AniGatogewi/Wild Potato/Bear Clan
We are a peace clan.
We are farmers, nurturers and gathers. We are said to have been the ones the Little People showed the wild potato to. We became experts at using this root; making flour and bread for food. Wild potato plants grow in swamps and along streams; hence the name gatogewi = "swamp". This is how we were named.
Please pay special attention to the way water plays into the importance of the relationship to the tree, to green, and to the wild potato. Water is Spirit. It is essential to who we are and to sustaining the life within ourselves and our Tribe. Without Spirit, we are not what we should be. Without water, the birch and wild potatoes do not grow. We don't need just a bit of water/spirit either...we need a lot of it! Spirit is what makes us who we are.
Study on the bear, and it's habits. Think of its hibernation, it's effective use of food and energy. Consider how it cares for its young, and what we once gained from this knowledge. There is an inner strength and fortitude associated with this animal guide that many of us in Bear Clan share. Raccoons are considered part of the bear family. One of the great lessons we learn from Bear is to look within ourselves for what we know. Bear symbolizes wisdom, insight, introspection, protection, and healing. Bear teaches us to look for truth, and to access our natural inner strength and abilities. The Legend of the bear says he was once human.
Our Color is Green. Emerald green represents immortality. Olive green is the traditional color of peace. Attributes: Stability, harmony, pacifity, luminousity, quietude and peace of mind. Green is life; indicative of nature, youth, vigor, hope, cheerfulness, and abundance; caring and trustworthy. Needless to say, many of us are natural gardeners (or wish we were!) and pet lovers. Every color has its own vibrational quality.
Green is 4th color of the seven spectrum colors.
It is the Earth Element.
Our Gemstone is Emerald.
Musical Note: F - minor key
Our wood is birch; hard, light. This wood has some very intense qualities and must be chosen with care. The tree must be straight splitting, have few or no knots, have a minimum of heartwood, and have tough fibers. There are few trees available that have all these qualities. I am going to include a few things about the tree here for your consideration.
There are several ways to determine the grain.
1) Look at the grooves or ridges on the tree. Do they go straight up, or do they twist to the side? Look under the knots. Often there are grooves leading up to the knot. Are they straight or twisted?
2) Another way to check the grain is to remove some of the bark and look at the grain. Chop a little of the wood, and peel the fibers from the tree. Do they split straight down, or do they twist a little to the side? If the grain is twisted, it is better to leave the tree alone and find another one. It is as difficult to work with an undesirable tree as it is a perfect tree. It is worth the time and effort to find the right tree.
It is very difficult to find a tree with no knots. They disrupt the grain of the wood and weaken it. There is a difference between knots, however. Obviously some are larger than others. There are live knots and dead knots. A live knot is the knot of a branch that was alive when the tree was harvested. A dead knot is from a branch that was dead. Live knots are much stronger.
Inside many birch trees is dark heartwood. This wood is contrasted with the white wood on the outside. Heartwood isn't necessarily weaker than the outside wood, but the water content is far less. If a sled member has a little heartwood and the rest is white wood, it will tend to warp strongly towards the white wood when it dries, shrinking more on that side than the heartwood side. When women peel birch trees to make birch baskets, the tree isn't killed. Old timers say the tree reacts by producing much more heartwood. It is often easy to tell how much heartwood is present in a tree by noticing the black flecks on the bark. They look like woodpecker holes. The more black flecks there are, the more heartwood there is.
Trees are like people. Some are tough and some aren't. If a tree has tough fibers, the items made from it will last a long time, and can be made relatively light. One tree might be 3-4 times stronger than another. There are several things that make a tree tough:
1) Genetics. If a tree comes from the seeds of tough trees, it too will be tough.
2) Soil. A tree on good soil with proper minerals and water content can also be a tough tree.
3) Location. If a tree is in a sheltered place, the fibers of the tree will tend to be weaker. If the tree grows in a windy place, the tree will tend to be more gnarled, but the fibers will be very strong, as the wind bends and flexes the tree, toughening the fibers.
These things carry over into who we are individually, and as part of our Nation. Our Clan sits to the left of Wolf in the circle. We function between Wolf and Deer Clans.
We are the AhNiYvWiYa, the First People. We are the keepers of Elohino, Earth Mother. We have a responsibility to care for Her and respect Her. We are of Her and we are forever connected. The AniGatogewi are Her designated caretakers. We are bonded to the land. We are the glue that holds the 'people' together. We are the HEART of the Nation. We are its homeplace. We are the one's who give it roots..
"With the heart of a bear, and gentle hands . . . a spirit open and true; We sing to Grandmother and plant by her light; Elo Hino we sing for you."