KAY-OH-TAY GOOD ["LITTLE
BROTHER"] HUNTER GRAY/HUNTER BEAR 2/28/04
What an utterly charming - enchanting - story.
It was late May, 1959.
The New Mexico state trooper -- brown uniform, brown cap, boots, holsteredrevolver -- stepped out in front of my station wagon on that remote mountainroad right on the New Mexico/Arizona border, and held up his hand to stopme.
"What in Hell is this?" I thought. I stopped, not particularly worried. I
was an Arizonian, had Arizona license plates.
He came over, looked into my vehicle. Then he saw my coyote. And his facecreased into a million smiles. "What a right nice little Kay-Oh-Tay," hesaid. We visited for some pleasant minutes. He spoke in what a linguisttold me later -- in my own case, in fact -- is a Southern Highlands accent.It ain't Deep South, but it's getting there. We are not Eastern Yankees.
I had done some favors -- hard fought ones -- for some folks in the NebraskaSandhills country. When I was about ready to leave, I was given two tinymale coyotes as a gift, their eyes still closed. A litter had just been dugup and, with the exception of my two -- the biggest and the smallest -- theother seven had all been killed for five dollars bounty apiece. After onesleepless night, I found a mother dog with a litter. We wetted the twolittle coyotes down, rubbed them against the dog pups,
and put them into her family for a few days. None of the dogs knew
Then I headed out to Utah and on to the Arizona/New Mexico border country.I had a flat tire, opened one window to make certain the coyotes had coolair -- and, as I changed tires, the little coyote took off. But the
biggest, Good, stayed. The great Mine-Mill copper strike -- from Butte to
the Mexican border and some other places as well -- was looming, along
with a major Mine Mill labor defense case. With a lot of other good
folks, I had a lot to do on behalf of Mine-Mill and I also had my M.A. in
Sociologyto finish at Arizona State University. Good -- Kay-Oh-Tay Good -- was withme for all of those things. See this link, partly drawn from a long articleI published: "IUMM&SW: The Good, Tough Fight" in the October, 1960
issue of the Left magazine, MAINSTREAM
I headed back to my home town of Flagstaff, temporarily. Once there, Goodand I were not in the family home more than two minutes before Dad's petparakeet was gone -- gone forever. Dad took it well enough and held nothingagainst Good -- or myself. Then I took Good to our vet, Dr Keithly.
Dr Keithly gave Good all the necessary shots that any Canine needed. Goodthen urinated all over his wall. "Just like a dog," said the Doc, and
poured himself and me as well two fingers of good whiskey. He also gave me,in conjunction with Good's rabies shot, a Coconino County dog tag and acertificate which, among other things, labeled Good a dog. "Goes with therabies shot," he said.
He and I and others all thought that was funny as Hell. [But as I learned
later, it did have its very good and helpful uses.]
Then I was down at Tempe -- in the Phoenix orbit -- enrolling at ASU and
getting set to do anything I could on behalf of Mine-Mill. I rented a modestone-level apartment house in a setting where, with one exception, everyonewas very friendly. For his own protection, Good was on a thirty foot chainin the back yard. Interesting things occurred.
Although his eyes -- and that of his brother -- had been totally closed whenthe infant pups passed into my hands, Good proceeded to dig a perfect coyote
den. He worked on it with all the zeal of a
self-employed miner pursuingGold. [Of course, I always brought him at night and he ate his dog food onthe couch.] During the day, he grabbed birds that came too close andoccasionally an understanding neighbor's stray chicken. Anything outsidethat he didn't eat, he buried and always remembered -- a classic wolfish
His coyote howls were perfect and he did them night and day.
The Great Mine-Mill Copper Strike began at the end of that Summer of '59 --against Anaconda, AS&R, Kennecott, Magma, Phelps Dodge. Concurrently, theso-called and phony "Conspiracy Trial" against the top IUMMSW leaders --involving alleged perjury on the non-Communist affidavits required by theTaft-Hartley "slave labor act", began in Denver. The "conspiracy" indictments
had laid dormant since November 1956 and were
now activated by the Federal government [and the copper bosses] to
coincide with the long expected strike.
We were showing -- with much frequency -- the great Mine-Mill film, SALT OFTHE EARTH -- depicting the bitter, hard-fought, predominately Chicano andultimately successful IUMMSW strike which occurred from October 1950 intoJanuary 1952 against Empire Zinc in Grant County, New Mexico. Its powerfulthemes -- worker rights, minority rights, womens' rights -- are universalfor Any Time. [I still show it today. ] During this Great Copper Strike andthe "Conspiracy Trial", the FBI and other witch-hunters made every effort toprevent our showing the film and holding meetings -- kept some newspapers
from carrying our ads, got some meeting halls
cancelled out from under us,
broke into my car once [the film wasn't
there]. But we always perseveredand continued showing Salt to large
audiences. We showed it in union halls, churches, colleges and
universities, other meeting halls.
In addition to showing SALT, we distributed thousands of the extra-long
copper-colored leaflet, Letter From Arizona Copper Workers, and spoke
extensively on the strike and the "Conspiracy Trial" at many, many regionalmeetings.
Juan Chacon, male lead in SALT and president of the Amalgamated BayardDistrict Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers [Local
890] in Southwestern New Mexico,sent me a very welcome, on-target telegram: "Success will be ours in thelong run." He was right. Mine-Mill won the copper strike
in January 1960 and, although the
IUMMSW leaders were found "guilty" in December 1959 at the hysterical trialat Denver, the United States Supreme Court threw out the convictions in1966. [In fact, Mine Mill won every single Federal case brought againstit.]
While all of this was going on, I was doing my M.A. in Sociology -- and a
good job, if I say so -- very grateful that every one of my professors
supported my Mine Mill work. My Advisor, originally from the Utah copper
country, was extremely encouraging.
But I always got back home to take care of my Kay-Oh-Tay. And he took careof me.
And on that home front, Good -- also widely known by now as "Little
Brother" -- was developing a large following of his own. People came overfrequently to take his photo. Children loved him and he them. And ASUzoology students and profs were regulars with tape recorders to record hishowls. His thick and fluffy tail wagged
But then one day, there were hard knocks on the door. A Tempe police
officer, red-faced and portly, was huffing and puffing. I recognized him asthe son of a woman across the street who I had long suspected was neither afriend of Kay-Oh-Tay Good, nor me.
Pompously, ponderously he informed me that Tempe had a city ordinance
prohibiting possession of wild animals within the city limits. "Get rid of
that coyote or we'll take him away."
Clarence Darrow never did it better. I looked at this Foe -- this pathetic
foe -- and grinned. "What do you mean, coyote?" I asked. "He's a dog."
The cop uttered a profanity. "Well," said I. "Hang on a moment and I'll
damn well prove he's a dog."
I brought out the Coconino County dog tag certificate that good Dr Keithlyhad given me [along with the dog tag] when Good had gotten his rabies shot.It clearly identified Good as a male dog.
"Legally registered as a dog," said I. "Go fight it out with Coconino."
There was a long silence from the officer. Then, turning, he snarled, "I'm
seeing the City Attorney."
I went to see Jim Struckmeyer, also of Tempe, a good lawyer friend whosefather was Chief Justice of the Arizona State Supreme Court. Jim
complimented me on my handling of the situation and assured me of his
assistance should that ever be needed -- which he doubted. Never heard
another word on any of that.
I was in Flagstaff for a visit. A physician friend of my folks and an
accomplishedphotographer, took a number of excellent photos of Kay-Oh-Tay Good. LittleBrother's impressive coat was long, gray,
silver-tipped. All of this took place in ourgarage, into which we had packed large quantities of snow and a blue clothbackdrop and a myriad of pine tree branches. A year later, my folks saw awildlife photo magazine with Good on the cover. The doctor's award-winning
photo and yarn was that he'd waited patiently for many hours by a remote waterhole.
In May, I finished all of my M.A. work -- and became the first person to getthat particular graduate degree in Sociology at ASU. I paid $25.00 --
foregoing the opportunity to hear Barry Goldwater as commencement speaker --and had my [copper colored] diploma mailed to me.
And by then I was at work in an extremely remote and isolated area right onthe Arizona/New Mexico border. On the Arizona side loomed the WhiteMountains; in New Mexico, the Mogollons. To the south lay the
Clifton/Morenci copper mining district.
And then, admittedly with initial shock, I realized that Little Brother had
She came to us, tentatively at first in the late afternoons and then more
boldly -- a small yellowish Arizona female coyote. And Good was at first
And then they went off together -- but he came back. And then, one day, hedidn't.
For what was left of that Summer, they were seen several times by
cowpunchers and miners and woodsmen: the big coyote male -- with his
leather collar and his tag -- and the small female. Word had spread fast and
no onewould conceive of harming them. A year later, Summer of '61, a
younger brother ofmine riding his horse about ten miles from where Good had departed withfinality, saw Kay-Oh-Tay come out of some pine trees and follow him. By nowthe collar and the tag and the female were gone. My brother fed him biscuits.
Then Good moved on.
And in that Summer of '61, Eldri and I left Arizona for Mississippi and the
beginning of our Great Adventure. Driving of all things, the 1957 Arizona
champion drag strip car -- with surrealistic designs painted on both sides
and pulling a smallish U-Haul trailer -- we went slowly eastward through NewMexico and then Texas and finally Louisiana on the second night. There, themists rose and flowed from the very ground like ghostly armies. About 2a.m. we passed through the border town of Tallulah and then hit theMississippi River, traveling the old and long and relatively narrow bridge.
Suddenly, my headlights picked up the images of men standing on the
Vicksburg, Mississippi end. As we drew closer, they came into the center ofthe bridge, one of them holding up his hand to stop us. They were heavilyarmed.
We stopped. They looked us over very carefully -- checked the basic insideof our trailer. Then they charged us one dollar toll and coldly waved us on-- on into Mississippi.
I remembered, of course, the New Mexico state police officer whose face
exploded into a whole complex of a million friendly lines when he saw my
And I missed then so very deeply -- and I still do -- my Kay-Oh-Tay Good, myLittle Brother always.
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR] Micmac/St Francis Abenaki/St
When you cut to the bone and cut away the college degrees, academic andother titles, published books and articles, ours is essentially a workingclass and Indian family. We consistently join unions -- and we alwayssupport them with the greatest vigor.
It's critical to always keep fighting -- and to always remember that, if one
lives with grace, he/she should be prepared to die with grace.