Sacred Texts  Native American  California 

Pomo Bear Doctors

by S.A. Barrett


UCPAAE 12:11 pp. 443-465.
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This is a monograph on a typical variety of native Californian shamanism, the animal-impersonator. This describes the practice among the Pomo, a Northern Californian people. Despite the title 'Bear Doctor,' these shamans did not cure: they were berserkers, as befits their totem, with a license to kill up to four people per year. Topics include how they fit into Pomo Creation mythology, initiation rituals and comparisons with other Northern Californian groups.

Title Page
Origin Account
Acquisition of Power
Hiding Places
The Magic Suit
Weapons and Their Use
Rites Over the Suit
Communication Between Bear Doctors
Panther Doctors
Comparison With Yuki Beliefs
Comparison With Miwok Beliefs