YOU ARE A COYOTE FOR THE LAST TIME

The most pernicious myth about American Indians is that they are vanishing. While many Native American cultures have, alas, been obliterated, many have survived.

The Bow Leaders have served Yaqui communities for centuries as a military society.  Nowadays the society’s main function is a religious duty.

The singer accompanies himself with a drum. There is a sounding hole in the rim of the drum, and traditionally the singer sings into that hole.

– From “Coyote Songs”
by Larry Evers and Felipe S. Molina

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I am Refugio Savala, returned from college in Arizona to my Yaqui village in Mexico.  I wanted to form a Coyote Singer Bow Leaders group.  I played my song for my friends.  I sang into my ceremony drum:

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Ignacio Lucero was called a coyote,
You would not see him pass,
Beneath the evening star,
He knew the secret trails,
He lead people north,
Through the wilderness world,
Into Gringo Land

In a group he lead my mother and my little sister,
But on the third day in the wilderness my mother was weary and she could not keep up,
Ignacio Lucero said he would wait for my mother if he could fuck my little sister,
My mother fought Ignacio Lucero,
So Ignacio Lucero left my wounded mother and my little sister behind to die.

My little sister was found,
My  mother died keeping my little sister alive
La Migra brought my little sister to me,
She told me about Ignacio Lucero,
I left college to find Ignacio Lucero.

I and my big sister at last found the man Ignacio Lucero in a bar,
I and my big sister made a plan,
My big sister pretended to be a whore,
She drugged the drink of Ignacio Lucero,
She walked him out of the town to me,
When Ignacio Lucero was asleep we bound and gagged him,

I laid Ignacio Lucero on a pile of wood,
Under the morning star I lit the fire,
When Ignacio Lucero opened his eyes,
He saw me, he saw God, he saw the Devil,
He could not cry out his agony as I said “You are a coyote for the last time.”

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One of my friends then said to me,
“Bow Leaders defend,
They do not take revenge,
Something very bad will happen to you and your sisters,
Now sing that you have killed the wrong Ignacio Lucero because that coyote stole the name from Ignacio Lucero.”

So then I sang:

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Now I want to die,
I can not live with myself,
I want to die,
I will kill myself ,
I will kill myself.

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One of my friends then said to me,
“The Great Spirit forbids killing yourself,
Something very bad will happen to your sisters,
Now sing that you will atone like a Coyote Singer Bow Leader.”

So then I sang:

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I have taken the name Ignacio Lucero,
I will fulfill his life to his family,
I am Ignacio Lucero,
I am Ignacio Lucero,
I am a Coyote Singer Bow Leader for the last time.

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