Navajo Coyote Tales: From Legend to Film

Not only are the Navajo Coyote Collection stories a humorous venue for learning language, stories, and for understanding a fragment of the cultural fabric, but the DVD collection also represents a significant slice of animation history.

During the early 1970s, Kent Tibbetts, the first director of the San Juan School District Media Center, and Don Mose, Jr., who was a cultural consultant, had the opportunity to work with a firm named Computer Image Corporation. The Denver-based firm was pioneering computer animation. They offered to work with the Coyote stories in an experimental capacity to create 16 mm animated films. The Coyote film animation project became a collaborative effort involving the art students and cultural consultants of San Juan School District, technicians from Computer Image Corporation, and funding from the Utah Navajo oil royalties.

San Juan High School students drafted the artwork, imaginatively drawing the characters of Coyote and his companions upon which Computer Image Corporations would base their animation. Coyote and the Horned Toad was the first experiment, followed by Coyote and Beaver, Skunk, Rabbit, and finally, Coyote and the Lizards. Each character personification was permitted only six moving body parts, or “bones” as they were called. Each “bone” or part was a separate image that was assembled into one complete figure with the computer program. Irving Toledo became the still-familiar voice of Coyote; Jim Dandy Sr. narrated the stories; and the voices of Don Mose, Jr. and Herbert Frazier filled in the other animal dialogue.

These Coyote Stories have been converted from the original filmstrips to DVDs in Color

Navajo Language Only

Choose from Five Titles! $5.00 Each
Coyote and the Lizards
Coyote and the Beavers
Coyote and Skunk
Coyote and Rabbit
Coyote and Horned Toad

Get the entire collection of five for $25.00

Navajo Coyote Stories Collection

The Coyote Stories were made from student drawings directly into animated films via the technological expertise of the Computer Image Corporation. The VHS/VCR versions came from a later conversion and the DVDs from the VCR version. The DVD conversion occurred in the late 1990s.

Kent and Don Mose made weekly trips to Denver to work with the Computer Image folks to produce the videos. So, the DVDs really represent a little piece of film history, in addition to the cultural content.

*Please remember that the telling of Coyote Stories is restricted to the winter storytelling months, October through February

Ordering Information

San Juan School District
Heritage Language Resource Center
28 West 200 North
Phone: 435-678-1230
FAX: 435-678-1283
Store Hours: 9:00 – 4:30
Monday through Thursday

Online order at this Website:

Click here for New Fall 2013  Catalog

We accept purchase orders, credit cards, and checks.
We bill only for items shipped and actual cost of shipping.
Personal orders ship after payment is received.
Please estimate 10% of purchase total for shipping cost.

Navajo Monster Slayer Project

Monster Slayer Project Begins Production


By Denny J Spencer

Local production company Astronaught in a joint effort with Indiegenous
Productions announced today the start of production for the Monster Slayer Project. A
short film that is a contemporary retelling of the Navajo Hero Twins story.

Cast_of_Monster_SlayerCast of the Monster Slayer Project

The projects main goal is to reach Navajo youths of this current generation through film, in
an effort to inspire them to want to learn about their heritage. The Project recently
auditioned and cast all Dineh (Navajo) actors and will begin shooting in the summer of

To learn more about this project, please contact
Kjell Boersma