A Coyote Columbus Story

51-VsdrdEzL._SX391_BO1,204,203,200_For one of my graduate courses, we had a wonderful woman named Kate come in and give a presentation about incorporating Native American traditions and perspectives into the curriculum to create a better balanced and multicultural education for all our students. Although she is originally from a tribe in Alaska, she has become an expert and resource about tribes in Montana and gives presentations to students and teachers and has been doing her job for years and years. She introduced us to a wonderful book titled “A Coyote Columbus Story” that is meant for children and demonstrates a different perspective, not only about Columbus, but about the character of Coyote, who is usually a male, but in this story, she is a female coyote. Kate mentioned she likes this story, specifically because Coyote is a female. In it, it also shows other animals as females in fun ways. Like the moose who wears curlers in her hair. It made me think about how children are so used to seeing character animals represented as males, that some don’t even realize that all animals consist of males and females until they are older.

I recall some former kindergarten students of mine who were shocked when I told them ALL dinosaurs come in male and female varieties. They had assumed that dinosaurs were only male. This is clearly a terrible oversight that students are being taught/not taught otherwise, because it is a clear fallacy, but this misconception also presents females as “not-normal”, and not a complete part of the everyday world. It sets females as the other, a misconception we need to correct by introducing them to books like this.

What is especially interesting about “A Coyote and Columbus Story” is the conversation that ensued with a classmate of mine afterwards. He said he thought the story was biased presenting Columbus as a villain. I had to point out that the, so-called, ‘normal perspective’ on Columbus is, if anything, way more biased, considering Columbus was actually a controversial figure because he raped and pillaged the local people and used them as slaves. I too was a product of my education with regards to these facts until recently, when I attended a rally, calling for Indigenous Day instead of Columbus day.

I recommend this book for the different perspective it offers about Columbus and for the fact that it shows animals as females in books.

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