Native American Wolf

Wolves appear in the myths and legends of cultures throughout the world and date back far into history, so it is not surprising that the native American wolf would have its own particular myths and legends, especially in association with the indigenous peoples of America. The native American wolf has long been of importance to native peoples, represented in numerous legends, myths and stories.

For many indigenous peoples the attraction to the native American wolf had to do with its qualities. Among these qualities that were so admired was the way the wolves operated in packs, caring for each other and sharing food, as well as the strength, endurance and hunting skills displayed by the native American wolf. These were the same qualities that would help to ensure the survival of the tribe, qualities worthy of emulating.

The native American wolf was often represented in ceremonies and rituals stemming from shamanistic traditions, demonstrating respect for its strength and qualities, as well as the hope of being able to achieve similar characteristics. For some indigenous cultures, the native American wolf plays an important part in the creation stories that are a part of their spiritual beliefs.

Perhaps, as time went on and the Europeans came and pushed the native Americans out of lands that had been theirs for generations, the native Americans came to feel an even greater affinity for the native American wolf, also pushed out of its natural home, hunted and killed by the new westward pushing settlers. In today’s native American art, it is common to see representations of the native American wolf.

After being ruthlessly hunted almost into extinction, the native American wolf has, in recent decades, begun to be reintroduced into the areas in which it once roamed. As with  the native peoples themselves, after years and years of suffering the affects of the changes that the arrival of the Europeans heralded, things are finally starting to look up again for the native American wolf.

Joseph Paige 2006

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