The Story of Black Coyote Video Clip by Christine Ehrlich-Brady

Posted by in Aboriginal Stories, Colonialism and Assimiliation, Elders

Description of the Resource

The resource I chose is a two minute videoclip about Black Coyote. This video clip depicts the story of Black Coyote, told in American Sign Language by Ethan Bolton, a Deaf student at the British Columbia School for the Deaf. Ethan is a member of the Gitxaala clan, Tsmshian Nation in northwestern, B.C. He used this story for a public speaking contest hosted by a school in Massachusetts in which he came in first place.   I chose this video because I wanted to share an historical account of a Deaf Sioux (Lakota) man who refused to disarm when requested to do so by Western soldiers in 1890. This triggered the Wounded Knee Massacre in which many Natives were killed.

I discovered the story of Black Coyote while preparing a Deaf Studies lesson for my class a few years back. There was a section about Black Coyote in a textbook “Movers and Shakers, Deaf People Who Changed the World (Carroll & Mather, 1997). During my move from Ontario to British Columbia, I visited the Wounded Knee Massacre burial site. I saw Black Coyote’s name engraved on the gravestone. It was an unforgettable experience for me.

The Role of Indigenous knowledges, content and perspectives in the video.

The role of Indigenous knowledge, content and perspectives in the video is to educate and to share with others the experience of a miscommunication between Black Coyote and Western soldiers. Black Coyote was deaf and the soldiers were unaware of the fact that he could not hear. After the investigation of this incident, the story of the Wounded Knee massacre was retold by the survivors who knew Black Coyote. This oral history is traced back to the Lakota Nation on Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, United States. It clearly denotes the strength of the Lakota Peoples oral traditions.


After displaying the video clip, it would be benefit if the closed captioning is to be added for hearing viewers. Viewers will also need some background information to the story or after watching the clip.


This video clip enhances understanding of communication difficulties Deaf people face

and enhances understanding of the Deaf experience. It also parallels a First Nations experience

story told in American Sign Language by a First Nations student and role model.

It becomes our lesson that we won’t forget these kind of tragedies.

 Discussion of how I would make use of this Resource

Use this as the case study for Deaf studies or any aboriginal historical and social justice courses.

A few questions to follow:

  1. Describe the incident, explore the issue of conflicts.
  2. How will we help to improve our relationships with the Aboriginal peoples locally, provincially, at the national level and at the international level?
  3. How will this resource help improve how we deal with conflicts and resolutions?


Carroll, C. & Mather, S. (1997). Movers & Shakers: Deaf People who Changed the World. Dawn Sign Press. San Diego, CA

Murray, J. (29 December, 2014). Today in History – December 29. Retreived from NetNewsLedger     website.