The Wolf, the Orca and the Hunters

There is the world of the flesh, and there is the spirit world. When the flesh is gone, the spirit forever remains. Their voices speak to those who know how to listen. Wisdom is born in the heart, and then spoken. – Wolf Clan Song

A small community once lived near tall mountains. They prospered there for many years living on game and seasonal foods. One day, the Sun became weak and darkness brought cold to the world. The community’s hunters couldn’t find game to feed their families. Slowly people started dying, from hunger, sickness, and hunting injuries. One of the elders before she passed away told the hunter’s she had a dream. She described to them, the community was feasting and dancing, but not here where they lived. They were by great water and endless tundra. She said to them, ‘Follow the west breath. Follow the brothers. Follow the river. Follow the black fish. Follow the wolves. They will present themselves to you. Trust in them.’

The hunter’s told everyone they must go. Everyone packed their belongings and headed west. Fall was upon them and the days were getting colder and shorter. For weeks they travelled following the wind and the river. Their food was running low and everyone was tired from the seemingly endless move. One night at camp, the hunter’s heard singing voices, ‘Come to us. We hunt. Come to me. We feed.’

The hunter’s grabbed their bows and arrows and ran to the singing. They did not find people amongst the spruce, but a pack of wolves howling at Brother moon. Thinking they would attack, one of the hunter’s raised his bow. Before he shot, one of the wolves as white as snow approached. He said to them, ‘Follow us. We found caribou. We will feed tonight.’ Another wolf, as black as night, said, ‘We are your brothers. We hunt together. Do not be afraid. Follow us.’

With the last word, the wolf pack turned around and ran out of the forest and on to the tundra. A place not known by the hunters. They followed them. For miles they ran, no one was getting tired. For before one would lose their breath, a wolf spirit would jump into them giving them strength while singing, ‘We are your brothers. We give you strength. We hunt together.’ Then as the sun was rising, the hunters came upon a heard of caribou. Thousands of them walking along an endless water. The hunters looked at each other and fired their arrows into the heard.

The hunter’s brought with them meat back to camp. After everyone fed, the hunters brought their people to the place by the sea. As soon as they settled, winter came down upon them. Bringing ice and snow to the area. Food became scarce again. Almost losing hope they thought that the spirits led them to their doom. Then the hunters heard the song again. ‘Come to us. We hunt. Come to me. We feed.’

This time the song was coming from the frozen sea. Scared, the hunters went on to the ice. They kept going until the ice met the water. There they saw a pack of orca singing in the twilight of Brother moon. ‘Come to us. We hunt. Come to me. We feed.’ One orca as black as night approached and said, ‘Here there are fish. There are seal. There are walrus. Tonight you will feed your families.’

One hunter responded, ‘How do we hunt on the water? We cannot swim. We would drown.’ Another orca approached. One as white as snow. He said, ‘Here, use these kayaks, spears, and paddles. We are your brothers. We hunt together. Do not be afraid. Follow us.’

The hunters were each given a set. They went into the kayaks and followed the orcas. The orcas were singing, ‘We are your brothers. We give you strength. We hunt together.’ The hunters followed the orcas in the endless water until dawn. They came to an ice pack and on the icebergs they saw seals and walrus resting. The hunters looked at each other and threw their spears at the sleeping animals.

Having caught enough food to feed their families, the hunters paddled back to their camp. Throughout their trip they heard singing from both orca and wolf. ‘Come to us. We hunt. Come to me. We feed. We are your brothers. We give you strength. We hunt together.’ From then on, hunters knew if they heard the wolf howl or orca sing to Brother moon. The spirits would bring them to food, as the wolf and orca are the departed spirits of hunters transformed into the Kegluneq spirits, the Wolf and Orca. One in the same being. One for summer and fall and one for winter and spring.

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