Observations placeholder

Debra McCann - Native American Indians - Wolf

Identifier

003331

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

A description of the experience

Debra McCann  from  http://users.ap.net/~chenae/natwolf.html

 It's not surprising that the Indian [Native American] saw the wolf as a significant animal. Both were hunters of which the survival of their families depended. The Indian was very aware of the many ways in which his own life resembled those of the wolf. The wolf hunted for himself and for his family. The wolf defended his pack against enemy attack, as the Indian defended his tribe. He had to be strong as an individual and for the good of the pack. It was a sufficient system of survival; and in the eyes of the Indian, no animal did this as well as the wolf.

The hunter did not see the wolf as an enemy or competitor, or as something less than himself. His perception of the wolf was a realistic assessment of the wolf's ability to survive and thrive, to be in balance with the world they shared. He respected the wolf's patience and perseverance, which were his most effective hunting weapons. To say he hunted like a wolf was the highest compliment, just as to say a warrior fought like the wolf was high praise.

The wolf moved silently without effort, but with purpose. He was alert to the smallest changes in his world. He could see far and his hearing was sharp. When an Indian went into enemy territory, he wished to move exactly like this, to sense things like the wolf.

The wolf fulfilled two roles for the Indian: he was a powerful and mysterious animal, and so perceived by most tribes, and he was a medicine animal, identified with a particular individual, tribe or clan. At a tribal level, the attraction to the wolf was strong, because the wolf lived in a way that made the tribe strong. He provided food for all, including the old and sick members of the pack. He saw to the education of his children. He defended his territory against other wolves. At a personal level, those for whom the wolf was a medicine animal or personal totem understood the qualities that made the wolf stand out as an individual. For example, his stamina, ability to track well and go without food for long periods.

The source of the experience

Native American Indians

Concepts, symbols and science items

Concepts

Symbols

Wolf

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Commonsteps

References