Bear Spirit Store is more than a unique jewelry store; it is a place where American Indian art abounds, combined with intricate jewelry designs and traditional spiritual pieces.

“This store is awesome,” exclaimed customer Desiree Licon of San Andreas. “We definitely have to come back in,” she laughed, explaining the number of friends and relatives who she hoped to bring into the store.

After years of traveling the trade show circuit through many states, Golden Bear Freer and his wife, Whiteflower Freer, decided to settle down in their hometown and open Bear Spirit this year.

Golden Bear weaves his Comanche, Cherokee, Creek and Choctaw roots into his custom silver designs, beaded bands and medicine bags. Each handmade medicine bag is filled with herbal medicines that differ for each individual, so “When spirit visits, spirit will know what kind of person we are,” explained Golden Bear.

Golden Bear worked as a spiritual leader within the California Department of Corrections for more than 30 years, guiding both spiritual seekers and those in need. As a student progressed out of the system, Golden Bear created one-of-a-kind, handmade leather medicine bags and filled them with herbs specifically designed for each student.

However, his skills are not limited to leatherwork; he also creates intricate beaded band designs and is a talented silversmith. His jewelry cases are proof of his skill.

With row upon row of stone and silver rings on display, Golden Bear realizes some might wish for something different and will gladly design and create pieces especially for customers.

“They can bring in their own stone to design a piece, or choose from thousands within our collection.”

Co-owner Whiteflower brings her Apache and Azteca art skills to the table with her intricate beaded dream catchers and jewelry designs.

Though much of the jewelry in the store in handmade by either Golden Bear or Whiteflower, they also carry a large selection of supplies for aspiring artists to create their own designs from beads to gems and feathers to herbs, as well as a collection of American Indian pottery and dolls.

Currently, Reike classes are offered, with the hopes of adding drum-making classes, dream interpreters, numerologists, mediums and tarot card reading classes.

While classes on drumming are not yet in the offing, Golden Bear will gladly drum his own healing song, the bear song “A Gift From Spirit,” for interested visitors.

Golden Bear was named wadige-aska’li, Rattlesnake, at birth by his Comanche mother Ellamae Seward. In his early 20s, he says he felt a calling that told of a name change.

“Though we are given a name by our family at birth, as an adult we can receive a name through dreams based on our actions in a community or visions,” he explained. “When I was 25, I fasted for four days in King Canyon, N.D., entering a sweat lodge at the end of my fasting. While in the lodge, a bear came to me.”

His sweat dream was interpreted by a dream interpreter and he received the name Golden Bear.

Similarly, Whiteflower received her name just eight years ago through a dream and subsequent interpretation.

“It is an undetermined amount of time to find/get a name,” she said, explaining the years that had passed for her to finally receive her name.

Golden Bear offers his spiritual leader services for weddings, funerals, blessings (even of motorcycles) and cleansings.

When asked how he would define himself, his humble response was, “Our goal is to be simple human beings and to have clarity with creator.”

Bear Spirit, 314 E. St. Charles St., San Andreas, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Call 559-5700 for more.

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