Wolf Crest Panel by David A. Boxley, Alaskan Tsimshian hand carved red cedar, pigment 24" tall x 8" wide x 1" deep
There are four clans of the Tsimshian at Metlakatla, Alaska: Eagle, Raven, Killer Whale and Wolf. David's two sons belong to the Wolf clan, and because of this, the image of Wolf often appears in his carving. Within the design of this panel, a small human is depicted nestled in the tail of the Wolf, this is the human personification of Wolf, or a member of the Wolf Clan
First Nations have great respect for Wolves because of their likeness. People and Wolves hunt, gather, defend and even educate their tribe or pack. The Wolf has always been respected as a very family-oriented animal because he mates for life, watches and protects his young until they are old enough to be independent and protects the elders. Hunters would carve or paint lightning snakes with the head of Wolves on their canoes in the belief that the hunting skills of the Wolves would help their hunting skills on the water.
Some First Nations people believe that wolves are the reincarnation of deceased hunters, and they are frequently impersonated at ceremonies as Wolves. If direction and purpose are lacking in life, when clarity and persistence are needed, the steadfast determination of the Wolf can overcome fear, indecision, and confusion. Healers often take the form of the Wolf in their ritual work. Wolves are fierce, loyal, independent and well able to offer support on the most challenging healing journey.