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Bear Jewelry

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Bear Jewelry

Many Native Americans feared the bear but still they hunted the bears for food, clothing, and even jewelry. Claws were made into necklaces and often worn hanging from their waistband. Because of the Native Americans’ beliefs that the bear had some spiritual power, wearing a bear claw necklace would mean protection and good health to the Indian wearing it.

Native American Indians regarded the bear with awe and respect. Early hunting tribes noticed that these bears had very complex behaviors. Many native tribes thought of the bear as a "god". American Indians saw that these bears were large and very strong animals that could move quickly in spite of their size. It's no wonder that these magnificent animals would become the center of Native American legends. Often found in Native American Indian paintings and engraved in jewelry, the bear was a sign of strength.

The bear stood for many meanings and rituals among the Native American Indians. The Indian Bear Dance was considered the Ghost Dance, bringing back the ghosts of their ancestors while helping the bear fall asleep for its winter hibernation. Ancestors join in the dance in their spirit form while the bears are lulled to sleep. After the dance is complete, another Dance is celebrated, called the Circle of Life Dance. This dance will be held around a burning log fire until the fire burns out. The Native Indians will dance, sing and chant for warmth and light from the sun during the time the bear sleeps.

Many Native Americans feared the bear but still they hunted the bears for food, clothing, and even jewelry. Claws were made into necklaces and often worn hanging from their waistband. Because of the Native Americans’ beliefs that the bear had some spiritual power, wearing a bear claw necklace would mean protection and good health to the Indian wearing it