The Bear Clan - The Speakers
The Bear Clan regulated civil affairs. The pipe carried in the crook of his left
arm signifies this obligation to the society and the heavy responsibilities it entailed. Incidentally, the
bowl of the original pipe was carved from wood or from stone, usually pipestone, and had a wooden stem. As
part of his duties, the Bear called the tribe to general council meetings and opened the deliberations that
followed in an orderly procedure. He also watched over civil affairs to be certain things flowed smoothly.
He did not possess the power to compel by force or edict his wishes or fancies, for the Menominee culture alone served as
the motivating ideal for the individual Menominee. A directive would fall to the ground unheard. A strong and vigorous
culture elicited respect and a desire on the part of the members to sustain it by following its principles. Peace and
relative order marked the affairs of traditional society, a phenomenon consistently reported by the earliest European
explorers and settlers. Of course, this meant that the cultural systems had to be constantly worked at and vitalized to
enable them to become significant. But the culture provided for this element too.
The Bear Clan is made up of the Bear, Beaver, Muskrat, Otter, Sturgeon, Mud Turtle, Sunfish, and Porcupine Clans. Click
on the name below to visit each clan: