Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bear hind sight near perfect as we approach 2020

One Cherokee clan called themselves the Ani Tsa'gu hi.  It is told that a young boy of the clan kept disappearing into the forest only to return to the village a little hairier each time. The elders of the tribe ask the boy what was going on, the youngster acknowledge that he had been spending time with the bears of the forest sharing their foods and ways, He told the elders the bears had plenty of food and that the rest of the tribe could join him rather than go hungry but first they would have to fast in order to prepare for the transformation.
Informing the other tribal clans, this Ani Tsa'gu hi clan chose to follow the boy and leave the human world of struggle and hunger behind and live forever with the Black Bears in their abundant forest.
Upon their departure from the known world of Cherokee towns and villages, the Ani Tsa'gu hi, informed all the other Cherokee clans of their departure, "We are going where there is much food. Do not fear to kill us, for we will be ever alive. "
It's not hard to imagine that there are some Cherokee living in the mountains today, who think descendants of the Ani Tsa'gu hi clan that might still be living in the mountain forest as Black Bears. There are also tales of how humans might be the descendants of Black Bears losing their fur and changing their ways.
__ from Blue Ridge Highlander

Hind sight for bear like me is always better as time goes on. It is near perfect, as we get closer to 2020. Almost every thing I know, I learned mostly in the little town of Dolores, Colo.
Today, the local police reported that fellow with my same name, and just about my age, had been killed down in the 400 block of St. Vrain Street, in Colorado Springs. 

"Some grandfathers told the story of the great grizzly bear, who captured the Great Spirit Manitou's daughter and forced her to marry him. They had many children, who became the Ute Nation after the Great Spirit took his grandchildren back. To punish the grizzly, Manitou forced it to walk on four feet instead of two.
It is true that the Ute's venerated the grizzly bear above all others and celebrate the arrival of spring by having a great feast, and performing the Bear Dance, which shows the great bear coming out of hibernation and this announcing the arrival of spring, a time of rebirth."
__ from The Boy Who Slept With Bears, A Southern Ute Story, by George R. Douthit, III

Just so you know, this is NOT me.
A different Robert Carrigan.

Thursday, November 5, 2015, 2:00PM {Release at Will}
The El Paso County Coroner’s Office has completed the autopsy on the deceased male. He has been identified as Robert Joseph Carrigan, a 54 year old male from Colorado Springs. The cause of Mr. Carrigan’s death was determined to be a gunshot wound. His manner of death is a homicide.
This CSPD Violent Crimes – Homicide Unit is continuing this investigation while maintaining close contact with the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. As such, the name of the homeowner will not be released at this time.
NOTE TO MEDIA: All updates will ONLY come from the Public Affairs Unit when available.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 2:00AM {Release at Will}
On Tuesday, November 3, 2015, at 9:59PM officers from the Gold Hill Division received an initial call for service of a burglary in progress in the 400 block of West St. Vrain Street. During the response the call was upgraded to a shots fired call for service.
Officers arrived and located an adult male who was deceased from an apparent gunshot wound.
There are no additional safety concerns for the community at this time. Detectives from the Violent Crimes Unit are conducting the investigation. They have contacted all of the individuals known to be associated with this investigation.
NOTE TO MEDIA: All updates will ONLY come from the Public Affairs Unit when available.

 "A recorder of what has been done is equal to the greatest hunter, the bravest warrior, or even the holy man," he said. "To be such a historian, such a recorder, you must learn to see all things, know how they look, and how they are done. You must see that the young colt swims on the downstream side of the mother, behind the wall of her body, and that the wind does not always push arrows of the just. As the hills of one's youth are mountains, and the hunts all seem fat after the meat is long eaten, so memory makes every man the bravest in his long-ago encounters, and the enemies faced in battle become very many as the warrior days retreat. The picture is the rope that ties memory solidly to the stake of the truth."
__ Picture Maker, member of the Lakota Nation from The Story Catcher, by Mary Sandoz.

It has been difficult at times. Just this week,  I lost a friend, and fellow story teller. They don't always give us enough yarn to stretch out into a long, comfortable tale with a happy ending.
The bear lives in a mean environment. Over time, he is witness to things that aren't fair. The truth is painful. Winter is coming.  You can't effectively train bears to dance, without taking some risks.
In general, the story of some of my bear friends has brought to me, great sadness.
But hind sight gets better as time goes on. Especially as we approach 2020.
The bear puts on weight for the expected long winter. Cranky and prone to growls, yes.  Hairy, smelly and awkward, yes. But easier to live with than a snake or coyote. And more entertaining, if you don't try to make him dance.

There is a little hill called tqnts'i'se ko just across the Mancos Canyon, which used to be a house. It was the home of 12 brothers. The brothers were great hunters and hunted all over the mesas. They had one sister. The girl grew to be a beautiful maiden, and the holy men came from far and wide to ask her to marry them. The maiden's name was Ataed' diy ini. When her brothers were away hunting she stayed at home alone. Now the Coyote came to the brothers and called out "Brother-in-law." He wanted this maiden to become his wife. Ataed' diy ini told him "No," for only the one who killed the giant would become her husband. The Coyote sat there with his head down for a moment, then he said "Very well." He left her and went to the home of the giant. - Coyote tricks the giant into a sweathouse where he tricks him into sawing off his leg in order to gain swiftness and strength. - He tried to make them grow together. But the Coyote grabbed the giant's severed leg and ran away with it, saying "I never heard of a bone growing together in a day." The Coyote took the giants's leg to the maiden and told her that he had killed the giant. But the maiden said that before she would marry him she would have to kill him; and if he could return to life, then he could be her husband.
The Coyote hung his head and covered his eyes with his hand for a moment. "Very well," he said, and he went away. - Coyote hides his vitals in mountains and wind, thereafter the maiden kills him four times altogether. - but after a little while the Coyote came in and said "Now are you my wife?" The maiden asked him how he could do these things. He told her that after she became his wife he would show her his magic. He became her husband and she became his wife. Then he took her to the east and showed her the mountain and the tunnel that he had made. And he took her to the south, and west, and north. She learned to do what the Coyote had done. He taught her his ways. - After this her brothers return and notice that she "is not the same," whereupon they deal with their new brother-in-law by moving out. They go out hunting and Coyote joins them despite the rejection of his new in-laws. He invites himself into trouble which causes him his death at the hands of the Swallow people. The maiden upon the brothers return without her husband, accuses them of killing him, despite their denials. She tracks him and finds his remains. - After the woman left her brothers to go look for the Coyote the eldest brother said "Listen now to my words our sister is about to do something still more evil." When the woman returned to the house she told her brothers that the people in the canyon had killed her husband. She would not sit down in the home. She prepared herself to go against the cliff people. First, she took her sewing awls and sharpened them; then she hid her heart and lungs as the Coyote had taught her, and turned herself into a great bear with sharp teeth and claws, and she went forth against the people of the canyon. - Her war with the Swallow of cliff people cost them many lives but did not harm her. - Always when she returned to her brothers she was in her woman form. But her name was now Esdza' shash nadle, the Woman who Became a Bear. - Her violence turned from hatred to a bloody rage as she now killed during the daytime, whereas she had only killed at night. Her brothers fearing reprisals too, hid the youngest brother in their dwelling.
After returning home the Bear Woman divined their location, and catching up with her brothers killed them all save the last. She saw the youngest was missing so she divined again to locate him beneath the ashes of her brother's dwelling. She tries to kill him while grooming him but the wind warns him in to be wary and helps thwart her deception. - Now the boy watched her shadow, and each time that he caught her changing into the bear form he turned and looked at her and she became a woman. After the fourth time he had his muscles set, and jumped away from her. Sure enough she grabbed his belt; but the tie was loosened and he escaped. She was near him when he reached the cactus. He jumped over it; she ran around it. The second time she was near him he jumped over the yucca; the third time he jumped over the fallen log; and the fourth time, over the great boulder. Then her heart became nervous, and the chipmunk who was guarding it screamed. The heart and the lungs were beating up and down just ahead of the boy. They were covered with oak leaves. The Bear Woman cried out "Oh, brother, brother, stop! There are my heart and lungs. There is my life." Now when the boy saw the leaves beating up and down in fright he jumped over them, and he shot his arrow into them. The Bear Woman fell, and the blood gushed out of her mouth and nostrils. The boy returned near her, and the little breeze told him to stop the blood. It must not flow, for if it met the blood from her heart she would become whole again. So the boy pulled the Bear Woman's carcass away.
He was angry. He spread her legs and cut out her sex organs. He said "You have the sex organs of a woman, and great trouble has come of it." He tossed it to the top a tree and said "The people of the earth shall use you henceforth." It became pitch that is found on cedar and pinion trees. Then he cut off her breasts and said "You have a woman's breasts and still you have caused great trouble." He tossed them to the top of a tree and said "The people of the earth shall use you." And they became pinion nuts. After these things happened many people planned to leave the mesas. They were afraid of the Woman who become a bear. They buried the Calendar Stone; they wrapped their dead; and leaving their belongings, they went away. But before they left they drew pictures on the rocks of all the things that trouble came from.
 ___ The Dine' Origin Myths of the Navajo Indians; 1956, Aileen O'Bryan.

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