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“We learn the ways of life from the Bear; it revealed the potato to us when we watched it dig it up from the ground and eat it. If you watch and follow the bear, you can gain much knowledge. “
Native American shaman describing mans relationship with the bear.
Throughout history the Bear has been a significant creature, a symbol of raw courage and power both admired and feared by man. It is not without good reason that the heavenly guardian of the wandering traveller, Ursa Major – the great Bear, points to the North Star as an ever watchful sentinel boldly guiding our way through even in the darkest night .
The wise men of America’s first nation knew full well that whatever Bear will eat is good for humans too. It may not be socially acceptable to eat the insects that Bear finds under trees, but they would not do us any harm it we did and like us when Bear goes looking for fish, he doesn’t look for the perch, he looks for the salmon and the trout - the best! When he goes looking for the berries, the ones he chooses to eat are all the ones that are good for us humans too. When Bear has a head ache he sits and rubs a willow tree, scratching off its bark and eating it. The wise old men saw this and when they had a head ache they copied Bear and their head aches disappeared for willow bark contains the active ingredients of aspirin.
Like the wisest of our ancestors we would do well to learn from Bear and all our cousin creatures be they great or small - We should learn to look for the Bear necessities.
This is why Bearclaw Bushcraft has adopted the Bear Totem, for we like all our students and friends, would know the wisdom the wise ones who went before us. We would learn to travel by the Great Bear’s ever guiding light and in so doing learn the lessons that he would teach us about nature and the natural world around us.