For thousands of years, Indigenous Americans and wolves coexisted peacefully. Deeply respected as a guide and teacher, and revered as a sacred relative, the wolf is culturally and spiritually important to most American Indian communities.
In the early 1600s, European colonists arriving to America brought with them the Old World culture of fear and animosity towards wolves. Stepping ashore, they encountered a New World that was abundant with wilderness, native tribes, and wildlife, but lacking in domesticated livestock such as cattle, pigs, goats, horses and sheep. Unlike wolves and other predators, livestock were regarded as valuable to civilized society and the European way of life. Consequently, the domesticated animals were imported into the colonies from Europe.
Colonial farmers allowed their livestock to forage free-range in the open fields and forested lands, exposing the animals to potential predation. In response to the perceived threat of wolves and the widespread prejudice against them, colonists set out to eradicate the predators they despised. Local governments even placed bounties on the heads of wolves to accelerate the slaughter. As European-Americans, claiming manifest destiny, settled the continent, they would kill nearly every wolf in sight for the next 300 years.
To the Anishinaabe Ojibwe community in the Great Lakes region of North America, the wolf is a brother. In their native language, brother wolf is Ma'iingan (pronounced Ma-en'-gun). The Anishinaabe people tell a creation story that traces the mutual kinship between the wolf and people back to the beginning of human existence.
In the beginning, the Creator (Gitchie Manito) made Anishinaabe (Original Man) and his brother Ma'iingan (the Wolf). Together, they walked Mother Earth naming all of the other plants, animals, and natural features. As they did, Original Man and Ma'iingan became close, like brothers, to each other and all of creation. When the journey was over, they talked with the Creator again. The Creator said, From this day on, you are to separate your paths. You must go your different ways. What shall happen to one of you will also happen to the other. Each of you will be feared, respected and misunderstood by the people that will later join you on this Earth. (Edward Benton-Banai, The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway, 1988, p.8)
Both wolves and Indigenous Americans were driven from their ancestral homelands by colonization and strife, and both populations remain just a small fraction of what they once were when the Europeans arrived. As you might expect, Native Americans are among the most vocal in speaking out about protecting wolves and opposing wolf hunts.
The 06 Legacy values and honors the sacred relationship with brother wolf. We invite you to join us in the fight to keep our wolf brothers and sisters safe.
I will walk beside you
I will not leave you
Guiding and showing you the way
I will be standing on the path watching you
If you ever feel alone
Close your eyes
You will see 6 sets of foot prints
2 belonging to you, 4 to me
Then you will know that I have not left you
I will be there to guide you, whenever you need
It is the promise of the wolf....
Photobook by the nature photographer, Brandenburg, accompanied by his musings on his experiences in search of wolves. Stunning, compelling and introspective, Mr. Brandenburg conveys reverence and respect for world of wolves. 1993
Mishomis (grandfather) explains how the creator placed all living things on earth. The Ojibway and Anishnasbe people believe the wolf was placed on earth as a companion to man. Mishomi tells the story of how man was lonely and the creator sent brother wolf.