A Sacred Presence: Bear Encounters in Outdoor EducationReport as inadecuate

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Pathways: The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education, v19 n2 p10-11 Win 2007

There are moments in outdoor education that can only be described as magical. These are times when the wider world mirrors human stories with an uncanny synchronicity, as if choreographed by an unseen hand. Often the only thing people can really do is try and stay out of the way. In the author's own work, the footsteps moving through such magical moments have very often belonged to the bear. The author lives in the territory of the Nakoda people, where the words for bear translate as the Great One, all-knowing Grandfather, the Great Mother--honorific terms revealing a deep respect and reverence. Such respect is echoed in the traditional lifeways of Original Peoples around the world and throughout history. From the Paleolithic cave bear burial sites in Europe that may be the earliest archeological evidence of the human spiritual impulse, to the newly designated Great Bear Rainforest protected area in British Columbia, the bear has deeply impacted and perhaps even shaped the consciousness of every culture that has encountered her. In this article, the author shares stories of bear encounters that bring growth and healing.

Descriptors: Outdoor Education, Religious Factors, Animals, Personal Narratives, Experiential Learning, Culture

Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario. 1185 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario, M3C 3C6, Canada. e-mail: info[at]COEO.org; Web site: http://www.coeo.org/publication.htm

Author: Norris, Julian

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=3846&id=EJ899622


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