Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Environmental Studies

Department or School/College

Environmental Studies Program

Committee Chair

Phil Condon

Commitee Members

Heather E. Bruce, Tom M. Roy


coyote, mental illness, Mormonism


University of Montana


Finding Coyote: Praying Into Madness Chairperson: Phil Condon The North American coyote exhibits resiliency and survivorship as a species, and a broad spectrum of personality traits as a character in stories, tales, legends and cosmologies of some native peoples. I have used coyotes—the species, and Coyote—the character, to help frame a memoir that examines violence, mental illness, Mormonism and ultimately, wellness. From settings in psychiatric units, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a government-run predator research facility, and wild spots in Wyoming and Utah, these essays work together as an inquiry into power. They explore predator control, the murder of a young woman, and self-inflicted violence; detail personal experience growing up Mormon and the brief, contextualized madness brought on by trying to fit within my culture's expectations; finally, they deal with resisting the medical establishment that labels people as mentally ill for life. Wellness is achieved, in part, through deep curiosity in the natural world and deliberately cultivating a stance of radical reverence for life.

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© Copyright 2009 Merrilyne Lundahl