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Bear Dance

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The Bear Dance celebrated in Indian Canyon is a ceremonial dance lasting all night starting at 7 pm and ending at 7 am.  People dress up in Bear skins and dance around the fire.  It has ceremonial significance for both the participants and the audience.  The healthy dancers who are healers absorb the pain the suffering of those needing help, and then get rid of the pain.  The healing nature of the dance makes it inappropriate  for curiosity seekers. 

References and Links to other Sites talking about Bear Dance

Five Views: A History of American Indians in California describes Mankins Ranch, also known as the Janesville Bear Dance site, located southeast of Highway 395 near Janesville, California.  The Bear Dance, a Mountain Maidu Indian ceremony, takes place each spring. Prior to the 1900s, its purpose was to share food among the Indian people, and to celebrate life. The Bear Dance also symbolizes the celebration of the beginning and connecting of all beings, both animate and inanimate. People participating in the dance share food, prayers, and thanksgiving for their world, as well as respect for the right of the bear and the rattlesnake to co-exist and to use the same environment. Another important aspect of the Bear Dance is the cleaning of the outward body with medicinal wormwood immediately following the ceremony.

Historically, the Ute  bear dance was a spring festival that celebrated the end of winter.. as the bear awoke from his long hibernation. Today the Bear Dance is held in June to accommodate more visitors during the summer season.  Utah Division of Indian Affairs -- White Mesa Ute Board  annual festivities begin on or around the Labor Day weekend with the "Bear Dance." The Bear Dance is a social dance which the people celebrate to welcome the coming of Spring. But as the Bear Dance season ends,  the White Mesa are the last Ute community to celebrate the event that signifies "Thankfulness."

Legends: The Utes had a story about how they first learned the Bear Dance. They said that a man went to sleep and had a dream about a bear. He dreamed that if he would go the a place in the mountains, a bear would teach him something of great strength. When he woke up, he went up to the mountain and saw a bear dancing back and forth. The bear spoke to the man who listened to his words of wisdom and then the bear taught him how to do this dance and to sing the Bear Dance song. The man came home and taught the dance and song to his people.

AMONSOQUATH TRIBE OF CHEROKEE  website describes how the Bear Dance is performed in modern times.

Some Whimsical Bear Dance sites (links obtained from Google)

Bear Dance - A page dedicated to honoring bears - submissions ...
Breeze. I LEAVE THE LAIR by David Jackson. ... - 18k - Cached - Similar page

Sugar Bear Dance
... I Wanted To Send You A Little Love... And Some Hugs....
Because I'm Not There... I'm Sending ... - 8k - Cached - Similar pages

A Friend of Indian Canyon built this website to raise awareness of the proposed Village House in Indian Canyon.  For further information contact Ann Marie Sayers, tribal chairperson, by email or phone at 831-637-4238.  For information about this website please contact webmaster. Privacy Policy
 Revised: 05/09/09.