Stories are very important to us. We have stories that remind us of the past ...

In our tradion we say that a long, long time ago the gods got together to have a meeting. It was what I call the god conference. They had to decide, "How shall we make the human people? How shall we make the plant people? The reptile people, and so on..." And more importantly they had to decide, "How shall these people live together?" Those are some of the questions that came about. They decided to give them each different settings and categories. So that is what happened when they called this conference.

The cayote was, as you would say, the "MC" of the conference. And so it was the cayote who ran the meeting and became the messenger, telling which category everything would be in. But the cayote was clever and had a sense of humor. That is why we see humor in the world. The cayote has a sense of humor and so you will see that at every meeting of Native Americans there is always a joke- someone will crack a joke to start the discussion. Then they get down to business.

Many white people think that the Navajo are serious people because we do not smile much. This has its origin in the cayote legend. We are told that everything is not a joke. The many gods have things that they control, and they are not all humorous, but the only messenger we have is the cayote. If we see a cayote cross our path we say, "Oh look, the cayote! What kind of message is he bringing to me?" If the cayote is encountered when you are facing to the north then it is usually a bad message. If he shows when you are facing the south then it is likely to be good news. Whatever the case, we usually stop and make an offering to the cayote for delivering the message. If it is a good message then the offering will assure hid blessing. If it is a bad message then you should make that offering so maybe it will not come true. In any case, if you see the cayote it is a wake up call and an indication that he is delivering a message to you.

The cayote has his songs, too. They are different for each of the seasons. In fact, we can talk about the cayote mainly in the winter because he is hiding, or, as we say, he is taking a vacation. Right now, as we talk about him, he is listening to us and hears what we say about him. That is why some cayote stories are told only at certain times of the year.

When the gods made the different kinds of people, they decided "Let's not make them know each other at first. Let the different people find each other and be curious and want to know about each other." Curiosity is important because it fosters respect for each other and our differences. When we have to learn about each other, we also learn about ourselves and we respect our differences.

When people who speak different languages meet, the hand languages are very important because that is how we can communicate. We use gestures and symbols. This was the intention of the cayote. He wanted to make it interesting for different people to meet. That is his sense of humor.

Sometimes the cayote will make things happen for a purpose- always for a purpose. He may make you have a deformity or an illness, but it is because you need to learn something or to pay attention to something. So he may make something happen that you might think is bad but it is for your benefit to make you learn a lesson. Often the lesson will make you say, "Why me? Why did this happen to me?" The cayote knows that this is a big lesson that will be learned by you and your family and your friends, so that they all benefit from the lesson.

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