyote is depicted as their ancestor, creator god, and a Trickster spirit. According to one Miwok creation myth "Coyote shook his walik" (something similar to a blanket of tule) to the four directions south, east, north and west. The water dried, and land appeared. The meaning of the Coyote symbol was very important to the Southwest Indian tribes including the Navajo and the Zuni. The coyote is perceived as holy but also adopts the role of a Trickster. Sometimes the Coyote spirit was so mischievous and involved in his own trickery that he would trick himself which is why, according to mythology, there are so many mistakes in the way things are in the world. The coyote is also associated with Spiritual Healing and "Coyoteway" is a healing ceremony that consists of a series of prayer chants and other rituals which are performed over a period of several days. The Coyote appears in the stories of a number of tribes. In the following picture Coyote attempts to get persimmons from Opossum in traditional native American Caddo mythology. For additional information refer to Power Animals.
The Coyote Symbol
The coyote symbol represents the the prairie wolf and is small and cowardly, the least imposing of the wolf like animals. In Native American myths and legends the contemptible coyote symbolizes selfishness, deceit and greed. He is often outwitted by the animals who he tries to trick. Those he helps do not show the coyote gratitude. However, despite this the coyote is perceived as a powerful magician bringing the world to some order although this might not have been his intention.