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The Significance of Brown Bears in Native American Culture

The most common bears in the entire world are brown bears. It’s mostly found in the forest and mountains of North America, Europe, and Asia. Brown bears follow the omnivorous diet. They have a diet that consists of nut from fruits, fruits and leaves. Bears also eat rodents and sometimes even moose. This is no wonder we run for the hills when we see an adult brown bear. They are sturdy and are ‘top-of-the-food-chain’ predators. Though they are massive and can very well protect each other, they are also solitary creatures; except for a mother and her cub. They gather together only in spring when the salmon swim upstream.

The Brown Bear: Legends, Stories, and Culture

The brown bear is enormous, yet they can run 30 to 40 kph. They are easily startled and are hostile, especially when you threaten a mother or her cub. That fierce protectiveness is one of the reasons the Native American culture is fascinated with this magnificent beast that they associate themselves with it. Courage, strength, protection, and family, these are the characteristics that represent the brown bear in the Native American culture. The brown bear symbolizes of fierceness and gentleness. They have respected this mammal and acknowledged it as a part of the tribe and culture.

Many stories and legends can be heard about the brown bear. Each has different meanings. Each shows various characteristics, and each shows the village history and belief — this range from motherhood to the changing of seasons and back to one’s strength and abilities. The brown bears’ significance in the Native American culture has been so vast that it has become a symbol of motherhood. How a mother bear protects its cub can be seen within the Native American culture. The fierce protectiveness and the sheer determination to keep her cubs’ safe displays how the tribe’s people protect their tribe members. They are a magnificent hunter, and this has reflected still in the lives of the Native American people. The ability to sustain and survive through harsh environments, especially during winters, is similar too.

The brown bears bring an understanding of the seasons to the natives as well. Seasons were a manifestation of life, and it has guided the Native American culture throughout. When the earth buds another breath, then you can see the bears wake up from hibernation. During fall you can see the bears hunt; the Native American culture takes this as a sign to prepare for the winter up ahead.

The Bear Symbolizes Strength

It is an honor for someone in the tribe to be given a name that has a bear in it. It shows that the tribe’s men have seen your courage, strength, and protectiveness to your family and the tribe. Usually, this is given to people who stood up and took responsibility for the family when undergoing a grave loss. And some are from experiences of having encountered this magnificent beast and yet have lived to be able to tell the tale. Sometimes, simply because people saw the strength in a particular individual, they are given a bear name. Whatever the reason may be. The brown bear has become a symbol of freedom and power in the Native American Culture.        

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