According to legend, Wolf was not to be a friend to human beings, and humans were not to hunt wolves. This relationship would result in humans adapting the Spirit of Wolf and calling themselves the Wolf Clan. Their symbol would be the head of the Wolf, carved on a rock or piece of wood and worn around the neck. When a wolf was found dead, a special Ceremony would be held to allow "Wolf Tracker," someone who demonstrated a special gift for tracking wolves, to skin the deceased Wolf. The Wolf skin would then be used only for special hunters who bear the skin during a hunting party while seeking food for their community.
They honored the Wolf for the Wolf's gift of tracking medicine energy that was given to them.
"Once a Wolf heard the Great One speaking to him. In those days, the humans and the animals spoke one language. Wolf was asked to travel far over the mountains, since the humans were very slow and cumbersome. He would learn the truth that would be shared with the human being. Wolf started his journey over the rocky edges and in thick woods through Bear country to visit a place near what is now Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Wolf was attacked by a large brown bear when she surprised the Bear catching fish in the Little Tennessee River. Wolf was no match for the large Bear at short range. She limped away, resting on the river bank, and quietly went into slumber. Wolf thought she was dead because she was in the darkening land of the West.
Injured Wolf heard the voice of the Great One saying that she was to continue on her journey after the Medicine Woman healed her wounds. She awoke but felt very tired and confused. A Medicine Woman was wrapping her wounds with plantain leaves tied with fiber. Wolf felt the Medicine Woman pack her torn pelt with mud and mixed herbs. She was quickly healed, and the Medicine Woman was suddenly gone. During this time Wolf had a vision of human beings sitting around a Fire as they celebrated a feast. They sang a song giving thanks to the Wolf- a song that has long been lost. Wolf took this truth and lesson back to his friends in the Wolf Clan. "
From that day forward, a Clan Feast has included a celebration of giving thanks. All the Wolves are invited to partake of the scraps, and the tamed ones stay as long as they want to stay with the human beings. Wolf taught the Wolf Clan people many lessons about survival and how to live in harmony with Nature. They both participated in the Ceremony of Friends-Making.
Excerpted from Meditations with the Cherokee - Prayers, Songs and Stories of Healing and Harmony by J.T. Garrett