Spirit Chief Names the Animal People
Children's Story for Orchestra and Narrator
(1992) - 25'
by Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate

1(Pic.) 0 0 2 - 0 0 0 0; 1Perc. Pno. Stgs.

Originally a movement within Winter Moons, Spirit Chief Names the Animal People is the Okanogan Indian story of how Coyote retained his name, given by the Great Spirit Chief. This work is also available arranged for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Piano and Narrator.

Spirit Chief Names the Animal People was commissioned by Dr. Patricia Tate, dance faculty for the University of Wyoming, and premiered February 18, 1992.

Spirit Chief Names the Animal People - Narrator Script

The Great Spirit Chief called the animal people together.  They came from all parts of the world.  The Spirit Chief told them there was to be a change -- a new kind of people coming to live on the earth.
"All of you animal people must have names.  Some of you have names now, some of you haven't.  But tomorrow all will have names that shall be kept by you and your descendants forever.  In the morning, as the first light of day shows in the sky, come to my lodge and choose your names.  The first to come may choose any name that he or she wants.  The next person may take any other name.  That is the way it will go until all the names are taken."

Spirit Chief's talk made the animal people very excited.  Each wanted a proud name and the power to rule some tribe or some part of the world, and everyone was determined to get up early and hurry to the Spirit Chief's lodge to be the first to choose his fate.

Now, Coyote is a difficult animal to understand and his position was at the bottom of the Spirit Chief's list for naming.  Coyote is a ne'er-do-well if there ever was one.  For the Indian, he represents the ultimate, negative example: a quick-witted schemer with a glib tongue.  His greatest flaw is pride and self-importance.  In his scheming ways, he always claims more than he is capable of, regardless of the consequences.

Coyote boasted that no one would be ahead of him.

"I am tired of that name,” he said.  "I want another name, a more powerful name like Bear, or Salmon or Eagle.  Let some old person take the name of Coyote - someone who cannot win in war -- I am going to be a great warrior -- I am going to have great power.”

And he walked among the people and told them that he would be the first in line for the Spirit Chief's naming of the animal people.


Coyote thought he could do anything and he pretended to know everything.  Such smart talk did not make friends of Coyote.  His animal friends did not respect his foolish antics and they teased him and made fun of him.  Only his wife, the faithful Mole, stayed loyal to her husband in spite of his mean ways, his mischief making and his foolishness.

Coyote stalked off to his teepee.  He said he would not sleep that night, so when the morning came, while his friends were still asleep, he would be the first to the mound of the Great Spirit Chief.  He would be the first named.

Coyote told his wife, Mole, "I am going to sit up all night."

So, Coyote sat watching the fire.  Half of the night passed.  He got sleepy and his eyes grew heavy.  So he picked up two little sticks and braced his eyelids apart.  "Now I can stay awake,” he thought, and Coyote danced around the sleeping animals.

Coyote told his wife that he would no longer be a common person: he would no longer need her.  She was sad and cried, but she said nothing.  Mole loved her husband.  She did not want him to have a big name and be a powerful chief.  For then, she feared he would leave her.  So mole danced with coyote until he grew to sleepy to stay awake.

And, soon Coyote was fast asleep, although his eyes were wide open.  And his ever-faithful wife stayed watch beside him, keeping him from waking at daybreak.

Morning arrives - Coyote is asleep while the other animals receive their names.

Spirit Chief:
"Kee-Lau-Naw, the mountain person - Grizzly Bear - You will rule four-footed people.”


Spirit Chief:
"En-Tee-Tee-Ueh, the good swimmer - Salmon - You will be the chief of all the fish that the new people use for food.”


Spirit Chief:
"Milka-Noups - Eagle - You will rule the birds.”


Only half awake and thinking it was early morning, Coyote jumped at the sound of Mole's voice and ran to the lodge of the Spirit Chief.  None of the other animals were there.  Coyote laughed.  Blinking his sleepy eyes, he walked into the lodge.

"I am going to be Kee-Lau-Naw!” he announced in a strong voice.

"The name Grizzly Bear was taken at dawn,” the Spirit Chief said.

"Then I shall be En-Tee-Tee-Ueh!” said Coyote.

"The name Salmon also has been taken," replied the Chief.

"Then I shall be called Milka-Noups,” said Coyote.

"Eagle flew away at sunup,” answered the Chief.

Poor Coyote grew weak.  He sank down in front of the Great Spirit and the heart of the Great Spirit Chief was touched.  He was so impressed by Coyote's ability to think for himself, although to selfish ends, that he reversed the importance of the animals and put Coyote in charge of finishing up the world.

The Great Chief said:

"It is for you to conquer the people.  For doing that, for all the good things you do, you will be honored and praised by the people that are here now, and that come afterward.  But, for the foolish and mean things you do, you will be laughed at and despised.

That you cannot help.  That is your way.”