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Native American Cherokee and the American Black Bear

     The Native American Cherokee have many legends about the Black Bear and a tribe that claims

American Black Bear full mount, Credit to Dan Brown
 kinship with them.  The legend of the Ani Tsa' gu hi clan is a story of how one clan joined the black bears in the mountains where food was plenty, while another legend speaks about a great bear and its pursuing hunters ending up in the constellations now known to be the Big Dipper.  The blue link above provides more common legends (Cherokee myths, 1996).

     Along with legends, the Cherokee also believe in bear medicine, yona nvwati.  Bear medicine is not the ingestion of any of their anatomical parts, as in some cultures, but rather, the finding of ones self through reflection and meditation.  The reflection also includes paying attention to ones dreams and learning to interpret and understand them.  The Cherokee have medicine related to many animals, research more here (Bear medicine, 2008).

The healing properties of bears

     The healing properties that bears are thought to possess are known throughout many cultures and believed to have been originated in the paleolithic period.  The Ancient Greeks related Artemis with the bear because of its self-healing properties.  Also, many plants associated with natural medicinal properties have 'bear' in their name, such as bear root and bear clover, among others (Bear medicine, 2006).

     Some cultures believe so strongly in these properties that the worlds bear populations are threatened by over demand.  The market of body parts, most famously the gallbladder, is so rich that China has started bear farms with what is left of their native bear species, much like their fur farms.  What demand there is that cannot be met by the farms are being poached from here, in the United States, and Canada (Bear parts trade).

     The American Black bear is both revered and coveted.  Finally gaining a foothold back into its natural habitat, where generations before us clear cutted their homes and drove them to extirpation, now the Black Bear has to face an increasing tide of poaching for the unproven medicinal values applied to its gallbladder and bile, as well as, the apparently delicious, delicacy of their paws (Bear parts trade).

Did you know?

Black Bear licking peanut butter off an antenna at a Canadian dump, credit to Dan Brown

Black Bear at a Canadian dump, credit to Dan Brown

 - Bears are omnivorous
 - Black Bears are excellent tree climbers
 - The average Black Bear can push around a full-size dumpster as easily as we push around shopping carts
 - The bait used to attract bears for hunting consists of old donuts and assorted candies (i.e. gummies), among other things
 - Commonly known as shy, Black Bears can become desensitized to humans through intentional and unintentional feeding
 - Bears love peanut butter
 - Bears have poor eye sight but can smell for miles
 - Bears make a snack out of garbage and unmanaged dump sights are common dinner areas and the garbage trucks serve as dinner bells
 - Poor physical condition will prevent a sow from going into estrus

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