January 2020

Great Spirit sat on the edge of the plain and looked out over the earth. He was happy with the land, water, sky, and animals he had created. But he was sad that there was nothing in the land that thought thoughts the way he did, so he decided to make people. Coyote sat nearby.

Great Spirit said to Coyote that there were none like Great Spirit so he would make some new animals. Coyote said nothing. Great Spirit began to make them out of clay and said to Coyote, “I will make them male and female so they will make more, and some will sing the song and dance the dance so they will give thanks and I will enjoy them. You make tokens of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ so that there will be two kinds and we will see if one or both survive.” Now, “good” and “evil” meant nothing more to Great Spirit than green and red – there was no such thing as value. Great Spirit mixed the clay and sprinkled in the ability to sing the song and dance the dance. But they were not mixed evenly, so some could sing the song and some could dance the dance, and some could both sing the song and dance the dance and some could do neither. Meanwhile, Coyote was supposed to be making the tokens of “good” and “evil.” Instead, Coyote was lazy and only made one kind of token and put the symbols for “good” and “evil” on each side. Great Spirit made batches and batches of people – male and female – and Coyote placed a token in each one. Some of the batches Great Spirit did not bake long enough and they were light, some he baked too long and they were dark.

After they were done they were released into the plain. Many gave thanks to the Great Spirit by singing the song or dancing the dance. Great Spirit was happy.

In time, though, the people began to form into many small groups. For example, some of the lighter men who could not sing the song or dance the dance felt they were “good” and everyone else was “evil” because they did not kowtow to the Great Spirit. And the darker women who could sing the song and dance the dance felt they were “good” and everyone else was “evil” because they were so talented.

Great Spirit was confused and dismayed. There were not supposed to be so many fractured groups, only two groups of “good” and “evil” – whatever those were meant to mean – to make the sides compete and better themselves. He called to Coyote and asked him what he did with the tokens. “I put them in the people,” responded Coyote. “Let me see them,” said Great Spirit. Coyote looked away, but handed a token to Great Spirit. “This is only one token,” said Great Spirit. “Yes, but it has the symbol of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ on each side,” responded Coyote.

“This won’t do at all,” said Great Spirit. “I will have to destroy the people and start over, because they can not see the difference and are forming warring tribes and making up reasons to be different.” But Coyote was jealous of the people because of how Great Spirit loved them, and so he wanted there to be chaos and strife among them. So, Coyote said, “Wait, what if you give them the choice to choose between ‘good’ and ‘evil’? They all have the capacity because they all have the two-sided token. See what happens, see which one wins out.” Great Spirit did not want to destroy his creation, so he listened to Coyote and let the people freely choose what was “good” and what was “evil.”

And so we have it today that people divide and argue over it, all the while singing the song and dancing the dance.