Another story told to me by an elder Owera
Kahrhakon:ha ( Windhawk)
about the Origin of the Bear Medicine Clan.
Once upon a time, a sickly old man, covered
with sores, entered an
Indian village where over each wigwam was placed the sign of their particular clan.
For example, the Beaver Clan member had a beaver skin, and
the Deer Clan had a Deer skin hanging near the doorway.
The old man went to each door asking for food
and lodging. However,
everyone was repulsed by this old man's appearance and were afraid to let him near.
The Wolf, Turtle, and Heron Clan members all told him to go away.
The deer, the snipe, and the others did the same.
Just about the time this man was to give up, he came to the home of an old woman
....of the Bear Clan. She was a kindly old woman who asked him to come into her wigwam
and she made him a bed of skins to lie upon.
The woman asked the man about his health, and he told her to go
to the forest and gather certain herbs, barks,
and berries. The woman went to the forest and collected all that she was told.
...She prepared a potion according to the Old Man's instructions and he miraculously healed.
However, the man suddenly had another ailment. She again went to the woods and
fields and brought back all the herbs, and continued in this manner until the man
had shown her the cures to all the ailments.
This went on for days until the Woman of the
Bear Clan had learned
all the cures and portions. His last instruction were for her to grow a Hemlock Tree
in front of her wigwam. The Woman was amazed at how tall this tree grew
....in a short time. It stood well above all the other trees in the village. The Hemlock could
.....be seen and identified her wigwam as a place of healing. The Old Man suddenly changed
into a much younger, strong man. He then revealed to the Old Woman that he was
the Great Spirit. He had come to find a worthy receiver of the powers of Medicine.
Since the Bear Clan Woman was the only one who would offer him food and shelter
, she was given the gift of healing
, and Bear Clan is still The Keepers of Medicine today. Bear takes precedence
...over all the other clans in power, because they are said to have compassion for human life,
as told to me by an elder owera kahrhakon:ha( Windhawk)
.....Histories were passed on orally from
generation to generation. These legends have been
...repeated by thousands of men and women, and naturally were modified by their storyteller.
....Incidents can be changed, omitted, or embellished. No one version of these tales is told.
They vary from tribe to tribe, but major themes are consistant.