Julia and a Timber Wolf / by Matt Clysdale

Not too many years ago, filmmaker Julia Huffman had a vivid dream that came to her like a calling. In that dream a large timber wolf stood atop her dresser, right next to her bed. And like some dreams, everything seemed so incredibly real, as if the wolf was really there. It was as if the wolf was saying to Julia: “I’M HERE!”

Julia interpreted that dream as a calling to help save wolves, especially with the recent delisting of wolves from the Endangered Species Act. She decided to tell the story of wolves through the power of documentary, and embarked on her first feature length film. The journey of that film led her to a number of wolf experts, including Chi Ma’iingan, or Big Wolf, a spiritual healer and teacher from the Red Lake Nation. Not only did she interview him for the film, she shared her dream-vision with Big Wolf, and he told her the wolf’s presence could be understood as simply saying "to awaken to the love that is already there”. Because of early childhood trauma, that interpretation rang especially true for Julia, and added a deeper meaning to the dream.

Many indigenous cultures believe the wolf (Ma’iingan) represents a great teacher and humility, and comes to us at various times to show or teach us something.  Although Chi Ma’iingan has now passed, his teachings of the Seven Grandfathers and Julia’s experience with the wolf helped to ultimately inspire the title of her film, Medicine of the Wolf.