Among indigenous peoples of the northern hemisphere, the bear, in his winter slumber, is the symbolic holder of the warmth and light of the world. The mythic imagination has recognized this in various artistic forms. This song blends this symbolic link with the classic mythic form of a hero’s adventure.

The snow came early and lay on deep
The cold blown bitter made the women weep
Our men tracked hard but could find no game
In our children’s bellies were cryin’ pains

Our elders gathered in the eve and dawn
They prayed and waited and looked
But, little did they know that way up high
The Bear Had Stole the Chinook.

A ragged orphan boy living alone
Called to the animals in his home
Owl and Magpie flew on in
With Coyote and Weasel, there were four of them

As their council met, the Magpie “cawed”
As our heroes shivered and shook
He said, “my relatives told me so”,
He said, “The Bear Has Stole the Chinook.”

Our heroes’ journey to release the wind
Turned west to the mountain bear’s den
Four days they teamed and traveled along
Together they did ascend...
Up to the den that held the Chinook.

The Grizzly snored and snarled in his sleep
Owl crept close, into his lodge peeped
Bear punched Owl’s eyes with a stick
So they sent in a brother who was lightning quick.

The weasel slithered easy through the hole,
And found the elk skin bag of the crook
The bear, enraged roared, “Go Away!” (and said)
“I’m the Bear Who Stole the Chinook!”

Then our friends made medicine smoke appear
And blew it in the Grizzly Bear’s den

The big ol’ Griz fell fast asleep
As Coyote crept on in.

He found the bag where the wind was kept
And pulled it to the light of day
There a Prairie Chicken picked the stitches out
Then the Chinook blew on its way
The Chinook blew on its way.

The Bear burst suddenly from his sleep Grrrrr!
Our friends all fled, their job complete
The Bear, in vain, pursued the wind
But, the warm wind never was again his friend.

Now Bear sleeps underground the winter long
In his lodge he grumbles and looks
Back to the days of the winter warmth
To the Bear Who Stole the Chinook
To the Bear Who Stole the Chinook
I’m the Bear Who Stole the Chinook!

I’m the Bear Who Stole the Chinook!

Grrrrr! Grrrrr!

Go to top