But not all Indians regard all bears in the same way. The Blackfeet call a black bear kyaio, which means bear; the grizzly they call nitakyaio, which means real bear.
Tribes who live in the mountains, where there were few buffalo or elk in the old days, would eat black bears, but not grizzlies. The latter were definitely more powerful and dangerous, and were to be avoided, or at least treated with the greatest respect and deference--spoken of in a low voice.
As Meriwether Lewis observed in his journal for April 13, 1805:
To get power from a bear by dreaming of one, by killing and eating part of one, or even by touching a bear, made a warrior invincible. Among the Shoshonis, though, the the man with a grizzly for a guardian spirit was considered likely to have a short temper.
A Good Book
David Rockwell, Giving Voice to Bear (Niwot, Colorado: Roberts Rinehart, 1991).