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Bear Spirits

A Winnebago (Hotcâk) Legend

After Earthmaker created this island on which we live, he created all living things, man being the very last of these. The first and foremost animal that Earthmaker created was a bear of pure white color, whom he placed in the north. This is White Bear. The second bear that he created was Red Bear, whom he placed in the west. Earthmaker next created in the east a kind of grizzly bear Blue Bear, who was the color of the sky, either blue, or as some say, gray. The last bear created by Earthmaker was Black Bear, who was placed in the south. These four kinds of bears were created as Island Weights to help stop the incessant spinning of the primordial earth.

Spiritually, they were not only bears, but the four cardinal winds as well. White Bear was chief over polar bears, Red Bear held hegemony over the brown bears of earth, Blue Bear ruled over Grizzlies, and Black Bear was chief of the terrestrial black bears.

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