Bear Heart

1918-2009

& Regina Waterspirit

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“If we can come together in harmony, a sense of blending, forgiving, loving, tolerating, if we could live that way then perhaps the whole outlook of our world, which is the greater circle, might be better for all of mankind.”

– Marcellus “Bear Heart” Williams

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Bear Heart's Book

The Wind is My Mother

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Marcellus “Bear Heart” Williams

Wise Elder & Teacher

Sweat Lodge Water Pourer & Sacred Pipe Carrier

Bear Heart was born in Okemah, Oklahoma, was a full-blood spiritual leader of the Muskogee-Creek Nation trained in the traditional ways of his tribe.

Highly regarded as a healer and counselor, he was also a respected leader of the Native American Church, Sun Danced with both the Northern and Southern Cheyenne people, and was an ordained minister in the American Baptist Church.

Bear Heart was asked to be one of the spiritual counselors for the fireman and their families after the Oklahoma City tragedy and put down prayers with the Fire Department at Ground Zero, New York in November, 2001. Bear Heart helped thousands of people over the course of his life and his book, “The Wind Is My Mother,” continues his life work of sharing wisdom and inspiration.

                                                                  -  Ram Dass

                                www.ramdass.org/marcellus-bear-heart-williams

"Nokus Feke Ematha Tustanaki," Bear Heart, "Dov Lev, " the heart of the bear, in Hebrew, was a man of many gifts. Marcellus L.Williams was born in Okemah, Oklahoma on April 13th, 1918.  He jokingly said, "in a leap year during a lunar eclipse and that is why I have no astrological sign! " His father was of the Bear Clan and his mother of the Wind Clan, of the Muskogee Nation-Creek Tribe.  His great grandmother, Yebe, died on the Trail of Tears and is buried in an unmarked grave in Ft. Gibson, Oklahoma. He became an American Baptist minister, a medicine man, and a Road Man of the Native American Church.

In 1938, BearHeart won the title of World Fancy Dance Champion at Andarko, Oklahoma. He performed at Madison Square Garden.  His singing voice was sonorous, and at one time his family urged him to attend a music conservatory.  After college and theology school he went into the Army, where he served as an aerial map maker and taught hand to hand combat. He was limited due to having sight in only one eye. Bear Heart was the Director of Cultural Retention for the State of Oklahoma. He spoke 13 native languages along with his tremendous command of English. He was invited to the White House, and prayed with President Harry Truman. He relocated to New Mexico to be an adjunct consultant at the invitation of the Memorial Psychiatric Hospital, and was a member for seven years of the Advisory Board for The Native American/ Alaskian Native Public Institue of Health at John Hopkins. In 1996, Bear Heart's story was published as The Wind is My Mother by Bear Heart with Random House and is still in print in 14 countries, including many oriental languages and Hebrew.

His native traditions and western education, an honorary Ph.D. in Humanities, blended together to give a unique perspective on life and healing that demonstrated true wisdom. His compassion and love for all people characterized his journey for 90 years of extraordinary living.  He is beloved the world over as "Grandfather Bear Heart."  In addition to his vocation as a medicine person he was a multi-tribal spiritual leader functioning as the intercessor for many vision quests in his tradition.  For many years he and his companion, medicine helper, Reginah WaterSpirit, have been teachers at Medicine Wheels and workshops all over the country and Europe. Bear Heart was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. Although he faced many challenges and personal tragedy, he never gave up...nor became bitter. He enfolded the pain of his own experiences into his understanding of others, the sign of a great teacher. 

Perhaps his own Motto, taken from a newspaper clipping his mother, "Aunt Katie," as she was called by many, put in his lunch bag one day, says it best.  "There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind a little higher."     - Henry Jackson van Dyke

Bear Heart has done all that for many people all over the world.  He will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched and loved.

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Reginah WaterSpirit