MEDICINE OF PLANTS

Once, in the beginning…  animals, and people lived together in harmony and talked with each other. However, when mankind began to increase at a rapid pace,  the animals were pushed and crowded into forests and deserts. Man began to kill four-footed’s for their skins and furs,  not just for food that was much needed. The animals… angry at such treatment by those whom they had befriended…  decided they must punish such greedy mankind. The Bear tribe met in council. This was led by Chief Old White Bear. After many Bears had spoken against humankind and their bloody ways,  war was agreed upon. But what kind of weapons would the Bears use? Chief Old White Bear suggested that the human’s weapon,  the bow, and arrow, should be used against him. The council all agreed. While the Bears worked and made bows and arrows,  they wondered what to use for bowstrings. One […] Read More

How to Scare a Bear (Tewa)

Long ago and far away this did not happen. On top of Red Rock Hill, lived a little rabbit. Prickly pears were his favorite food, and every day he would hunt for them along the east bank of the Rio Grande. Eventually, he ate all the prickly pears along that bank, so he cast his hungry eyes across the river. He said to himself, “I’ll bet plenty of them grow over there. Now, how am I going to get across the river to look?” The rabbit knew the river was too deep and too wide for him to swim on his own, and he sighed, “Oh, how I wish that Uncle Fast Water, who moves the current, were here to take me across.” Fast Water heard and replied, “Child, I’m lying right here. What can I do for you?” The little rabbit leaped toward the sound. “Uncle, so this […] Read More

Coyote keeps his Name

(OKANANAGON) One time the Great Spirit called all the Animal people together.  They came from all over the earth to one camp and set up their lodges.  Spirit Chief said there was going to be a change; there was to be a new kind of people. He told all the Animal people they would now each have a name. “Some of you have names already; some have no names.  Tomorrow, however, everyone will have a name.  This name will be yours forever, for all your descendants.  In the morning you must come to my lodge and choose a name for yourself.  The first one to come may choose any name he wants.  The next person will take any other name.  That is how it will go.  And to each person, I will give a responsibility.” All the Animal people wanted to have powerful names and to be well-known. They wanted to be first at Old Man’s […] Read More

Bear Legend

Cherokee In the long-ago time, there was a Cherokee Clan call the Ani-Tsa-gu-hi (Ahnee-Jah-goo-hee), and in one family of this clan was a boy who used to leave home and be gone all day in the mountains. After a while, he went oftener and stayed longer, until at last, he would not eat in the house at all, but started off at daybreak and did not come back until night. His parents scolded, but that did no good, and the boy still went every day until they noticed that long brown hair was beginning to grow out all over his body. Then they wondered and asked him why it was that he wanted to be so much in the woods that he would not even eat at home. Said the boy, “I find plenty to eat there, and it is better than the corn and beans we have in […] Read More

The Bear Warrior: A Native American Myth

One of my favorite Native American myths growing up was that of the Bear Warrior. According to legend, the warrior desperately wanted to find love. However, he did not want to be loved for his good looks, his family’s wealth, or even his skills. He wanted to be loved for his heart. The warrior prayed for guidance in finding his true love. In response, the Great Spirit turned the brave into a bear. “I don’t understand,” cried the young brave. “What did I do wrong? Is it bad to pray for true love?” The Great Spirit sent a deer to explain his actions to the warrior. “You said you didn’t want to be loved for your good looks, your family’s wealth, or your skills,” said deer. “In this form you will not be.” “But what maiden will want to marry a bear?” questioned the warrior. “I can’t even go home in this form. If I do, I will be […] Read More