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Bear Heart

Bear Heart

Marcellus “Bear Heart” Williams (1918 - 2008) was one of the last traditionally trained medicine persons of the Muscogee Creek Nation. His teachings wove together the knowledge of many traditions as Bear Heart was an ordained American Baptist Minister, Road Chief, and renowned spiritual counselor. Speaking in 13 Native American tribal languages, Bear Heart was considered a Multi-Tribal Spiritual Leader and was called upon internationally for his healing work. 

Bear Heart received formal education from the all-Indian Bacone College in Muscogee, Oklahoma. He later majored in Biblical Greek and earned a divinity degree from Andover Newton Theological Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Bear Heart’s wisdom, traditional medicine knowledge and spiritual compassion made him a sought-after figure. He prayed with President Truman, he spoke at the opening of the Smithsonian Native American Museum, and he was a spiritual counselor for firemen and their families after the Oklahoma City tragedy in 1995. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Bear Heart served on former President George W. Bush's Faith-Based Initiative Panel for the U.S. Department of Health's "When Terror Strikes" conference in New York, and he put down prayers with police and firemen at Ground Zero in New York City. 

Bear Heart’s first book, The Wind Is My Mother, has been translated into 14 languages. His second book, The Bear is My Father, is co-authored by Reginah WaterSpirit, who worked and traveled with Bear Heart as a medicine helper for 23 years. They eventually married in a spiritual ceremony in Oklahoma.

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