Cherokee Bear Song

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He! Hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´.
In Rabbit Place you were conceived (repeat)-Yoho´+!
He! Hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´.
In Mulberry Place you were conceived (repeat)-Yoho´+!
He! Hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´.
In Uyâ´’ye you were conceived (repeat)-Yoho´+!
He! Hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´.
In the Great Swamp (?) you were conceived (repeat)-Yoho´+!
And now surely we and the good black things, the best of all, shall see each other.

Explanation of the Cherokee Bear Song

This song, obtained from A’yû´nini in connection with the story of the Origin of the Bear, as already mentioned, is sung by the bear hunter, in order to attract the bears, while on his way from the camp to the place where he expects to hunt during the day. It is one of those taught the Cherokees by the Ani-Tsâ´kahi before they lost their human shape and were transformed into bears. The melody is simple and plaintive.

The song consists of four verses followed by a short recitation. Each verse begins with a loud prolonged He+! and ends with Yoho´+! uttered in the same manner.

Hayuya´haniwa´ has no meaning. Tsistu´yi, Kuwâ´hi, Uyâ´’ye, and Gâte´kwâhi are four mountains, in each of which the bears have a townhouse and hold a dance before going into their dens for the winter. The first three named are high peaks in the Smoky Mountains, on the Tennessee line, in the neighborhood of Clingman’s Dome and Mount Guyot. The fourth is southeast of Franklin, North Carolina, toward the South Carolina line, and may be identical with Fodderstack Mountain. In Kuwahi dwells the great bear chief and doctor, in whose magic bath the wounded bears are restored to health. They are said to originate or be conceived in the mountains named, because these are their headquarters. The “good black things” referred to in the recitation are the bears.

Cherokee Original

(Y´NA TI´KANÂGI´TA.)

He+! Hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´.
Tsistuyi´ nehandu´yanû, Tsistuyi´ nehandu´yanû-Yoho´+!
He+! Hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´.
Kuwâhi´ nehandu´yanû´, Kuwâhi´ nehandu´yanû-Yoho´+!
He+! Hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´.
Uyâ’ye´ nehandu´yanû´, Uya´ye´ nehahdu´yanû´-Yoho´+!
He+! Hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´, hayuya´haniwa´.
Gâtekwâ´(hi) nehandu´yanû´, Gâtekwâ´(hi) nehandu´yanû´-Yoho´+!
Ûle-’nû´ asehi´ tadeya´statakûhi´ gû´nnage astû´tsiki´.



MLA Source Citation:

Mooney, James. Sacred Formulas Of The Cherokees. Published in the Seventh Annual Report, Bureau of Ethnology, pp. 301-399. 1886. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 30 July 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/cherokee-bear-song.htm - Last updated on Jun 13th, 2013


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