I wanted to give something of my past to my grandson. So I took him into the woods, to a quiet spot.

Seated at my feet he listened as I told him of the powers that were given to each creature.

He moved not a muscle as I explained how the woods had always provided us with food, homes, comfort, and religion.

He was awed when I related to him how the wolf became our guardian, and when I told him that I would sing the sacred wolf song over him, he was overjoyed.

In my song, I appealed to the wolf to come and preside over us while I would perform the wolf ceremony so that the bondage between my grandson and the wolf would be lifelong.

I sang.

In my voice was the hope that clings to every heartbeat. I sang. In my words were the powers I inherited from my forefathers.

I sang.

In my cupped hands lay a spruce seed– the link to creation.

I sang.

In my eyes sparkled love.

I sang.

And the song floated on the sun’s rays from tree to tree. When I had ended, it was if the whole world listened with us to hear the wolf’s reply. We waited a long time but none came.

Again I sang, humbly but as invitingly as I could, until my throat ached and my voice gave out. All of a sudden I realized why no wolves had heard my sacred song. There were none left!

My heart filled with tears. I could no longer give my grandson faith in the past, our past.

At last I could whisper to him: “It is finished!”

“Can I go home now?” He asked, checking his watch to see if he would still be in time to catch his favorite program on TV.

I watched him disappear and wept in silence.

All is finished!

by Chief Dan George
Chief of the Salish Band in Burrard Inlet, B.C.

Chief Dan George was born Geswanouth Slahoot,
on July 24, 1899, in North Vancouver, B.C.
and died September 23, 1981, Vancouver, B.C.