SPIRIT BEAR – PEACE, HARMONY & REMEMBRANCE
The Spirit Bear or Kermode Bear is a rare form of black bear with a recessive gene that results in a white pelt of fur. They can be found in northern British Columbian’s remote coastal rain forest.
The Tsimshian people of the area believe in the legend of Moksgm’ol (Spirit Bear) the spirit of the rainforest. It is said that Creator, the Raven, decided to create a reminder of when the world was once covered with ice and snow. To do this, he was said to fly among the black and brown bear people and turn every tenth one white. He decreed that these bears would live in peace and harmony forever.
Until the turn of the century, Spirit Bear lived in virtual isolation, known only to the Tsimshian people. As change began to invade the untouched rainforests of British Columbia, the secret of Spirit Bear slowly became known.
The Spirit Bear is depicted in Pacific Northwest Coast First Nations art with a short snout, short ears, small tail, and large claws.
Image by Coast Salish artist, Francis Horne, compliments of Native Northwest.