mahkwa kiilhswa (Black Bear Moon)

January 2, 2017

Mahkwa Kiilhswa (Black Bear Moon) is one of two lunar months named for the American Black Bear (Ursus americanus).  It typically occurs around the Gregorian months of January and February.  To the best of our knowledge, this month is associated with mature female bear giving birth to their cubs.  Female Black Bears have a litter of cubs every 2 years, and litters range from 1-5 cubs.  Following birth, cubs stay with their mother for 1-2 years. Mahkwa were an important source of food for Myaama people, with Black Bear tenderloin being a particular delicacy.  Mahkwa also plays a prominent role in Myaamia aalhsoohkaana (Winter Stories).

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