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Pomo Bear Doctors, by S.A. Barrett, [1917], at


Informants state that the various bear doctors all over the country knew each other. 18 Two or more of them often met by chance at some spring or other secluded spot in the mountains, and at such times discussed their activities. They might tell each other where they expected to be next month, or what mountain they would use as a hiding place and base of operations next year.

Each bear doctor acted independently and knew no restrictions of any sort so far as his fellows were concerned, nor had he or his relatives any immunity from the attacks of other bear doctors, for one bear doctor might become enraged at another and cause his death or that of some of his relatives.

The only persons who were immune from these attacks were the captain of the village and his immediate family. He knew all the, bear doctors and received a share of their spoils in consideration for his friendly protection.

p. 462

Any bear doctor or person who knew all the secrets of bear doctoring usually took his relatives, or, at any rate, certain of them, to this hiding place and showed them enough of his secrets so that they would lose their fear of bear doctors and not be frightened when they heard of the death of some one through an attack by bears. Such partially initiated persons always mourned the loss of the victim as did the rest of the people, but were not, in reality, afraid of the bear doctors.


461:18 So far as could be ascertained, they formed no organized society, and never met as a body.

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