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The First DomesticationHow Wolves and Humans Coevolved$
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Raymond Pierotti and Brandy R Fogg

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780300226164

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300226164.001.0001

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Wolves and Coyotes

Wolves and Coyotes

Creators and Tricksters

Chapter:
(p.166) Chapter Eight Wolves and Coyotes
Source:
The First Domestication
Author(s):

Raymond Pierotti

Brandy R. Fogg

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300226164.003.0009

This chapter focuses on an intriguing aspect of the relationship of humans with wolves in North America and parts of eastern Siberia—that wolves are considered “creator” figures, suggesting that they played an important role in the way humans conceived of themselves as they adapted to new environmental conditions. Thus, wolves could function as both teacher and creator to peoples who were willing to respect wolves as hunters and pay attention to the examples they set. A related trope, often confused with the creator figure, is the idea of smaller canids such as coyotes and foxes as “trickster” figures. The chapter then addresses why tricksters among many American tribes are scavengers and omnivores, for example, coyotes and ravens, occupying an ecological mediating position between herbivores and carnivores and “in between” in terms of subsistence strategies.

Keywords:   humans, wolves, North America, creator figures, coyotes, foxes, trickster figures, American tribes, scavengers, omnivores

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