Legendary Native American Figures: Naked Bear (Nyah-Gwaheh)
Name: Naked Bear Tribal affiliation:Seneca, Cayuga, Iroquois Native names: Nyah-gwaheh, Nia'gwahe:, Nya'kwaehe:h, Ganiagwaihegowa, Nya'kwaeheko:wa:h, Niagwaihegowa, Nyah-gwa-ih-heh-go-wah Pronunciation: varies by tribe: usually nyah-gwah-heh or gah-nyah-gweah-heh-goh-wah Also known as: Great Bear, Mammoth Bear, Monster Bear, Big Naked Bear, Great Naked Bear Type:Monster, stiff-legged bear Related figures in other tribes:Yakwawi, Katshituashku, Man-Eater, Hairless Bear
Naked Bear was described as a monstrous, man-eating creature resembling an enormous bear with
no fur and an oversized head.
Its Iroquois names literally mean "great bear." According to some stories, this monstrous bear is hairless because its fur falls
out as a result of eating human flesh. Naked Bears are nearly invincible to human attacks but can be killed by shooting arrows into
the soles of their feet.
Some folklorists believe the Naked Bear may have been inspired by mammoths or mastodon fossils. You can visit our
stiff-legged bear site to read some opinions about that.