“How Coyote happened to make the black moss food”




Reading Mourning Dove’s Coyote Stories, ERNEST learned about an edible black moss foraged by the First Nations in the Pacific Northwest. In Mourning Dove’s story How Coyote happened to make the black moss food, Coyote – after a series of misadventures, of course – gets caught up in a tree and has to cut off some of his fur to get down, leaving it behind in the tree. Coyote transforms his hair into wila (Bryoria fremontii), a black lichen, and declares that it should not go to waste. Rather, people should gather and eat it.

Wila is foraged from conifer branches and traditionally prepared by soaking it and cooking it in a pit. Send us your wila recipes, if you have ’em! Here’s the wikipedia entry.