In Indian lore, among the spirits, Coyote has forever been considered the clever one. The trickster, a bit lazy, but always depended upon to lead a lost warrior home. Around the campfires and in the lodges, the story of Coyote and the Rock was told. And so the story goes….
Many moons ago, It was Coyote who decided that fishing for salmon was taking up entirely too much of his time, and besides, it was hard work. So Coyote thought and thought. How could he catch his salmon without working so hard? Coyote considered the situation for a long time, and at last it came to him. Build a dam! He could build the dam right across the river and the salmon wouldn’t, couldn’t get out. And so that’s just exactly what he did.
He started out with the biggest boulders he could find. Setting them in place, he piled rock after rock on top. It took most of the first day and tired him out so much that Coyote slept very well that night until he heard a gruff and mighty voice calling from the bay, “Who builds across the river? The salmon belong to me.” “Huh, I don’t care what Sea Lion says,” said Coyote, as he continued to build his dam across the river. Tired from all his efforts, he fell asleep on the second night. And again, Sea Lion called in his deep gruff voice “Who builds across the river? The salmon belong to me.” Still unconcerned, Coyote steadily worked on his dam for the third day.
The dam was almost across the river nearly touching the other side when he fell asleep that third night. With the hills rumbling with the echo of his voice, Sea Lion came that night and roared at Coyote, “You cannot stop the salmon from going on their journey to the sea! You cannot stop the salmon from their spawning, you cannot keep the salmon from me!” And with that he raised up and smashed Coyote’s dam, destroying it all except for the part that is called Coyote Rock to this very day.
Actually there is a basis in fact for the legend of Coyote Rock. Every fall when the salmon come into the Siletz on their way to spawn way up river, they seem to stop and wait just around Coyote Rock until the October rains come to tell them it is time to go, and in which tributaries they should spawn.
Welcome to Coyote Rock, from:
Pride and Marie Johnson