The Caley Watts Band's The Wolf Song begins as a slow howl before picking up into a quick trot and bringing us down some west coast trails, heads nodding to the rhythm.
I imagine game trails, hunting and rabbits. Images of wolf cubs come to my mind, and then young pups testing their strength against the others'. If The Caley Watts Band from Bella Coola drew inspiration for this song from the wild, it's worked to bring the author back into the woods in his imagination.
Bella Coola is the traditional territory of the Nuxalk Nation, who have been there for an estimated 10,000 years, if not longer. There is a rich culture of storytelling there. In traditional narratives told by Aboriginal peoples of the Pacific Coast, supernatural beings were known to take the form of animals, birds or fish in the human world. In their own villages, these beings lived among the people as humans. Many stories tell of the encounters between humans and animal or supernatural beings, sometimes even with traditional masks and dance that were preserved through the times, even though potlatching and masks were at one time not allowed.
Is Caley Watts really a wolf being, singing the songs of her ancestors?
Watch: The Caley Watts Band - "The Wolf Song":