Coyote is a clown in the natural world, and in many Native American tribes he is known as that of trickster, shapeshifter, transformer. Navajo never kill Coyote because it accompanied the first man and woman into the entrance of the first physical world. Another legend depicts the Coyote as a bringer of life and a new birth symbol. Shoshoni believed the Coyote would bring natural shifts in balance, causing an end. It is like a "way-maker" of new direction as it went about its symbolic role of representing the cycle of life/death in nature.
(Condensed highlights from volumes of info about animal totem characteristics. Hope you'll investigate further on your own)