Bear is often admired for power and sheer size, but there is more to this in Coast Salish mythology. One aspect largely overlooked is Bear’s humility. In one particular story Bear battles Ant for the cycle of the days, wanting to keep long winters to sleep. Ant is the antithesis of this want and desires long days so she can work endlessly. They battle in song, as is a tradition of much of Coast Salish mythology. Bear longs for more at one point when making a turn, looking to win, only to discover he gave up his endurance and days were won by Ant. In his stubborn way he refused to some extent, so when Winter comes he goes to his cave to slumber.
In another aspect Bear is also very giving. When his daughter was courted by Raven’s son he hosted him graciously, sharing his abundance of salmon and even overextended himself, which led to Raven to try to do the same, which ended with him scorching his own feet in a fire that made them scaly and dry–which is another story entirely.
-Qwalsius Shaun Peterson