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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Quincy in Plumas County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Bear Dance

 
 
Bear Dance Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 22, 2016
1. Bear Dance Marker
Inscription.  Long before the white man came to this land the Maidu performed the Bear Dance (Weda) each Spring. This ceremony, which is performed to this day, is a spiritual and social gathering. It honors the creation, the World Maker and the earth while paying homage to the grizzly bear and rattlesnake. Prayers are said at sunrise and everyone is asked to speak their heart.

This mural is dedicated to the Maidu and the spirit of harmony that the Bear Dance evokes.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Native Americans.
 
Location. 39° 56.217′ N, 120° 56.852′ W. Marker is in Quincy, California, in Plumas County. Marker is on Bradley Street just north of Main Street (State Route 89), on the right when traveling north. Marker and mural are painted on the west wall of the building at the northeast corner of the intersection. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 493 Main Street, Quincy CA 95971, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Plumas Club (within shouting distance of this marker); World War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Forest Stationers
Bear Dance Mural image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 22, 2016
2. Bear Dance Mural
(marker is in lower left corner of mural)
(about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Arthur W. Keddie (about 300 feet away); Plumas County Veterans Memorial (about 400 feet away); Beckwourth Trail – American Ranch (about 500 feet away); Feather Publishing Co. (about 500 feet away); Goodwin Law Office (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Quincy.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Bear Dance. Our traditions tell us that years ago all the animals were people. Salmon, Fox, Deer, Bear — everything was a person. And at one time all animal-people were killers too. Just before humans came, the Worldmaker, the big man who made this world, decided to end all of that. He decided to call a big time, and after that everyone who went there would be friendly and get along together. He invited all the animal-people, and when the big day came they all showed up. The Worldmaker went about and counted heads. "Yep, everyone here — Nope, two missing! Where's Bear and that Rattlesnake? Anyone seen Bear or Rattlesnake around?" (Those two hid out in the woods.) Worldmaker got mad, and chased after those two. He flattened Rattlesnake's head with a
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piece of soda bread, and just as Bear ran away Worldmaker managed to pull off Bear's tail. That's why to this day rattlesnake has a flat head and Bear has a short tail. And that's why we still have those two dangerous animals in the woods — bears and rattlesnakes. Now, every year we have to hold a Bear Dance to calm them down — Bear and Rattlesnake — or we are liable to get bit! (Submitted on December 28, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Maidu (Wikipedia). A traditional spring celebration for the Maidu was the Bear Dance when the Maidu honored the bear coming out of hibernation. The bear's hibernation and survival through the winter symbolized perseverance to the Maidu, who identified with the animal spiritually. (Submitted on December 28, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. The Mountain Maidu Bear Dance. Today the Bear Dance is the largest and most important spiritual gathering of the Mountain Maidu during the year. Although it is, in a sense, a New Year’s celebration, it is done in June, rather than April to accommodate spring planting and the school year, but otherwise it is essentially unchanged from the old days. (Submitted on December 28, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 28, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 32 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 28, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Mar. 3, 2021