Touching Spirit Bear

chapter 18

after their pre-dawn soak, edwin introduces cole to another moring ritual. explain briefly what it entails and its significance

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After their soak, Edwin takes Cole to meet his “ancestors.” The exercise involves taking a large “ancestor rock” representing the ancestors up a slope, and Edwin tells Cole how these ancestors have many lessons to teach him. After carrying the “ancestor rock” up the mountain, Cole is to release his anger downwards as he rolls the rock back down.

Anger is personified through the “ancestor rock” that Cole must carry up the hill each day. On the way up, the rock represents the value of his own life and those of his ancestors, but when he releases it downwards at the end of the climb, Edwin tells him to imagine it representing his anger as he lets it go. These symbolic representations draw heavily on Indian traditions but also form a central part of circle justice.