Folklore regarding (biological) coyotes and (the mythic) Old Man Coyote the Trickster is rich in both hunter-gatherer and farmer-herder societies in Western North America, and apparently not restricted to language group, socioeconomic status, or subsistence strategy.
To date, there has yet to be a systematic comparison of hunter-gatherer versus farmer uses of ‘Coyote’ as a modifier in the secondary lexemes used to name plants and invertebrates, or in associated oral narratives. While these folk taxa may be called “coyote’s biota” for shorthand, it is necessary to discern whether they all share some common diagnostic features or characteristic values in the cultures which name them.
One might wonder whether any 21st century preoccupation with agrarian values, agrarian ecology and agrarian ideals comes as too little, too late.
Less than two percent of the North American public lives in rural areas outside towns, cities and suburbs, and less than half of the world’s population now lives outside cities.
It is a truly remarkable irony that most Americans have never even heard of the name of the oldest heirloom maize variety on the continent, Chapalote, let alone tasted its earthy, flinty cornmeal.
Corn farming in the foodscapes within the present-day United States did not begin in the Midwestern or Southern “Corn Belts,“ nor along the East Coast where Pilgrims first encountered this new staple crop. Instead, the oldest evidence of maize cultivation north of the Tropic of Cancer comes from a desert valley known as the Tucson Basin in southern Arizona, and near the Zuni and Hopi villages of northern Arizona.
For decades, Aldo Leopold’s writings have been assigned readings on college campuses across the country, in classes across a wide range of disciplines. Generations of students have read Leopold to gain a solid footing in conservation science,
history, and ideas.
He serves, perhaps uniquely, as a common link across time. The background and legacy of the land ethic is passed along from one generation to the next—for them to analyze, criticize, and extend according to their own insights.