The Bear that gave a Gift:

Tradition story shared at the fires by the Midewiwin whom are the Native Tribes Medicine People.

Long long ago when Buffalo filled the grass from blade to blade the First Council of the Medicine Spirits was held at the Center of the Earth and it was called by the Sky Spirits to ask the help of the under Mother-earth Spirits in saving a strange, un-furred animal named mankind.

In a ceremony of secret, the Otter and Bear were chosen to push the first Tree of Life pole (Grandmother Cedar) from Mother Earths core to the surface Sacred Ground to form the first channel of communications between above the ground and below the ground.

“Mugwa!” called Otter down the split in the earth where the top of the cedar pole had first appeared to the Face of Mother Earth.

“My fur is drying out in the warm winds and I need help to raise the Cedar?

That is when mighty Great Bear gave one last mighty heave with his giant muscles, and all that we see and hear and know trembled, when first arrived what we call theTree of life emerged into the light of the moon and the sun.

“Mugwa,” urged Otter, “We have finished raising the Cedar as they told us. I am ready to return from where I came.”

“Mugwa,” growled Great Bear while he lifted his great head and curiously sniffed the warm new fragrant and now sacred smells from the Sky Spirits.

“I would see this creature without fur for whom the whole First Council was so deeply concerned.”

“Mugwa” stated the agreeable Otter, “Now must we hurry.”

The two sacred totem animals did not have far to look to greet their Vision Quest.

They came upon a cluster of the un-furred creatures pounding bark. Seeing them they hollered to the Four Winds, and the un-furred creatures dropped the bark, and fled, except for one small man-child who could not even stand on his hind legs. Great Bear stared at the un-furred man-child with his big brown bulging eyes

Great Bear saw that man-child had no claws, no teeth, and no fur, and not even a Berry. Wow! Great Bear shouted out, they have no Last Red Berry?

Otter replied. “They have not a What? What is a last red berry?

“Not even a berry.” Great Bear pointed down an opening in the man-child’s head out of which came wails of people sound breaking the silence of the night.

Man-Child does not have a Last Berry said Great Bear as he leaned back his huge head, parted those massive great jaws, and Otter looked into the carnivorous throat . There, hanging from the back of Great Bear’s throat, was a round, ripe red colored “miskomin” as some came to know it many moons later as a rose-colored berry.

“Mugwa” said Otter. “To what end of need is such a thing? For I ask what it is!”

“Mugwa” little Otter friend, “For it is the very Last Berry I ate, and holds all the other black and red berries I have ever eaten before down inside. So the Last Berry remains so I never starve because the Last berry is always there.”

Otter moved nervously into the water as he called out to Great Bear.

“I have never known or really understand why anyone would eat berries, but if you think that man-child needs one perhaps you should give him a Last Red Berry.”

Great Bear slammed down on his great buttocks as hard as one can do, and then slid down a small slope of new sand right to the dune of Earth that greets the Sacred Waters. Behind him, where his great rump had opened up the virgin sands. Instantly, there now grew a long deep sacred green vine with shiny leaves and little round red berries just like the one in Great Bear’s mouth he believed.

Great Bear reached over, yanked off a little red round berry, and dropped it into the wailing man-child’s mouth.

“Mugwa ” Great Bear rumbled in soft and gentle bear tones, “Now you little man-child shall not starve. For you have a Red Last Berry just like Great Bears”

The astonished infant man-child was still, trying to keep his bear berry down. (To this very day: That is exactly what all babies are doing when you see them silently swallowing. In swallowing they are trying to keep their Great Bear Gift of the Last Berry down.)

The warm sunlight of The Sky Spirits lit upon the new red bearberry vine and upon the swirling circles created in the water as Otter and Great Bear returned to Mother Earth leaving the Sacred Cedar (Tree of Life) and The sacred Green Vine with little red berries, and a peaceful and quiet wee man-child.

On a rock and from a perched position the wisdom of the Bahmbth-benahsee (whom we now know as the Tom-Tom Bird) watched all the things of the Otter and the Great Bear, and saw the Green Vine grow with red attachments and the wee man-child now calmly sitting there. He saw everything! Even the Tree of Life!

Tom-Tom flew to the cedar “Tree of Life” and landed. And, did what Tom-Tom birds naturally do. He threw back his red head and beat out the “FIRST SOUND” ever heard in Cedar upon Mother Earth and upward to the Sky Spirits, and everyone was well pleased. As his message to the Universe was: “Last Red Berry of the Great Bear granted, and life has arrived to the un-furred”

As I heard: So have I shared.

I am Wha-O Chee (Bear Standing )

[ of the Mide manido (“Grand Medicine spirit”) ] {Eternal MedicineLodge]

And I share to the Nations that which I have received:

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