Thomas the “non-Indian” perspective of the European. Criticizing

Thomas King dedicates a whole accumulation of short stories – One Good Story, That One – to retell the American Indian history from the Natives’ view. In two of his stories: “A Coyote Columbus Story” and “The One about Coyote Going West”, King especially includes coyote, a Native American mythological figure. Coyote is common in American Indian oral stories. It is ordinarily shown as the cheat, demiurge/maker, mystical performer, the trick, shape shifter, and so forth. (“Coyote Mythology”). To an extreme, coyote can be said to represent generally everything. Exploiting this, Thomas King places the fanciful coyote in his stories with a specific end goal to fill distinctive needs: reprimanding European records of American Indian history and retelling Native stories. In this way, the figure is given different significant parts in re-delineating Native American history through a more genuine view than the “non-Indian” perspective of the European. Criticizing European narratives of American Indian history The two stories begin with Coyote telling the storytellers the standard adaptations of Native history, which are then denied and retold by the latters. Since legendary coyote is commonly depicted as both idiotic and intelligent, Coyote in the two stories is the silly one and the accounts can be viewed as the wise alter of Coyote (Slapkauskaite, 515). Here, senseless Coyote speaks to the white men who go toward the west, as the title of one story infers, towards America from Europe, “loaded with terrible business” (King, 67) and awful expectations, which the narrators strongly criticize. In “A Coyote Columbus Story”, Coyote gets her version of Columbus being the person who discovered America from the “big red history book” (King, 121), and in “The One about Coyote Going West”, she peruses about famous European explorers finding Indians in history books also (King, 70). These demonstrate the regular assumption that European verifiable records are the main and most dependable sources. Nonetheless, in the two stories, the storytellers restrict Coyote’s form, making negative comments about her, and indirectly criticize the way white individuals wrongly portray American Indian history by saying that “all of Coyote’s stories are bent” (King, 121) as well as “some of these stories are flat” (King, 82). Europeans depict history just from one side their side, praising the great white travelers while negating the presence of American and its people before those revelations. In this way, their stories are distorted, “flat”, and lack of perspectives from different angles. Besides, white individuals likewise attempt to “fix” the world’s recognition through their versions of historical stories, which King alludes to as “messing around” with the truth (King, 82). Thomas King additionally utilizes humour to criticize European narratives of history: he influences amusing to out of Coyote’s foolishness and plays with several authentic facts. Coyote in “The One about Coyote Going West” refers to Eric the Lucky as Eric the Red, Jacques Cartier and Christopher Columbus as Jacques Columbus and Christopher Cartier (King, 70); while in the other story, Columbus says that the reason for his journey is to discover China rather than India (King, 123). By along these lines, King mockingly put the Europeans in the position of Native individuals where their stories are additionally bowed and contorted. Also, since this is a story for kids, certain senseless and clever points of interest, for example, Coyote singing with its butthole, can be weaved into the plot to give both laughter and embarrassment. As Coyote speaks to the Europeans, such embarrassment is particularly focused towards the white students of history who twist and bend the first Native stories. Retelling the story from Native American perspective How Europeans shape stories about American Indian, along with the fact that the Christopher Columbus and other great explorers made American become known to the world, forms a false impression that the discoveries call the continent and its people into existence. It gives the Europeans a sense of achievement and power over Native Americans, resulting in the former perceiving Indians as merely the objects they came across while exploring the world. However, American and the Indians have always been there long before the arrival of Europeans. Hence, the land and its people exist as other civilizations exist, and no discovery calls them into existence or turns them into objects to assert power upon. King addresses this by telling both stories in the form of oral conversations – the traditional storytelling method of the Natives – between Coyote and the narrators, in which the former plays the role of the force that drives the latters, its wise alter ego, to retell the Natives’ version of history. Such force comes from Coyote’s lack of wisdom and silly mistakes, while the alter ego of Coyote now serves as the creator of the original, authentic, and natural world order which has long been “flatly” framed within European perspectives. In “A Coyote Columbus Story”, Coyote accidentally creates Columbus and his fellows during her train of thoughts. This is an illustration of Columbus’s discovery of America as merely an accident rather the great discovery that makes the continent and Native people become known to the world. Furthermore, Coyote in “A Coyote Columbus Story” and the mistake in “The One about Coyote Going West” respectively create modern objects and activities such as shopping, movie, vacation (King, 122), silk cloth, color televisions, home computers (King, 124) , and vacuum cleaners, pastel sheets, humidifier, portable gas barbeque, department store catalogue, golf cart (King, 79). These pose a feeling of wrongness to readers since they belong to neither the myth nor the stories’ themes. Thereby, Thomas King implies that the Europeans do not belong to America, and that their setting foot on the land is more of an impolite invasion than a great discovery. Additionally, in “A Coyote Columbus Story”, when Columbus and his crew take the Indians away to trade as goods, Coyote is upset, not because of the wrongful and unjust deed, but only because there is no one to play ball with her. Such innocence typifies the naivety of poor Indigenous people who are unaware of the serious situation when the white men invade their land, interfere with their life, and take their children away to residential schools. By this way, besides bringing laughter and humiliation to European twisted history, Coyote’s foolishness also creates awareness of the outrageously unacceptable acts of colonization, as well as the Natives’ limited perception of their situation. Conclusion The depiction of the mythological coyote in Thomas King’s “A Coyote Columbus Story” and “The One about Coyote Going West” successfully serves the author’s purposes of criticizing the way Europeans narrate Native American history as well as retelling the story through American Indian lens. Most notably is the maneuver of mythological coyote’s characteristics as the creator, the fool, the trickster, etc. to create Coyote the protagonist with various different roles that fulfill King’s purposes. These roles vary from driving the narrators – Coyote’s alter ego – to retell history and typifying the reprehensible Europeans through its silliness, to being the creator of the authentic, natural world order and demonstrating Native American history from Indigenous perspectives. Above all, coyote in King’s literature works is a force that calls for readers to reconsider the misrepresentation of American Indian in mainstream historical accounts, critically question their authenticity, and move towards Indigenous stories that are originally presented from Indigenous perspectives.

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