Ensign Walking Bear was a 23rd century Human Starfleet officer who was descended from the Comanche, a Native American tribe. He was a scholar of many of the peoples of Earth history, especially his own.
Background information Edit
The character was voiced by James Doohan, who needed to know the Native American's age and considered this with David Wise and Russell Bates. The latter co-writer later remembered, "We talked it over and decided he was 22 or 23 years old." (Starlog issue #159, p. 27)
Walking Bear's first name was not given in the episode's dialogue, but rather the final draft of the script, which described the following: "In helm position is Ensign Dawson Walking Bear, to be established as a Comanche Indian: has brown skin, high cheekbones, longish black hair swept back and cut at collar-length (NOTE: no pageboy or Prince Valiant cuts, please), later will be seen as tall."
The character of Dawson Walking Bear was conceived for the ultimately undeveloped TAS episode "The Patient Parasites". D.C. Fontana was initially indifferent to the character, however. "Dorothy told me he was little different from any of the other Trek characters," related writer Russell Bates. When he co-wrote "How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth" with David Wise, Bates included Walking Bear in that episode. Bates himself was a member of the Kiowa tribe, which probably influenced the inclusion of a Native American character.