Teaspoon Hunter, the erudite leader of a ragtag bunch of Pony Express riders in ABC TV’s “The Young Riders” makes his entrance on the show rising up out of a horse trough, wiping water from his face with a horse’s tail, and then liberally applying a bluish* viscous substance beneath his arms. “Bear grease, boys, secret of health!”
Bear grease was a common hair dressing oil for Native Americans, adding shine to their hair. Delaware, Huron, Sauk, Crow, Dakota, Pawnee, Mohawk, etc. The exceptions were the tribes from California and the rest of the Southwest. Individual uses varied… perfumed oils were used by some and others used coloring to add another layer to their dressing.
Besides bear grease, the Native Americans also used raccoon fat and deer marrow to add shine to their hair.