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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Yup'ik RavenMarshall Cultural Atlas

This collection of student work is from Frank Keim's classes. He has wanted to share these works for others to use as an example of Culturally-based curriculum and documentation. These documents have been OCR-scanned. These are available for educational use only.






Alaska Brown Bear

Alaska Brown Bear

The Brown Bear

The Alaskan Brown bear, Ursus arctos middendorfi , is the largest meat eating land mammal and the largest bear in Alaska. These bears may exceed nine and a half feet. The largest bear taken was in 1969. It measured 10 1/2 feet long and weighed nearly 1,800 pounds. The Brown bear stands 4-4 1/2 feet high on all fours. A hump quite large and noticeable rests on the bear's shoulders.

The size and color of the Brown bear depends upon the geographic location, its age, sex and the time of the year. The coastal bears are three times larger than the interior bears. The quality and amount of food have a large impact on the size of the bear. The interior Brown bears have a darker color than the coastal bears.

The age of Brown bears is determined by the stained rings on their teeth. The oldest bear taken from the wilderness was a 36 year old boar. There was once a 47 year old female in a zoo.

The Brown bear is found throughout southern Alaska and in parts of southeastern Alaska. There are also a few Brown bears left in Asia. Density levels are higher in the Aleutian Islands, Panhandle, on the Kodiak Island and southcentral Alaska. The bears we have here in Marshall are smaller Brown bears known as Grizzly bears. The lowest number occur in northern Alaska and the Arctic regions.

The Brown bear's diet consists of many foods. It digs up small rodents with its claws and searches for ants, shrubs and other insects in the same way. The Brown bear eats a wide variety of plants and berries, fruits that are available, sedges, horsetails, and salmon which is a very important supplement in the bear's diet. The berries are eaten by the gallon and the animals are eaten whenever possible. The Brown bear is not a finicky eater. Once a biologist saw a boar chase and eat a cub when its mother wasn't looking.

The McNeil River is one of the most popular sites for the Brown bear to fish for salmon. The bears usually eat the eggs and leave the carcass for the seagulls and the immature male brownies. The bears do not catch that much fish in a day. A biologist surveyed the catches and found that they catch about three fish an hour. About 10-12 bears are common when they are fishing. During some years, as many as 65-70 bears may be seen fishing on the McNeil River.

Brown bears are attracted to dumpsites in many villages or cities. People also give the bears handouts that aren't healthy and nutritious. By the time they are ready to hibernate, they have not gained enough fat for the hibernation period. These bears take at least a month to gain the weight back to get ready for hibernation. Dumpsites and the handouts given by people also cause Brown bears to lose their fear of man. A protein rich diet supplies the nutrients for the bears to gain the fat needed. Salmon is one of the major supplements for coastal bears. Protein rich diets also produce young, healthy cubs that are larger than the interior Brown bears. The coastal bears usually gain 40-50 pounds in one summer.

The Brown bear seems most comfortable on the tundra or in grassy flats. When the bears come out of hibernation, they are commonly found in these areas, feeding on mainly grass and other fresh vegetation.

During hibernation the 8-10 ounce hairless cubs are born around late January and throughout February. The gestation period for the Brown bear is usually 7-9 months.

Denning periods for the Brown bears depend upon their sex, age, and physical condition. The interior Browns, or "brownies", enter their dens around late October, whereas the coastal bears enter their dens in November and December. The dens of the Brown bears are located somewhere on mountain slopes, in empty hollow logs, on hillsides and underground. On Kodiak Island the dens are often lined with leaves and grass.

Hunting Brown bears is considered dangerous. Wounded bears attack their enemies and are difficult to kill. Female bears may chase after their enemy to protect their cubs.

Non-residents kill nearly 62% of the Brown bears killed in Alaska and use them as trophies. Thirty-eight percent of the bears are killed by Natives in Alaska. There are 24 control units in Alaska that record the number of bears killed annually. These units are located throughout Alaska. The number of Brown bears is stable in most areas. There is no accurate number of bears in Alaska, but biologists say that there may be from 5,000-10,000.


Gabriel Duny

Marshall School

 Alaska Brown Bear

The Brown Bear

- Gabriel Duny


- Barbara Andrew

Polar Bear

- Tina Papp

Black Bears

- Henry S. Hunter

Asiatic Black Bear (Selenarctos thibetanus)

- Leslie Hunter Jr.

Sloth Bear

- LaVerne J. Manumik

Spectacled Bears Tremarctos ornatus

- Flora M. Evan

Panda Bear

- Palassa Sergie

Sun Bear

- Marlene Papp

Grizzly Bear

- Billy Waska

The Body of a Grizzly Bear

- Tina Papp

Hibernation and Denning of Grizzly Bears

- Flora Evan


Bear Fire
Stories and Poems
about Bears

by Marshall High School
Language Arts Classes
Spring, 1992


Produced by 
Information about Bears

Creative Stories from the Imagination

True Stories from Experience



Christmastime Tales
Stories real and imaginary about Christmas, Slavik, and the New Year
Winter, 1996
Christmastime Tales II
Stories about Christmas, Slavik, and the New Year
Winter, 1998
Christmastime Tales III
Stories about Christmas, Slavik, and the New Year
Winter, 2000
Summer Time Tails 1992 Summertime Tails II 1993 Summertime Tails III
Summertime Tails IV Fall, 1995 Summertime Tails V Fall, 1996 Summertime Tails VI Fall, 1997
Summertime Tails VII Fall, 1999 Signs of the Times November 1996 Creative Stories From Creative Imaginations
Mustang Mind Manglers - Stories of the Far Out, the Frightening and the Fantastic 1993 Yupik Gourmet - A Book of Recipes  
M&M Monthly    
Happy Moose Hunting! September Edition 1997 Happy Easter! March/April 1998 Merry Christmas December Edition 1997
Happy Valentine’s Day! February Edition 1998 Happy Easter! March/April Edition 2000 Happy Thanksgiving Nov. Edition, 1997
Happy Halloween October 1997 Edition Edible and Useful Plants of Scammon Bay Edible Plants of Hooper Bay 1981
The Flowers of Scammon Bay Alaska Poems of Hooper Bay Scammon Bay (Upward Bound Students)
Family Trees and the Buzzy Lord It takes a Village - A guide for parents May 1997 People in Our Community
Buildings and Personalities of Marshall Marshall Village PROFILE Qigeckalleq Pellullermeng ‘A Glimpse of the Past’
Raven’s Stories Spring 1995 Bird Stories from Scammon Bay The Sea Around Us
Ellamyua - The Great Weather - Stories about the Weather Spring 1996 Moose Fire - Stories and Poems about Moose November, 1998 Bears Bees and Bald Eagles Winter 1992-1993
Fish Fire and Water - Stories about fish, global warming and the future November, 1997 Wolf Fire - Stories and Poems about Wolves Bear Fire - Stories and Poems about Bears Spring, 1992



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Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
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Last modified August 21, 2006