Waking the Bear: Understanding Circumpolar Bear Ceremonialism

Ob-Ugrian Bronze Casting of Bear in Ceremonial Position. Courtesy Surgut Regional History Museum.
Product Type
Product Status
Data Type
Indigenous terminology
Local observations
Wildlife observations
Indigenous knowledge
Oral history
Geographic Area
Russian Federation
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For centuries, Indigenous peoples across Eurasia and North American have maintained harmonious relations with bears with whom they share the world, honoring this relationship through elaborate ceremonies. At present, this website describes the bear ceremonies of Siberian people, the Mansi and the Khanty, through a rich narrative illustrated by photos, videos, and audio recordings. The content is in both English and Russian.

In 2021-2022, the research project aims to reach out to Native American and First Nations communities in the United States and Canada, whose concern has been indicated by the unique Grizzly Bear Treaty of 2016, initiated by the Piikani First Nation of Canada and signed by representatives of more than a hundred tribes. The hope is that the website might provide the focus for a future, multidisciplinary Indigenous-led forum on sharing the world with bears and other-than-human persons.