Bear Clan gets a taste of both sweetness and sadness

At Bear Clan this season we have had some pretty contrasting days together so far, some planned for, while others where totally spontaneous. On our first week together, while wondering about the land in the rain, some of girls found a great patch of wild plums that were almost ripe –yum! I took note of this and all week was thinking about different ways we could incorporate this wonderful, wild edible source on the land into our next day together.

During our second week together, after playing a much loved game of wolf pup and having some time for personal connection with each other around snack, we set off as a group to find these delicious treats. The girls were asked to try and remember where on the land we saw the wild plums growing. I trailed behind as they all brainstormed and lead the group together to where they believed the plums were. It was so fun seeing all of them map out in their minds what they knew about the land, as well as what they knew about identifying wild plums. To our luck, the girls found two patches that yielded a great deal of plums, however, we were still in need of more to make the yummy jam we all wanted to make and eat so badly.

By following bear scat along the driveway, we were led to another amazing patch of plums that filled up our bowl very quickly. We then headed back to a secret location and began the processing of the plums into jam as a group. See if your girls can explain or even show you this Thursday where the plums are on the land (it will be trickier now since many of the plums are gone), as well as how we learned to harvest them! The rest of our day together was spent tending the jam, cooling off in the creek, eating some jam, and playing games all together. I hope all of you got to try at least some the deliciousness we made!

On our third week together something caught us all by surprise, as we were walking over to our secret spot we came across a mink that had been killed by a small bullet. Many of the girls were deeply affected by this and we spent some time possessing it’s death, collecting flowers, singing a song to the spirit of the mink, and sending a satchel of flowers, cornmeal and some of the mink’s hair down the creek. We did all of this as a way to honor and send prayer to the mink nation that we love so much, and many of the ideas came form the girls themselves (so sweet). It was asked at one point, “why would someone shoot a mink?” Lorene responded by saying, “that is a great question… all of us at Bear Clan deeply love nature, and also feel that love in return, this person may not care or love nature in same way we do, and they may need some more love in their own life in order to feel that love for nature in return.” It was somber, yet touching morning.

At snack, we had some time to share how we were all feeling, which many of the girls shared feeling both sadness and anger, as well as wanting to do something with the mink. It was decided, after we all had a chance to share our feelings, that we were going to skin the mink and then bury it’s body. This project took nearly our whole afternoon together, which all of the girls engaged with in some way. Many helped to skin the animal, while others collected flowers and found a nice spot to dig a hole for the body of the mink. I was surely taken aback by the determination and love that showed up in all of these girls for this animal. These girls got guts and an amazing, unconditional love for all life. Check in with them about it felt to a part of this emotional and physical process. Thanks for sharing your wonderful girls with us!

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