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The role of bears and bear ceremonialism in Navajo orthodox traditional lifeway.


Before entering a discussion of bear ceremonialism among the Navajos, it is first useful to provide some general background information as to the existence of bears in Navajo Country. To begin with, Navajos use the generic term shash to refer to all bears. Bears are also commonly referred to as being the "Mountain People," a term which can and is applied to all animals who reside in the mountainous regions of the Navajo reservation, is regularly used to denote bears specifically. Sacred names which are used to refer to bears include "Reared in the Mountains," "Fine Young Chief," and "That Which Lives in the Den" (Franciscan Fathers, 1910). Navajos, like scientists, also acknowledge the historical existence of two separate species, the grizzly and the black bear.

The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) possesses a number of names which in the Navajo language translates as the white bear, speckled bear, silvertip bear, long back bear, frosted-faced bear, and tracker bear (Franciscan Fathers, 1910). This last name reflected the Navajo belief that the grizzly commonly tracked down and hunted man (Pavlik, 1992). The grizzly, which can attain a weight over 600 pounds, is now extinct in the American Southwest, having been exterminated mostly by ranchers and government hunters. By 1923 grizzlies had been eliminated from both New Mexico and Utah, and by 1935 the last of the great bears had been killed in Arizona (see Housholder, 1966; Brown, 1985). The last grizzly in Colorado was believed to have been killed in 1951. Incredibly, however, a female grizzly materialized from the shadows of extinction in 1979 only to be killed by a bowhunter it had attacked and severely mauled. This event took place along the Navajo fiver in the San Juan Mountains of Southern Colorado, land historically traveled by the Navajos. The San Juans are also a mountain range which figures in a number of Navajo mythological stories involving bears, including grizzlies. A few individuals, myself included, cling to the hope that a few grizzlies may still exist within the sanctuary of these rugged mountains (Brown, 1985; see also Bass, 1995; Peterson, 1995).

On the Navajo reservation grizzlies historically inhabited the Chuska and Lukachukai Mountains. One particularly notorious outlaw grizzly operating out of the Chuskas, destroyed an estimated $5000 worth of sheep and goats from 1905 until his death at the hands of a professional hunter in 1911. The hunter received $180.00 in reward money for killing this bear (Housholder, 1966). In all probability the grizzly was exterminated from the Navajo reservation sometime in the 1920s. It is interesting to note that when C. Hart Merriam, biologist and research associate for the Smithsonian Institute published his then-definitive taxonomy of grizzly and brown bears in 1918, he included an "Ursus texensis Navaho," as one of his 86 recognizable species of grizzly bears. This classification of the "Navajo grizzly" was based on one badly damaged skull of a bear killed in the Chuska Mountains in 1856 (Merriam, 1918). Although biologists have long discredited the Merriam classifications and today recognize only one species of grizzly - with an open number of sub-species - the Navajo name will forever be linked historically with the great bear.

The second bear to inhabit Navajo Country is the black bear (Ursus Americanus). This animal is the dominant being among the Mountain People, and though seldom seen, exists today in numbers greater than most people imagine. It is estimated there may be as many as 300 bears inhabiting the mountainous regions of the Navajo reservation (McCoy, 1996). Full grown male black bears average 250 to 350 pounds in weight, females 120 to 180 pounds (Ford, 1981). As their name indicates, most black bears are black in color, though on the Navajo reservation, many tend to be brown, blond, or cinnamon (O'Connor, 1945).


The people we know as being Navajos are, in reality, a product of the coming together of two distinct peoples, the Athabaskans and the Pueblos. Without getting sidetracked on anthropological (Western science) vs. traditional views over the creation and antiquity of the Navajo people, there are enough common threads so that both acknowledge an arrival or an "emergence" into the Southwest as a hunting and gathering people who share a basic linguistic foundation with the other major group of Southern Athabaskans, the Apaches. Upon arrival into the Southwest the Athabaskans came in contact with the Pueblo people - a more or less sedentary group of people whose economic foundation was agriculture, and especially the growing of corn. By the time Athabaskans arrived in the Southwest, probably in the mid 1400's, these Pueblos, who were descendants of the prehistoric Anasazi people, had established an elaborate ceremonial system. Very early the Athabascans entered into what might best be described as a love-hate relationship with the Pueblos characterized by raiding and trading. This contact intensified after the Great Pueblo Revolt of 1680 against the Spanish when thousands of Pueblos migrated into Navajo Country, or Dinetah as it was called, seeking and receiving refuge among the more military Athabascans. The cultural exchange which took place appears to be rather one-sided as the Athabascans underwent a "Puebloization" process. From the Pueblos the Navajos adopted agricultural practices, learned the art of weaving, acquired increased numbers of livestock - especially horses which in turn the Pueblos had acquired from the Spanish - added a number of clans through intermarriage, and most importantly to our story, adopted a body of religious beliefs and practices which they merged with their own. Sandpaintings, masked dancers, and the use of prayer sticks and corn pollen are just a few elements of religion which the Navajos borrowed from the Pueblos. The result of this syncretism was the creation of a unique people, the Navajo, and what I have referred to elsewhere as being a "Navajo orthodox traditional" world view and lifeway (Pavlik, 1993, 1995). This is the traditionalism described by early pioneer anthropologists who studied the Navajos - most notably Washington Matthews, Father Bernard Haile, and W. W. Hill, as well as those anthropologists of major importance who came later to build upon this body of work, especially Gladys Reichard, Clyde Kluckhohn, Leland C. Wyman, Karl Luckert, and most recently, Charlotte J. Frisbie. It is from this religion and its followers that this article on bear ceremonialism and beliefs is based.

Before continuing this article, it should be noted that probably no more than 5% of Navajo people are true orthodox traditionalists. Most Navajos today, perhaps as many as 60% of the tribal population, are affiliated with the Native American Church (NAC), a pan-Indian religion which is based on the use of peyote as a medicine and sacrament, and which incorporates elements of Christianity. Navajos were first introduced to peyote around the turn of the century, although the religion did not take hold until the 1930's. Contemporary Navajo peyotism also incorporates aspects of orthodox traditional religion and philosophy. This more prevalent NAC religion might better be considered "new traditionalism" (Pavlik, 1997).(1)


Bears play a major role in Navajo mythology, and consequently, in tribal religious beliefs and practices. Like man, bears are capable of both good and bad. On the positive side, bears in Navajo mythology often served as guardians and protectors of other supernaturals such as the Sun and Changing Woman (Reichard, 1950). In historic times, however, bears are more commonly looked upon negatively and with causing harm to people. Bears are considered by Navajos to be beings who possess supernatural power - including the ability to transform into human shape. Navajo mythology includes numerous stories involving the anthromorphic qualities of bears, and it is believed that they retain and demonstrate such power today. Bears can also cause illness, or as it is commonly referred to, "bear sickness." Killing, or offending a bear, eating its meat, coming in physical contact with a bear or it's body parts, especially the head and hide, or the mere act of handling an object like a stone or piece of wood touched by a bear, drinking at a bear's watering place, stepping on bear tracks or simply crossing it's path, can all lead to bear sickness. Even the breath of a bear coming from a distance can do harm, as can dreaming about bears or speaking the bear's name aloud. Most bear sickness falls into two general categories, swollen, painful arms, legs, and other extremities; and mental illness (Wyman, 1975). Several years ago I attended a Mountainway, the major ceremony used to deal with bear sickness, for a woman in her late sixties who was experiencing what Western physicians would describe as a severe case of arthritis. Her grandson explained the true cause of her illness in the following manner:

When grandmother was three years old she wandered off and became lost. She was gone for three days. Several times they found her tracks which were always accompanied by the tracks of a bear. When she was finally found she told them she had stayed with an old woman and that they had done many things together including butchering a sheep. Since that time she has always felt poorly (Pavlik, 1992).

On another occasion I had the opportunity to sit in on a ceremony conducted for a young woman who was experiencing emotional problems which manifested itself, among other ways, in her hearing voices which she responded to by taking off her clothes and running off in the middle of the night to roam in the woods. In this case the family attributed her problems to having petted a bear while visiting a zoo as a young child. In the words of one relative "the Mountain People have taken her mind, so now she wants to run with the bears" (Pavlik, 1992). Other similar cases have also been documented (Morgan, 1936).

Because of fear associated with the powers of the bear, Navajos make every effort to avoid the animal. If met it is prayed to as a "Holy Being" and not molested (Hill, 1938). Seldom are bears hunted unless one is threatening livestock. Occasionally a bear might be hunted and killed if its paws or other parts are needed for ceremonial purposes. Bear paws, for example, are used to make the medicine bag or jish used by medicinemen who practice the Mountainway ceremony which will be discussed in the next section of this article. Bear claws are also used in conjunction with this ceremony, as well as for wristlets worn by patients during the "blackening" portion of several ceremonies. Bear claws were also attached to wristlets worn by warriors to give them power (Frisbie, 1987; Hill, 1938).

When Navajos did find it necessary to hunt and kill bears, they did so ritualistically, and in a manner which demonstrated great respect for the animal. In brief, the hunter, often a medicine man, found the den of a bear, explained to it why it must be killed, then offered prayers and songs to bring it out of its den. He then killed the bear with a special club made of pinon pine. The carcass of the bear was handled with great reverence and prepared in the following way:

When the bear was killed pollen was sprinkled on the hide whenever an incision was to be made when skinning it. The first cut was made from the breast up to the throat; then a cut was made from the breast toward the tail. Next, incisions were made on the inside of the right front, left front, right hind, and left hind quarters, in that order. The animal was then skinned... the head was never skinned. If the paws were to be used as medicine bags in the Mountainway Chant, these were skinned separately. Throughout the process the skinner and his assistants uttered the call of the Talking God (Hill, 1938, p. 157).

After skinning the bear, the Navajo hunters would then ritualistically deposit the bones and hide of the animal. Various accounts exist regarding this procedure. Commonly these body parts were returned to the bears den, or placed nearby with the bears head facing toward the entrance of the den. In one account the bears bones were reassembled in their original positions and precious stones or beads representing the organs were placed among them. The hide was then placed on top of the bones and the whole covered with spruce boughs (Hill, 1938).

It is my opinion that most Navajo beliefs involving bears, and certainly most elements of bear ceremonialism, are a product of the tribe's Athabascan origins. While the Navajos share a body of bear beliefs and practices with the Pueblos, the similarities to both the northern Athabaskans of Western Canada and Alaska, and especially to other Southern Athabaskans - the Apaches - are more direct and obvious. This is especially true in regard to preparation for a bear hunt and the treatment of the bear's carcass and hide after the kill is made (Rockwell, 1991). One major difference, however, needs to be noted. Northern Athabaskans are active bear hunters who regularly consume bear meat as an important part of their diet (Nelson, 1976, 1983; Clark, 1970). Navajos in contrast believe that killing a bear should be done only in very special circumstances. Furthermore, Navajos believe that eating bear meat is an act akin to cannibalism and can make an individual lose his mind or cause other severe mental and physical problems. Consequently, Navajos usually ate bear meat only under extreme conditions of starvation (Hill, 1938; Rockwell, 1991). This reluctance to hunt, kill, and consume bears, along with a near-pathological fear of the spiritual power of bears, are characteristics shared with, and possibly adopted from, the Pueblos (Rockwell, 1991; Parsons, 1939). Other Southern Athabaskans, most notably the Western Apaches of the White Mountain and San Carlos reservations, as well as the Jicarilla, Chiricahua, and Mescalero Apaches, also share similar beliefs (Goodwin, 1938; Opler, 1941; Opler, 1943). Only the Lipan Apaches, who formerly hunted bears and ate their flesh, exhibit no fear of the supernatural power of the animal (Opler, 1943).


Navajo religion, and indeed the totality of the very existence of the Navajo people, is based upon the philosophical premise that a balance and harmony exists and must be maintained in one's own personal life, as well as the environment one lives in. Physical and emotional problems are viewed as being products of a disruption of that balance and harmony. Such disruptions are usually caused by man's transgressions against some element of the natural world. Bears, the most powerful of the Mountain People, are thus often linked as a source of many illnesses and diseases. When this happens, special prayers, and perhaps a ceremony, must be offered to pacify the bear and/or correct the transgression which has brought on the problem. These prayers and ceremonies are usually prescribed by a diagnostician, often a crystal gazer or hand-trembler, then performed by a practitioner commonly known as a medicineman or "singer." The origins of the problem, and the procedure to correct it, is found in the Navajo stories of creation. Thus, the sacred body of knowledge regarding bears, bear sickness, and bear ceremonialism exists in Navajo mythology.(3)

Ceremonies which focus on bears range from a simple litany of prayers given by a few orthodox traditionalists to honor the harvesting of pinon nuts, a food product which in Navajo mythology came directly from the bear, to much more complex events such as the "Shock Rite" which is used to test whether a ceremony being performed is the correct one (Farmer, 1982). The following brief description of a Shock Rite well illustrates the power attributed to bears:

The patient is seated on a specially prepared sandpainting, usually one of the House of Bear and Snake, or Bear's Sitting Place, which has been surrounded by spruce branches. At a signal from the singer, a man costumed to represent a bear leaps out of a dark corner of the dwelling and confronts the patient. If the patient faints or otherwise reacts to the sight of the "bear," then he or she is revived and it is believed that the correct ceremonial is being performed (Farmer, 1982, p. 111).

The most important Navajo ceremony used to cure bear sickness is the Mountain-Top-Way, or simply, Mountainway. This ceremony can last nine-days and may not be performed before the first killing frost in the fall, or after the first thunderstorm in the spring. The seasonal restrictions on this ceremony allows for it to be held at a time when rattlesnakes and bears are hibernating and cannot be offended by the ceremony. The Mountainway has three "branches" or variations, the Male, Female, and Cub branches. The variation used depends on the nature and source of the illness. The final night of a nine-night Mountainway climaxes with the spectacular event commonly called the fire dance (see Haile, 1946). This performance, which is also known as the Corral Dance or Dark Circle of Branches Dance, has been likened to a great sacred vaudeville show and attracts hundreds of spectators (Wyman, 1975). Various teams of dancers perform around a large blazing fire surrounded by a corral made of cedar or pinon boughs with an entrance left open in the east. The dance teams perform according to the prescription of the various ceremonials they represent, most commonly Shootingway, Beautyway, Nightway, Windway, and of course, the Mountainway. The Mountainway is also well known for its "specialty acts," the most anticipated of which is a visit from a bear impersonator, or as I once heard it referred to, "the animal" (Pavlik, 1992). The bear impersonator, who is covered with pine and spruce branches to represent hair, walks around the fire within the corral on his hands and knees representing the movement and sounds of a bear. He ends his appearance by presenting the patient with medicine, thus demonstrating the power of the bear to heal as well as cause sickness. It is not within the scope of this article to provide any further description of the Mountainway ceremony. To learn more about this most impressive of Navajo ceremonies, I refer the reader to sources cited in the bibliography (see especially, Matthews 1887; Wyman 1975; and Haile 1946). It is interesting to note that a similar ceremony, the Holiness Rite, exists among the Jicarilla Apache. This ceremony has also been referred to as the "fiesta, the grizzly dance," or simply the "bear dance" (Goddard, 1911). It is possible that the Navajo Mountainway is derived from the Jicarilla Holiness Rite since the Navajo and the Jicarilla were among the more northerly of the Southern Athabaskans and once were closer neighbors before the former tribe migrated more to the West (Wyman, 1975). The two ceremonies share a similar origin mythology and exhibit close correspondences in ritual behavior (Wyman, 1975). The Holiness Rite, for example, is also performed within an evergreen corral and employs the use of sandpaintings and a bear impersonator dressed in spruce boughs (see Opler, 1943; also Haile, 1932). In contrast, the popular bear dance of the neighboring Ute tribe, a non-Athabaskan people, is largely social in nature and shares almost no similarities to either the Mountainway or Holiness Rite (M. K. Opler, 1941).


Each year a large number of bears, no one knows how many, are killed by Navajos who feel they are protecting their livestock and crops. Several years ago I had the opportunity to examine the remains of two bears killed under such circumstances. Most of these killings, in my opinion, are unjustified. While some livestock deprivation by bears undoubtedly takes place, most attacks on sheep, goats, and even cattle, are generally carried out by coyotes. In addition, I believe that the majority of livestock losses are caused by illness and accidents, especially lightning strikes. Bears, which are later seen feeding on the carcasses, are then blamed for the loss of these livestock which die of such causes.

With the passing of each generation, traditional knowledge of the natural world, and consequently respect for bears, and the role they play in tribal "world view," is progressively being lost. In the 1960s the Navajo Department of Fish and Game attempted to implement a tribal bear hunting season. This hunt, however, was short-lived as traditional people came together to protest. In 1994, Fish and Game again opened a hunting season on bears, with the expectation being that most permits would be sold to white hunters. Thus far the response to this hunt has been very limited, with license sales through the first two years totaling only three. It is revealing, however, that no one stepped forward to actually oppose this hunt, an event which might be likened to arranging a contract killing on a fellow kin member. This attitude of indifference to a tribally sanctioned bear hunt, I believe, simply reflects a change of attitude due to massive culture loss, or, at least, cultural changes, which have taken place over the past three decades. When the Navajo Medicine Man's Association was created in 1976, nearly its entire membership was comprised of traditional Navajo singers. In 1989 this organization changed its name to the Dineh Spiritual and Cultural Society of Navajoland to reflect what I call the reality of a "new traditionalism." Today this organization is almost totally dominated by NAC roadmen whose knowledge of traditional beliefs may or may not be extensive. One final observation might be made. While there may be more Nightway Singers today than ever before in the tribes history, so many that some have complained they are not being called on enough (Faris, 1990), there are, however, to the best of my knowledge, only three practicing Mountainway singers. The most popular of these Mountainway singers is called upon almost every week to do a ceremony. Several factors appear to account for this discrepancy. While the Nightway, a major nine-day and night ceremony, is an extremely elaborate and difficult ceremony to learn, Mountainway is even harder and requires an even greater commitment to master. Certainly many potential Mountainway singers are also discouraged from apprenticing for this ceremony due to their fear of bear sickness. In addition, many Nightway singers have backgrounds in the NAC, and many of these individuals conduct ceremonies in both the traditional way, and in the peyote way of the NAC. Some singers have reportedly even combined elements of NAC ritual into their Nightway ceremonies. This combining of different ceremonial practices is viewed as being nothing less than blasphemy by orthodox traditionals. In regard to Mountainway, and in dealing with the awesome supernatural power of bears, any such experimentation or tampering with the ways of the Holy People might prove disastrous.

Another major concern is the loss of bear habitat. The Navajo population continues to grow dramatically and this growth most certainly will lead to additional encroachment of people and livestock into areas inhabited by bears. In addition, tribal logging practices have come under attack by Navajo environmentalists as being overly destructive to mountain habitat. If such claims are true, critical bear habitat, not to mention medicinal plant life vital to the continuation of ceremonies such as the Mountainway, are being perhaps lost forever.

The summer of 1996 was a particularly bad one for bears and their relationships with man in Arizona. A severe drought, combined with the irresponsible actions of campers and some residents of the states mountainous regions, resulted in a high number of bear-man conflicts, including several serious injuries to people and a number of bears being destroyed. It is important to note that each summer thousands of Navajos move into the mountains to pasture their vast herds of sheep, goats and other livestock. These people cook and sleep outdoors, and make no particular effort to maintain a "clean camp" in terms of the precautions taken by experienced campers. Despite this situation, no serious bear incidents were recorded. Indeed, there has never been a reported bear attack on the Navajo reservation. One long-time Navajo Game and Fish biologist contributes this peaceful co-existence to the fact that the Navajo bear population - an unhunted population - tends to be rather old and thus experienced in dealing with humans (McCoy, 1996). In turn, traditional knowledge and cultural beliefs result in humans maintaining a distance between themselves and bears. In sum, it appears that the Navajos and the Mountain People have been able to peacefully co-exist because they share a timeless state of mutual understanding and respect.

What then is the future for bears and for those Navajos who continue to follow an orthodox way of life? This depends on how well each are able to adjust to, and in some cases, resist the changes of time. One thing appears certain, namely that a co-dependency exists with the health and survival of one being intricately connected to the other. When one has passed away, so will the other. Hopefully such a fate can be avoided.

Acknowledgments: The author wishes to express a special debt of gratitude to Will Tsosie who for many years has been my mentor as I have sought to understand Navajo traditional thought and learn about ceremonial practices. Without Will's vast knowledge of traditionalism, his patience and willingness to teach, and especially his friendship, this article would not have been possible. The author alone, however, assumes responsibility for the content and analysis offered.


1. The best overview of this cultural change which has taken place within the past three-quarters of the century can be found in Charlotte J. Frisbie's "Temporal Change in Navajo Religion, 1868-1990"(1992).

2. Bear ceremonialism is one of the world's oldest forms of religious practice. Among the native people of North America, bear ceremonialism reveals its richest and most varied expression. The best general overview of bear beliefs and practices can be found in Shepard and Sander's The Sacred Paw (1985). Native American beliefs and practices are best reviewed in Hallowell's classic study "Bear Ceremonialism in the Northern Hemisphere" (1926), and Rockwell's Giving Voice to Bear (1991).

3. A massive body of published material exists on Navajo mythology. The best sources to find bear mythology continue to be the standard works of Matthews (1897, reprinted in 1994), O'Bryan (1956, reprinted in 1993), and Spencer (1957).


Bass, R. (1995). The Lost Grizzlies. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Brown, D. E. (1985). The Grizzly in the Southwest. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Clark, A. F. (1970). Kuyukon Athabascan Ceremonialism. Western Canadien Journal of Anthropology, II: 80-83.

Fads, J. C. (1990). Nightway: A History and a History of Documentation of a Navajo Ceremonial. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Farmer, M. (1982). Bear Ceremonialism Among the Navajos and Other Apacheans. In D. M. Brugge and C. J. Frisbie (Eds.), Papers in Honor of Leland Wyman. pp. 110-114. Museum of New Mexico Papers in Anthropology, 17. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press.

Ford, B. (1981). Black Bear: The Spirit of the Wilderness. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Franciscan Fathers. (1910). An Ethnologic Dictionary of the Navajo Language. St. Michaels, AZ: St. Michaels Press.

Frisbie, C. J. (1987). Navajo Medicine Bundles or Jish: Acquisition, Transmission, and Disposition in the Past and Present. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

_____. (1992). Temporal Change in Navajo Religion: 1868-1990. Journal of the Southwest, 34(4): 457-514.

Goddard, P. E. (1911). Jicarilla Apache Texts. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, XXIV(I). New York.

Goodwin, G. (1938). White Mountain Apache Religion. American Anthropologist, 40(1): 24-37.

Hallowell, A. I. (1926). Bear Ceremonialism in the Northern Hemisphere. American Anthropologist, 28(1): 1-175.

Hart, M. C. (1918). Review of the Grizzly and Big Brown Bears of North America. North American Fauna, 4: 1-136.

Haile, B. (1932). Beardance: A Ceremony of the Jicarilla Apache, Manuscript, University of Arizona.

-----. (1946). The Navajo Fire Dance. St. Michaels, AZ: St. Michaels Press.

Hill, W. W. (1938). The Agricultural and Hunting Methods of the Navajo Indians. New Haven, CT: Yale University Publications.

Housholder, B. (1966). The Grizzly Bear in Arizona. Privately printed manuscript.

Matthews, W. (1887). The Mountain Chant: A Navajo Ceremony, 5th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, pp. 379-467.

-----. (1897/1994). Navajo Legends. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.

McCoy, K. (1996). Personal Telephone Interview, July 10.

Morgan, W. (1936). Human-Wolves Among the Navajo. New Haven, CT: Yale University Publications.

Nelson, R. K. (1976). Hunters of the Northern Forest. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

-----. (1983). Make Prayers to the Raven: a Kuyukon View of the Northern Forest. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

O'Bryan, A. (1956/1993). Navajo Indian Myths. New York: Dover Publications.

O'Conner, J. (1945). Hunting in the Southwest. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Opler, M. E. (1941). An Apache Lifeway: the Economic, Social, and Religious Institutions of the Chiricahua Indians. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

_____. (1943). The Character and Derivation of the Jicarilla Apache Holiness Rite. University of New Mexico Bulletin, No. 390.

Opler, M. K. (1941). A Colorado Ute Indian Bear Dance. Southwestern Lore, (September): 21-30.

Parsons, E. C. (1939). Pueblo Indian Religion, 2 vols. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Pavlik, S. (1992). Field notes.

-----. (1993). Navajo Christianity: Historical Origins and modern Trends. Paper presented at the Robert K. Thomas Symposium, July, Vancouver, BC.

-----. (1995). Navajo Orthodox Traditionalism. Paper presented at the Navajo Studies Conference, March, Farmington, NM.

-----. (1997). Navajo Christianity: Historical Origins and Modern Trends. Wicazo Sa Review, 12(2): 43-58.

Peterson, D. (1995). Ghost Grizzlies. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Reichard, G. A. (1950). Navajo Religion, A Study of Symbolism. New York: Bollinger Foundation.

Rockwell, D. (1991). Giving Voice to Bear: North American Indian Myths, Rituals, and Images of the Bear. Niwot, CO: Roberts Rinehart Publishers.

Shepard, P. and S. Sanders. (1985). The Sacred Paw: The Bear in Nature, Myth, and Literature. New York: Viking Press.

Spencer, K. (1957). Mythology and Valves: An Analysis of Navajo Chantway Myths. Philadelphia: American Folklore Society.

Wyman, L. (1975). The Mountainway of the Navajo. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Steve Pavlik teaches at the Theodore Roosevelt School on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona. He holds an M.A. in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and has published extensively in the areas of Navajo religion and American Indian education.
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Title Annotation:Focus on American Indian Studies
Author:Pavlik, Steve
Publication:The Social Science Journal
Date:Oct 1, 1997
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