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The Pomo Bear Doctors

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posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 09:45 PM
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While reading up on Native Californian culture, I came across a fascinating aspect of Native Californian culture, the Bear Doctors of the Pomo.
By the time anthropologist were able to record these customs, they had become somehat legendary, and full of mystery.
So who are the Pomo and what is a bear doctor.




The Pomo people are an indigenous people of California. The historic Pomo territory in northern California was large, bordered by the Pacific Coast to the west, extending inland to Clear Lake, and mainly between Cleone and Duncans Point. One small group, the Northeastern Pomo of the Stonyford vicinity of Colusa County, was separated from the core Pomo area by lands inhabited by Yuki and Wintuan speakers. The name Pomo derives from a conflation of the Pomo words [pʰoːmoː] and [pʰoʔmaʔ].[1] It originally meant "those who live at red earth hole" and was once the name of a village in southern Potter Valley near the present-day community of Pomo.[2] It may have referred to local deposits of the red mineral magnesite, used for red beads, or to the reddish earth and clay such as hematite mined in the area.[3] In the Northern Pomo dialect, -pomo or -poma was used as a suffix after the names of places, to mean a subgroup of people of the place.[4] By the year 1877 (possibly beginning with Powers), the use of Pomo had been extended in English to mean the entire people known today as the Pomo.[3]


en.m.wikipedia.org...

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posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 09:59 PM
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And the Bear Doctor?

It might explain the Bear in the California flag / emblem.


edit on 7/12/13 by Ramcheck because: typo



posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 10:00 PM
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And what are bear doctors?

One of the most concrete and persistent convictions of the Indians of a large part of California is the belief in the existence of persons of magic power able to turn themselves into grizzly bears. Such shamans are called "bear doctors" by the English-speaking Indians and their American neighbors. The belief is obviously a locally colored variant of the widespread were-wolf superstition, which is not yet entirely foreign to the emotional life of civilized peoples. The California Indians had worked out their form of this concept very definitely. Thus Dr. Kroeber says: 1

p. 444

A special class of shamans found to a greater or less extent among probably all the Central tribes, though they are wanting both in the Northwest and the South, are the so-called bear doctors, shamans who have received power from grizzly bears, often by being taken into the abode of these animals—which appear there in human form,—and who after their return to mankind possess many of the qualities of the grizzly bear, especially his apparent invulnerability to fatal attack. The bear shamans can not only assume the form of bears, as they do in order to inflict vengeance on their enemies, but it is believed that they can be killed an indefinite number of times when in this form and each time return to life. In some regions, as among the Pomo and Yuki, the bear shaman was not thought as elsewhere to actually become a bear, but to remain a man who clothed himself in the skin of a bear to his complete disguisement, and by his malevolence, rapidity, fierceness, and resistance to wounds to be capable of inflicting greater injury than a true bear. Whether any bear shamans actually attempted to disguise themselves in this way to accomplish their ends is doubtful. It is certain that all the members of some tribes believed it to be in their power.

Pomo beliefs differ rather fundamentally from those here summarized. In the first place, the Pomo appear to know nothing of the magician acquiring his power from the bears themselves. Since they ascribe no guardian spirit to him, he is scarcely a shaman in the strict sense of the word. The current term "doctor," misleading as it may seem at first sight, may therefore be conveniently retained as free from the erroneous connotation that "shaman" would involve.

In the second place, the power of the doctor was thought to reside wholly in his bearskin suit, or parts thereof, and apparently was considered the result of an elaborate ceremony performed in its manufacture and subsequent donning. This distinctly ritualistic side of the bear doctor's practices removes him still more clearly from the class of the true shaman.

Thirdly, there is a detailed Pomo tradition of the origin of bear doctors. This story is cast in the mold of a myth; in fact, its initial portions may be taken from the current mythology of the tribe. Other parts are, however, remarkably unmythical and matter of fact. The resultant whole is therefore rather incongruous, and, in the form recorded, may have been somewhat influenced by the speculations of an individual. But the events which it describes agree so closely with the beliefs which the Pomo at large entertain concerning the practices of recent bear doctors that the question of the extent of the prevalence of the myth among the group is of less importance than the insight which the tale affords into the Pomo mind. Its many specific references make it a suitable introduction to the presentation of the other data secured.

p. 445

These peculiarities render a comparison of Pomo bear-doctor beliefs with those of other Californian groups desirable, but the published data from elsewhere are unfortunately too fragmentary to make such a study profitable at present. It has only seemed feasible to append some comparisons with Yuki and Miwok beliefs.

It may be added that the statements which constitute the body of this paper are the statements of native informants cited as representative of their convictions, and not as the opinions of the author. The degree to which the reputed practices of bear doctors were actually practiced is far from clear, as Dr. Kroeber has stated. Whether, however, they rest mainly, partly, or not at all on reality, they furnish interesting psychological material.


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A Pomo man in his bear doctor costume.

They were really shaman, per SE, but more of a predatory secret scociety.


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posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 10:08 PM
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More about bear doctors



ACQUISITION OF POWER

Even as late as the closing years of the nineteenth century many of the Pomo were convinced that bear doctors were still active; this in spite of the fact that the whites had at that time long possessed complete control of the entire region, and had succeeded, purposely or otherwise, in suppressing most of the aboriginal practices of the Indians. Evidently the belief was a deeply rooted one in the native mind. On the other hand, since the nefariousness of the alleged practices would cause them to be carefully concealed, there are now some Pomo skeptics who maintain that bear doctors never existed.

Both men and women of middle or old age could become bear doctors, the same name 14 being applied to both. In fact, it is said that women sometimes made, very successful bear doctors; even a woman so old and feeble that she could hardly walk would acquire great powers of endurance and swiftness through this magic.

It is said that a bear doctor always learned from an old person who was or had been one. The training for both men and women was precisely the same and they were on a par in every way. A female bear doctor could not operate during her menstrual period, but a male bear doctor was similarly restricted by the menstrual periods of both his wife and his female assistant or the other female members of his household. He was even prohibited from going near his bear hiding-place during his wife's menstruation. The periods of other members of his household also restricted him. 15

No specific fee was paid for instruction in bear-doctoring, but the instructor was given a large share, usually one-half, of the spoils obtained by the new doctor in his murders. Also he could command the assistance and protection of his pupil, who must stand ready, if necessary, to lay down his life for his instructor. Each bear doctor selected some friend to whom he willed his entire outfit and whom he instructed fully in its use. Upon his death this protegé took possession of the paraphernalia and the hiding place of his friend and used them as he saw fit.

p. 453

A bear doctor might "catch" a man who was out in some lonely spot, particularly a solitary hunter, take him to his hiding place, and teach him his secrets. 16 Particularly was this the case if the bear doctor happened to be a man possessed of few friends, since it was thought necessary for him to will his paraphernalia to some one. Stories are told of specific instances in which persons have been thus made captive and instructed. Thus:

An old she-bear caught a young hunter from a village in the Santa Rosa Valley. She first jumped out upon him from her hiding place and frightened him badly. She rolled him about on the ground and made as if to kill him. Though greatly frightened, the boy made no outcry, but watched her closely. Finally she sat astride him for quite a long time and the boy ceased to be alarmed. She then led him away over the long journey to her hiding place on a high, rocky peak east of Santa Rosa. On the way they heard, late in the afternoon, the people down in the valley calling his name as they searched everywhere for him.

Finally they arrived at the bear's cave in the rocks, where she had a bed of moss and leaves just as a bear usually does in its den. In the early part of the evening the boy became homesick and fearful of his fate and began to cry. It was then that the bear doctor revealed herself. She removed her suit, showing her human form, and said to him: "I did not catch you to kill you. I desire only to show you how we become bear doctors and instruct you in our magic. Only human beings live in this section of the mountains. In the morning I shall place my bearskin suit upon you and you shall practice bear-doctoring." This did not, however, reassure and comfort the boy, and he continued to sob and weep during the greater part of the night, despite the repeated assurances of the bear doctor that she would not harm him, but was, on the other hand, just like an elder sister to him and wished to teach him powerful magic. She finally prepared a good meal for him and he forgot his fright and, temporarily, his own people.

During the night she taught him her songs, and at daybreak began to instruct him in the ritual of donning the suit. This, of course, required that he should completely strip himself. At first he was much ashamed, but the bear doctor told him that he must not be, any more than if he were only exposing his nose.

About midday, this part of the instruction being finished, she put her own suit on him and gave him his first practice. She told him to first jump four times along the ground and then jump up and try to catch a high limb of a near-by tree, trying repeatedly until he could catch the limb. Then he would be able to do anything that she could.

She then stepped back, looked him over, and smiled at him. This made him conscious and he hung his head and did not move until she commanded him to jump. At first he jumped only short distances, but he continued his practice for four days, each day donning the suit with the elaborately regulated ritual, and finding, each day, that he could jump a little farther and a little higher than on the previous one. At last he succeeded in reaching the limb and in jumping down at one jump and back to the starting point in four more.

His tutor rejoiced at his success, and said: "Now you will succeed in every

p. 454

way and enjoy good luck, secure plenty of beads and other goods, be able to travel far and possess great endurance."

She then gave him a complete outfit and told him that he would thereafter procure an easy living and wealth if he would use it and observe the secret rites she had taught him. She, herself, had acquired great quantities of property—beads, food, and other commodities—which she stored in her hiding place.

A bear doctor was not permitted to kill more than four people in one year, upon penalty of the loss of his magic power and consequent capture upon his attempt to kill the fifth.

Footnotes

452:14 The bear doctor was known to the Pomo as gauk būrakal, "human bear." Būrakal specifically denotes the grizzly bear. The brown or cinnamon bear is lima, but black individuals, which we reckon as of the same species, were called ciyō būrakal, "black grizzly bears," by the Pomo.

452:15 It would appear that restriction depended rather upon co-residence than blood kinship. The extent to which the taboo might accordingly affect a bear doctor's activities will be realized when we reflect that it was customary for several related families to reside in one house, each family having its own door and each two families a separate fire. In the center of the house was the common baking pit.

453:16 Usually, however, a person caught in this way was used as a "head rest" and servant, it is said, and received no instruction whatever.


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The fact that there was a limit on how many people a bear doctor could kill show how ritualistic the whole affair was.

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posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 10:12 PM
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One of the more interesting fascets of this story is the use of an assistant in these events. And that they managed to keep it secret from the rest of the villiage

ASSISTANTS

A bear doctor must always be assisted by some one. He usually hired some female relative who could be trusted to secrecy. She wove for him the water baskets which formed part of his costume and cooked for him the special food which he must eat while operating as a bear doctor. She must observe the same restrictions as the bear doctor himself, abstaining from meat or foods containing blood in any form, and also from sexual intercourse. The evil consequences of a violation of these restrictions did not befall her, but the bear doctor himself was sure to be killed in combat or captured, which meant certain death at the hands of an outraged populace.

This assistant was never the bear doctor's wife, but the wife, if he had one, must remain abed in the morning until the sun was high and the bear doctor was well on his way from his hiding place. She might then rise and go about her daily routine as usual. If he had no wife, his female assistant must observe this restriction for him.

In making a suit, it was necessary for a bear doctor to have an assistant who not only helped in the actual construction of the suit but also sang the long series of songs required during the ceremony when the suit was first put on.



posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 10:20 PM
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After finding a suitable assistant, the bear doctor needed, hiding place.

Since custom prescribed that every person leaving a village told where he was going and the purpose of his mission, it was difficult for a bear doctor to get away, undetected, for the pursuit of his nefarious practices. All his preparations must, therefore, be made in perfect secrecy. Very frequently he gave as an excuse for his absence that he intended to go in search of manzanita berries or hunting in some distant locality, sometimes announcing a stay of several days. Since he was forbidden to partake of food or water on the morning of the day he wore the bear costume, he usually ate and drank heartily the night before, and repaired to his hiding place before daybreak. To lend color to his excuses, he usually brought home some game or berries. As a rule these were not handled at all while wearing the bear suit, although apparently it was believed that no penalty was attached to doing so.

They went to almost ninj like lengths to remain secret.

Whenever possible a bear doctor found some natural cave or secluded spot in a deep canon, or in the most rugged mountains. If necessary, he dug a cavern, as related in the foregoing myth, taking care to scatter the fresh earth about in such a manner that it would not be detected. Such a place of seclusion was called yēlimo, būrakal yēlīmo, or kabē ga.

Near by a level "practice" ground, called cīyō xe gai, literally "bear dance place," was prepared, where, the weather permitting, the bear doctor performed the ceremonies connected with donning his suit. In bad weather these rites were performed in the sheltered cavern. This practice ground was simply a level place in the bottom of a canon near the cavern. It was an elliptical clearing about twenty feet long by ten to fifteen feet wide. No trail led to it, the bear doctor and his assistant exercising the greatest care to obscure as much as possible every evidence of their movements, not even a broken twig being left about as a clue.





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posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 10:26 PM
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Upon finding a suitable hiding spot the bear doctor was able to craft the bear suit

The suit of the bear doctor, called gawī, was made as follows: First, an openwork basket was woven of white oak twigs to fit the head and with openings for eyes, nose, and mouth. Disks of abalone shell with small openings to permit actual vision were fitted into the eye openings in the basket. This basket served as a foundation over which to place the skin of the bear's head. It was made so that it exactly fitted the wearer's head and remained in place even when he moved violently. The covering of this helmet, as also the outer covering for the rest of the body, was usually made of real grizzly bear skin, though a net covered with soaproot fiber was sometimes used. The skin of the bear's head was shaped, but not stuffed, so as to retain its proper form, the eye-holes of the skin being made to fit the shell-filled eye-holes in the basket. The remainder of the bearskin was fitted exactly to the body, arms, and legs so as to perfectly hide every part of the body and give the wearer the appearance of a grizzly.




When soaproot fiber was used in making the bear doctor's suit, a

p. 456

fine net was first woven and thickly covered with shredded soaproot fiber (ap tsida). This was woven entirely in one piece and so arranged as to completely cover the wearer from head to foot, including the basketry helmet just mentioned. It laced in front.

A low shoe, with the sole rounded and shaped somewhat like that of a bear's foot, was worn. This shoe was made of woven basketry held between two hoops and so arranged that the foot went between the two sections, which were attached directly to the costume. It was said that sometimes, also, similarly shaped shoes were placed upon the hands. At other times nothing was worn on either hands or feet.

Before donning the suit an "armor" of shell beads was put on. Four belts covered the abdomen. Each was about six inches wide and made of a different size and form of beads. One, called hmūki, covered the umbilicus. The other three, which were placed one above the other, completely covered the remainder of the abdomen, chest, and back up to the armpits, and were called respectively kibūkal, catanī kūtsa, and tadatada. The last protected the heart, and was made of very large, discoidal beads. Ordinarily these bead belts were woven in the usual way. Sometimes, however, one or more of the four was covered without by a layer of woodpecker scalps. Strings of shell beads were wound closely about the arms from wrist to shoulder and the legs were similarly covered. All these beads served as a protection against arrows in case the bear doctor was attacked by hunters.



A type of body armor, made of wooden rods and used in open warfare, is said to have been sometimes used by bear doctors. This consisted of two layers of rods obtained from the snowdrop bush (bakol), each rod being about the size of a lead pencil. These were bound together with string, one layer of rods being placed vertically and the other horizontally, in such a manner as to make a very close and effective armor.

Two globose, three-rod foundation baskets, called kūtc tcadōtcadoī, and each about three inches in diameter, were half filled with water and each encased tightly in a closely woven fabric made of milkweed fiber cord, or in a casing of rawhide. One was then tied, inside the bearskin suit, just under each jaw or under each armpit. In the soap-root fiber suit, small pockets were woven on its inner surface for their reception. The swashing of the water made a sound (pluk, pluk, pluk, pluk) resembling that of the viscera of a bear as he moves along. Sometimes, instead of these baskets, a slightly larger pair of plain-twining were tied one at each side at the waist. The doctor never

p. 457

wore more than one pair at a time and never wore a single basket alone. Canoe-form baskets ten or twelve inches long and with unusually small openings were sometimes carried in place of the small, globose baskets above mentioned. They were sometimes filled with water, as were the small baskets, and at other times were used as receptacles for beads, berries, or other commodities.


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posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 10:37 PM
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In the course of his hunting , the bear doctor used an antler and obsidian knife. The antler knife is a fearsome looking weapon.


I could find no image of the obsidian knive, but I'm sure they were adequately damaging.


A bear doctor usually carried one and sometimes two elk-horn daggers, called bōō a, literally "elk horn." Such a dagger was from six to ten inches in length and was made by pounding at its base and breaking off the large end point of an elk antler and sharpening its tip. It was rubbed on a grinding stone and smoothed throughout its length and a hole was bored in its base through which a loop about two feet long was passed for suspending it about the neck or from the belt. This loop was always of string, as this is not affected by dampness.

Obsidian or flint knives, called bat!, were sometimes used in addition to or in place of the elk-horn dagger. The blade of such a knife was made by first striking the larger flakes from it with a hammer stone and then chipping its edges with an antler chipping tool. This blade was set into a split oak handle and bound securely with string, but was not pitched. Both of these were thrusting weapons.

Other weapons were sometimes used, even the stone pestle being employed as a weapon.

Bear doctors often operated in pairs, and sometimes in greater numbers. They frequently deployed so as to cover a considerable area in their hunt, and had a method of intercommunication. If a prospective victim was sighted at some distance, the bear doctor stood erect on the top of the nearest ridge, with his back turned directly toward him. This signal brought the other bear doctors into positions to surround the victim. Informants maintain that in the actual attack a bear doctor frequently stood unconcernedly, near the path of his victim, and with his back toward him until he was quite near. He then whirled and attacked suddenly. They stated that this was also the method of attack of a real bear.

p. 458

It is said that the only way to overcome a bear doctor was to seize his head or shoulders and jerk off his helmet. This completely removed his magic power. The story is told that Kamachi, a very brave and powerful man formerly living at the Yorkville Rancheria, mistook two real bears for bear doctors, attacked them in this manner, and finally succeeded in killing them.

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posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 10:41 PM
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The act of donning the suit was wrapped in ritual and ceremony.



When the suit was put on for the first time by the bear doctor, the following elaborate ceremony was performed. The assistant took up his position in the center of the practice ground, having on one side of him four hundred counting sticks, each about the size of a lead pencil, nicely arranged in even rows. Directly in front of him was the entire bear doctor 's suit, except the beads and bead belts; that is, the basketry helmet, the bearskin garment, the two water baskets, the dagger of elk antler, and the obsidian knife. These were the articles which were strictly ceremonial, and which must never be handled by women or children for the reason that they were the property of the particular supernatural beings under whose patronage the bear doctor operated and whose powers were invoked for his success, especially by means of a long series of ritualistic songs sung by his assistant during the ceremony of donning the suit, now to be described.


The ceremony is almost obsessive/compulsive in it's ritual.

While the assistant sang the ritualistic songs, the bear doctor who was to wear the suit danced up toward it four times each from each of the four cardinal points in the following order: north, west, south, and east. Each time the dancer advanced toward the suit, the singer raised above his head one counter from the one side and as the dancer receded placed it on his opposite side. Thus this portion of the ceremony took sixteen counters. Having thus approached the suit four times the sacred number four, the dancer picked up with his left hand the basketry helmet and danced with it four times around the practice ground, the singer keeping tally with the necessary four sticks. He then danced four times up toward and back from the place on the practice ground where he intended to temporarily place this object, so using another four counters. Thus there were used in all with this one object twenty-four counters.




He did precisely the same with each of the remaining five articles of the suit. Thus one hundred and forty-four counters were transferred from the original group to the singers opposite side.

p. 459

He next took all six of these articles in both hands and performed the same cycle of twenty-four dance movements that was employed in handling each separately, so using one hundred and sixty-eight counters up to this point.

He then repeated this entire cycle of one hundred and sixty-eight dance movements in precisely the same order and manner as just described, but using the right hand instead of the left, thus using three hundred and thirty-six counters up to this point.

He next repeated all the foregoing movements exactly in reverse order in every respect; taking up the articles in reverse order and dancing toward the cardinal points in reverse order and using the hands in reverse order, thus using six hundred and seventy-two counters up to this point.

He finally took the entire suit in both hands and went around the practice ground four times in a clockwise direction and then four times in a contra-clockwise direction, thus using in all six hundred and eighty counters, indicative of that number of separate movements, or rather one hundred and seventy distinct types of movements each repeated four times.



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posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 10:47 PM
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During the rituals the assistant sang to call to the spirits.

Throughout this entire ceremony the assistant sang ritualistic songs invoking, in the ascending order of their importance, the aid of the particular supernatural beings under whose patronage the bear doctor was supposed to be and with whom he came into direct contact. According to one informant, these were, in order, brush-man, rock-man, shade-man, spring-man, pond-man, mountain-man, and sun-man, though a large number of others are also included. 17 In fact, it seems probable that all the spirits of the Pomo world are supposed to be directly concerned. The following were specifically mentioned by the informants:

English

Eastern Dialect

Central Dialect

Mountain-man

danō gak

danō baiya

Water-man

xa gak

ka baiya

Night-man

dūwē gak

īwē baiya

Valley-man

gagō gak

kakō baiya

Brush-man

se gak

see baiya

Rock-man

xabē gak

kabē baiya

Spring-man

gapa gak

gapa baiya

Shade-man

ciyō gak

 

Fire-man

xō gak

hō baiya

p. 460

 

 

Disease-man

gak kalal

ītal baiya

Insanity-man

gak dagōl

dakōl baiya

gūksū

gūksū

kūksū

Whitled-leg widow

kama sīlī dūket mīya

cakū kattciū

Dream-man

marū

marū

Wind-man

yai kī

ya tcatc

Pond-woman

danō kawō

 

Blind-man

ūī bagō

ūī nasai

Sun-man

da tca

 

Sun-woman

da mata

 

Deer-man

bice gaūk

pce tea

To all these he sang songs and made prayers the substance of which usually was: "You know what I am doing. I am doing as you do and using your ways. You must help me and give me good luck."

He sang to and invoked particularly Sun-man because he was an all-seeing deity and knew everything that happened all over the earth, and more particularly because as Sun-man rises with the sun each morning lie comes with his bow and arrow drawn and ready to shoot on sight any wrongdoer. Unless, therefore, Sun-man was propitiated and previously informed of the bear doctor's intentions, he was likely to shoot him just as the sun appeared above the horizon. The substance of his prayer to Sun-man was: "I am going to do as you do. I shall kill people. You must give me good luck.



He sang to and invoked particularly Sun-man because he was an all-seeing deity and knew everything that happened all over the earth, and more particularly because as Sun-man rises with the sun each morning lie comes with his bow and arrow drawn and ready to shoot on sight any wrongdoer. Unless, therefore, Sun-man was propitiated and previously informed of the bear doctor's intentions, he was likely to shoot him just as the sun appeared above the horizon. The substance of his prayer to Sun-man was: "I am going to do as you do. I shall kill people. You must give me good luck.

When the suit was finally put on there was a certain amount of ceremonial procedure. The beads used as armor were first put on the naked body. The arms and legs were closely wound, each with a single long string of beads. The bear doctor then danced around the practice ground four times in a clockwise direction and then four times in a contra-clockwise direction. He next advanced toward and receded from the suit four times each from the north, west, south, and east. He then made four times a motion as if to pick up the suit, and again four times the motion of putting the suit on, after which he donned it and was completely ready for his journey, being endowed with all the supernatural powers of the bear doctor.

Throughout the entire construction of the suit, and also throughout the ceremony connected with putting it on, he turned his head around toward the left after each separate action, such as lifting up or putting down any article and after each dancing up and back toward the suit, or running around the practice ground.

Each subsequent donning of the suit was quite simple. The bear

p. 461

doctor picked up each article separately and made a motion with it four times toward the part of the body it was to cover, turning his head four times to the left after each of these sets of four motions. He then put on the suit and danced in a contra-clockwise direction four times around the practice area or the interior of his cavern, as the case might be, after which he was fully ready for his journey.

In case of inclement weather the bear doctor dressed in the shelter of the cavern, but if the weather was fair this was always done on the practice ground.

In undressing, on the other hand, the bear doctor performed no ceremony at all, but simply took off his suit and carefully laid it away, hanging up in the cavern the bearskin itself to keep it clean. It was necessary that a bear doctor swim immediately upon removing his suit. Still dressed in his bead armor, he went, therefore, to his swimming place, removing the beads and piling them on the bank. This was done so that if discovered he had immediately at hand a treasure with which to buy secrecy. The penalty paid by an informer who had been thus bribed was certain death at the hands of the bear doctor. Upon emerging from the pool, he returned to his cavern, carefully folded the belts and strings of beads and laid each away separately until the suit was again needed.
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posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 10:56 PM
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It seems as though the bear doctors knew the other bear doctors in their area, as did the villiage head man. He was mine to attack as was his family, and he was paid a tribute from the spoils of the attacks , to remain silent.

Informants state that the various bear doctors all over the country knew each other. 18 Two or more of them often met by chance at some spring or other secluded spot in the mountains, and at such times discussed their activities. They might tell each other where they expected to be next month, or what mountain they would use as a hiding place and base of operations next year.

Each bear doctor acted independently and knew no restrictions of any sort so far as his fellows were concerned, nor had he or his relatives any immunity from the attacks of other bear doctors, for one bear doctor might become enraged at another and cause his death or that of some of his relatives.

The only persons who were immune from these attacks were the captain of the village and his immediate family. He knew all the, bear doctors and received a share of their spoils in consideration for his friendly protection.

p. 462

Any bear doctor or person who knew all the secrets of bear doctoring usually took his relatives, or, at any rate, certain of them, to this hiding place and showed them enough of his secrets so that they would lose their fear of bear doctors and not be frightened when they heard of the death of some one through an attack by bears. Such partially initiated persons always mourned the loss of the victim as did the rest of the people, but were not, in reality, afraid of the bear doctors.



posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 10:57 PM
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reply to post by punkinworks10
 


That's what I've got, I hope other enjoy the story as much as I did.



posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 10:59 PM
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Ramcheck
And the Bear Doctor?

It might explain the Bear in the California flag / emblem.


edit on 7/12/13 by Ramcheck because: typo


I part it does, the California grizzly was so numerous and aggressive, that they had huge influence on the natives. Also it was the grizzly that kept the Spanish at bay for almost a century. And by the time the state was formed the cal grizzly had become almost legendary.



posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 11:26 PM
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Living in close proximity to those bears the bear doctors sounds like a myth of how the bears and humans found their own place in the land and the rules for their interactions. If more than people were killed in a year they knew there was more than 1 bear doctor around.
Perhaps this was how the bears instructed the humans and the doctors became an institution subordinate to the story.
As you said there is no doctoring or healing, it's simply an animal fetish of sorts - a totem animal for the entire tribe to whom real tribute would be paid. They do not seem to serve an other shamanic purpose such as spirit journeying. The doctor designation is a misnomer then but lacking an adequate English equivalent we're stuck with it.



posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 11:45 PM
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Asktheanimals
Living in close proximity to those bears the bear doctors sounds like a myth of how the bears and humans found their own place in the land and the rules for their interactions. If more than people were killed in a year they knew there was more than 1 bear doctor around.
Perhaps this was how the bears instructed the humans and the doctors became an institution subordinate to the story.
As you said there is no doctoring or healing, it's simply an animal fetish of sorts - a totem animal for the entire tribe to whom real tribute would be paid. They do not seem to serve an other shamanic purpose such as spirit journeying. The doctor designation is a misnomer then but lacking an adequate English equivalent we're stuck with it.


Yes , you are correct in the characterization, that the term doctor is a misnomer.
But since they called on the power of supernatural entities, they were in fact shamans.
It's only through the power of the magic, and ceremony that they found the spiritual strength to perform tbeir deeds.
In another older account, it was mentioned that the bear doctors victims weren't necessarily random, and they may have been some sort of vengeance or retributional aspect to the attacks of a bear doctor.



posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 11:45 PM
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oops double post
edit on 7-12-2013 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 7 2013 @ 11:48 PM
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punkinworks10

Ramcheck
And the Bear Doctor?

It might explain the Bear in the California flag / emblem.


edit on 7/12/13 by Ramcheck because: typo


I part it does, the California grizzly was so numerous and aggressive, that they had huge influence on the natives. Also it was the grizzly that kept the Spanish at bay for almost a century. And by the time the state was formed the cal grizzly had become almost legendary.


Thanks for the Info and also sorry, I'd thought you'd finished at that point.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 12:01 AM
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Ramcheck

punkinworks10

Ramcheck
And the Bear Doctor?

It might explain the Bear in the California flag / emblem.


edit on 7/12/13 by Ramcheck because: typo


I part it does, the California grizzly was so numerous and aggressive, that they had huge influence on the natives. Also it was the grizzly that kept the Spanish at bay for almost a century. And by the time the state was formed the cal grizzly had become almost legendary.


Thanks for the Info and also sorry, I'd thought you'd finished at that point.


A little more on the California grizzly.

The California grizzly (Ursus arctos californicus) is an extinct subspecies of the grizzly, the very large North American brown bear. "Grizzly" refers to the golden and grey tips of its hair. Genetically, North American grizzlies are closely related; in size and coloring, the California grizzly was much like the grizzly of the southern coast of Alaska. In California, it was particularly admired for its beauty, size, and strength. Many accounts from pioneers describe grizzlies in long, bloody fights with angry longhorn bulls, and often winning. Early on, the grizzly became a symbol of the State, was the basis of the state flag, and historically, California was known as the "Bear State."

In 1866, a grizzly weighing 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg) was killed in Valley Center, California, the biggest bear ever found in California,[1] unsurpassed until John Lang shot the world's biggest bear — 2,320 pounds (1,050 kg) — near his ranch by Canyon Country, in 1873.[2]

In 1922, the last California grizzly to be shot was taken in Tulare County. In 1924, a grizzly known to roam an area of the southern Sierras was spotted for the last time, and thereafter, grizzlies were never seen again in California.


Twenty three hundred pounds is one big ass bear.

But no where near as big as the prehistoric short faced bears the ancestors of the Pomo had to deal withw.
edit on 8-12-2013 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)





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