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The Bear People
The Bear People

24x36, acrylic, © 2/04.

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The “Bear People” represents Cherokee legends and beliefs associated with the bear. …Long ago, a Cherokee clan (the Ani-Tsa-guhi) decided to go live in the woods as bears. The Ani-tsa-guhi fasted for 7 days and on the 7th morning, they left their village and went into the woods. People from other towns tried to persuade them to stay, but their nature was already changing to that of the bear, and their bodies were beginning to be covered by hair. They told the other villagers, “We are going to where there is plenty to eat. Hereafter, we shall be called Yona (bear). When you are hungry, come into the woods and call us. We will come to give you, our flesh. You need not be afraid to kill us, for we shall live always.”
In Cherokee legend, bears were often associated with immortality, death and resurrection, and the whirlwind.