The bear and the wolf are the two of the most powerful spirits in the forest

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

An essay by guest blogger Barry Babcock

“The Cherokees….put bears in a special category. To the Cherokees, the bear represented the division between people and animals, and bears were descended from people. Long ago, according to a Cherokee legend, all the Cherokees in a certain town decided to live in the forest with the animals, so that they would always have enough to eat. Other Cherokees sent messengers to the forest to try to persuade them to come back, but when the messengers arrived they saw that the people already had long black hair like bears. The bear-people refused to return. ‘Hereafter we shall be called bears and when you yourselves are hungry, come into the woods and call us and we shall come and give you our flesh,’ one of the bear-people said. ‘You shall not be afraid of us, for we shall live always.’

“As the messengers were…

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