Engraving and Oil on Purcell Mountain Slate Stone.
Size: 9″ high, 12 wide.
Artist: Elaine Sell Prefontaine

The bear’s engraved fur is not painted and the stone remains in its original varied  brown colors. His nose and eyes are accented slightly with oil. The background is painted blue to bring out  both the bear and the natural curvature of the stone which suggests him to be standing upon a high mountain cliff..







Engraving and Oil on Purcell Mountain Slate Stone
Size: 8½” high, 11½” wide,  6/16″ thick
Artist: Elaine Sell Prefontaine

This thick piece of slate stone was a natural for bringing out the strength and presence of this Grizzly.




The Bear Totem indicates the awakening of the powers of your unconscious mind. Bear Medicine teaches you to awaken your inherent potential.

The bear cycle of power is most active in spring and summer.

Like the bear who hibernates during the winter  bear people also slow down in winter. Those with the bear totem will find this winter cycle of semi-hibernation and reclusiveness very natural. During these inward looking reflective times bear people are able to come up with some good concepts and ideas to be carried out in the spring and summer.

Bear medicine teaches you to go deep within by such means as meditation to connect with your source of power to enable you to make your choices and decisions from a stronger vantage point. Bear medicine stimulates your interest in the subjects of dreams, astral travel and matters of the spirit. On the other end of the scale Bear also relates to all initial stages and primary instincts.

Bear people can be quiet for long periods of time and are able to go within to connect with important resources of wisdom, energies and essences necessary for survival. The intelligent bear child also often prefers to be alone for long periods of time.

Bear people are able to succeed in what they set their minds to, as they have the perseverance and tenacity to ” hang in” there till the job is done the way they had envisioned it. Bear people are clever, strong, brave and fair. They are able to assume positions of leadership making good supervisors and teachers because they are rational, analytical and precise. They give much thought to making fair and judicious decisions, and you can believe the accuracy of what they say. Bears keep always keep their word and don’t understand those who don’t. Since bear people can sense the thoughts and feelings of those around them it is not easy to “pull the wool over their eyes”.

Since bear people understand that “one gets out what one puts in”, they strive to keep themselves in balance. Being out of balance for the bear person may lead to energy blockage illnesses effecting the heart, stomach and bowels.

The serious bear may display an outer coolness which hides tender depths of sentiment, but she enjoys life and loves to play and have fun just as much as her cubs.


The Bear is a powerful creature in myth and lore. There are legends of bears turning into both humans and gods, and humans turning into bears. In native lore the bear was considered as being akin to humans as it could stand and walk on its hind legs. It could also impressively climb trees, spear fish with its claws, and expertly remove honey from bee trees.

Brown Bear people are born under the Harvest Moon, August 23 to September 22, their Element is Earth and Violet is their Plant Totem.

The Brown Bear belongs to the Turtle Clan, which increases its ability to remain grounded. This bear is able to reach for things of the spirit, but its sense of reality makes it seek practical uses of any mystical powers it uncovers. The Brown Bear was designated the head of the council of animals because of its fairness, strength and courage. In many tribes the Bear people were chosen as leaders and responsible for defense and shaman medicine. There is a connection between bear people and trees.


Legends and myths of the relation of the bear to the stars have been created by peoples of the world since the beginning of time.

The Constellation “Ursa Major” contains the group of seven stars commonly called “The Big Dipper” and is known to the North American Natives as “The Great Bear”. The Big Dipper is not a constellation itself, but an “asterism”, which is a distinctive group of stars.  Another famous asterism is “The Little Dipper” in the constellation “Ursa Minor”.

The handle of the Dipper is The Great Bear’s tail and the Dipper’s cup is the Bear’s Flank.  The bear has a triangular head and squared body with all four legs pointing forward.  Iroquois legend (in detail below) says the handle stars are three warriors chasing the bear and the Dipper’s cup is The Great Bear.


Iroquois legend tells us that when The Great Bear started  running the path of the Milky Way at the beginning of time he was pursued by three Indian braves. The first Indian shot and struck the Bear in the side with his bow and arrow, but since the wound wasn’t serious the bear kept on running, and has been running across the sky ever since. The Bear’s path changes from season to season.  In the autumn, it begins low in the northwest, and during this season, the arrow wound of the Bear opens slightly and a little blood trickles down upon the land. It covers the leaves of the trees and dyes them red and that is why we have autumn.


In this Navajo legend an elder sister of seven brothers accepted a bear as her husband. Upon being told this her father angrily killed the bear. Furious, the sister used flesh from the bear’s paw to transform herself into a bear, then went on a killing rampage.  By transforming herself from bear to human and back again, she was able to trick and kill all but the youngest brother. The younger brother brought the six dead brothers back to life and they all escaped by flying into the heavens to become the seven stars of  “The Big Bear”.

The Navajo constellation that is tangent to the Thunderbird is also tied into the legend of changing seasons. When the Bear is bright in the sky and the feather of the Thunderbird is just touching the nose of the Bear, spring has arrived. The Bear has essentially come out of winter hibernation.


Zeus fell in love with the beautiful huntress named Callisto. Upon seeing this, Hera the wife of Zeus, became jealous and turned Callisto into a giant bear. Callisto’s son, Arcas, went to search for his mother, but unfortunately did not recognize her in her bear form as she approached to greet him, and he immediately readied himself to kill her in self defense. When Zeus saw this he turned Arcas into a bear also, and threw both mother and son into the sky where they are now seen as The Big Bear (Ursa Major) and The Little Bear (Ursa Minor).

An interesting characteristic of the constellation is its long tail, but since Bears usually have very short tails stories were created to account for this peculiarity. The Greeks say it is because Zeus threw the heavy bears into the sky by swinging them from their tails, thus stretching them out.

In a similar Roman Legend it was Jupiter who was in love with Callisto, the daughter of the King of Arcadia. Since Callisto was a devout follower of Diana, the Goddess of Hunting, Jupiter assumed the form of Diana. The ruse was discovered and Callisto was turned into a bear and thrown into the heavens.


It is said that brown bears are more curious than any other animal except the raccoon.  Although distantly related to the dog, the bear is more closely related to the raccoon.

The brown bear is identical to the black bear, with some mother bears giving birth to both a black bear and a brown bear at the same time. The hairless baby bears weigh about 8 ounces each.

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