Story by Emmett “Shkeme” Garcia
Illustrations by Victoria Pringle
According to Santa Ana Pueblo legend, the animals’ spirit Leader created the sun, moon, and stars by using woven yucca mats and hot coals. He selected certain animals to climb from their homes in the Third World up to the Fourth World. The Squirrel, the Rabbit, and the Badger were all allowed to go. The Coyote, however, was forbidden to accompany them because he was always causing trouble and stealing food from the others.
Regardless of what he was told, Coyote refused to stay in the Third World. He found a hiding place and waited for a chance to follow animals to the Fourth World. When the other animals discovered Coyote, the summoned the Leader to the Fourth World to deal with him. Coyote’s punishment is a lesson in what happens to animals, or people, when they refuse to obey instructions.
Writing for the younger reader, Emmet “Shkeme” Garcia, a member of the Santa Ana tribe, shares his pueblo’s story of the beginnings of the stars and constellations. Victoria Pringle’s illustrations provide visual elements that enhance the story.
Emmet “Shkeme” Garcia is co-owner of Emergence Productions, a cultural exchange program for American Indian youth, and the lead singer of Native Roots.
Victoria Pringle is a graduate of The Little Red Schoo House, New York, and attends Bennington College, Vermont.
University of New Mexico Press, 2006