Bear Is Our Brother

Photo credit: Brodie Guy -

Photo credit: Brodie Guy -

Black bears are inseparable from Nature. They live in harmony with the seasons, and enjoy the privacy of green-hued forests and hidden dens. They forage for food and help refertilise the earth by dragging salmon carcasses into groves of ancient trees.

During summer months, black bears (Ursus americanus) feed on berries and wild crab apples that grow in sunlit clearings, and drink from streams lined with mosses and ferns. Like wolves, they give devoted attention to their young and put up with the playful antics of energetic cubs as they rush past, rolling and tumbling after one another.

Coastal indigenous peoples in British Columbia have come close to understanding the spirit of these animals and recognise them as kin. For the Haida, taan (black bears) that live on Haida Gwaii are considered to be family, and have always featured in their traditional stories and carvings.

Regarded as a special crest animal, they are powerful beings that we can begin to honour as a sacred gift. Outwardly beautiful, their thick fur conceals muscle-sheathed bones and organic bodily systems required for sustaining life. Their lives come from the Great Creator, not man.

Today, we have the opportunity to treat black bears differently. We can show our respect by not trepassing their boundaries. As we become responsible guardians of the land, we will no longer damage and encroach on their habitat. We will also stop building houses and holiday properties in areas where we willingly know they live.

When we change our actions and cultivate a new awareness towards black bears, we guarantee them a better future. Every single one of them deserves the freedom to fish the wild rivers and experience the sun rising over the mountains of their native range. Their home is the Earth, and we’re here to share it.

Angela Gnyp