Native American Tales

Native American Mythology-Oh, God, you Trickster

Native American Mythology-Oh, God, you TricksterNative American Mythology-Oh, God, you Trickster

Many Christians tend to think of God as this stodgy-smite-you-for-stealing-bubble-gum-from-the-general-store kind of deity, not all Christians think this way, but a lot do. God’s serious. He’s not one to joke around. He’s not writing jokes rocks, waiting for us to find them and then giggling about it when we do find them. He doesn’t tell knock-knock jokes. He doesn’t do MadLibs. God is serious. You would never catch him behaving jovially(which is ironic in a sense since the word “jovial” is derived for the name of a god, Jove).

Nope, our Christian God is a serious person, who doesn’t smile a whole lot and thinks you should probably wear dresses that cover your ankles, maybe. Again, not all Christians think of God in this context.

While reading about Native American myths and legends, a common thread appeared. The gods involved in the stories weren’t always serious. They could be, certainly, but not all the time. They liked to joke around. Some of them were stupid, really stupid. The gods and spirits in these stories were serious when they needed to be, like the Great Mystery Power when he/it was creating animals and the world. There was also a lot of very human behavior out of these deities. Coyote and Iktome were always trying to get into something. They were always doing something.They were always trying to sleep with one young girl or the other.

They were so human. They erred like humans.

I think this is actually great. Why should our gods be unrelatable and serious all the time? Can’t they have fun every once in a while? If our God was once more like us, wouldn’t that make him easier to understand? If our god had once been a young man full of tricks, not unlike Coyote and Iktome, wouldn’t it make you feel a little more kinship with him?

Coyote seems tricky to the max, but he also seems human, even though he’s a coyote. I read stories about Coyote and chuckled, but I also felt he was more on the human level, rather than being godly, and sometimes, that’s what you need out of faith.


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