‘Soul of a Wolf’ sculpture unveiled in Oak Bay honours Discovery Island wolf

'Soul of a Wolf' sculpture unveiled in Oak Bay honours Discovery Island wolf
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It’s 2016, and a lone male wolf howls at the rising moon on Discovery Island, just east of Oak Bay.

For eight years, “Staqeya” roamed this island, and nearby Chatham Island.

His presence over time took on significance of mystical proportions.

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Staqeya is pictured on Discovery Island.

Chief Robert Sam of the Songhees First Nation died in 2012. Around the time of his death, the wolf first appeared on the island.

According to their culture and traditions, the wolf represents the embodiment of the Chief’s spirit, according to Songhees First Nation councillor Margaret Charlie.

“It means a lot for our nation, I’m very happy to see this in our territory and see our Chief Robert Sam embedded into the statue,” she said. “Because he laid a powerful foundation for our people, for our youth, and the generations to follow.”

The wolf eventually made it off Discovery Island to James Bay where it was trapped.

The sculpture, “Soul of a Wolf,” by artist Kent Laforme commemorates Staqeya.

In the centre is a portal to view Chatham and Discovery islands.

“It’s the honour of a lifetime. I’m so humbled,” said Laforme. “And I’m so grateful for the stories that have been shared with me and the trust that’s been put in me. And the stories the stone holds, and can hold for future generations to come. It’s an expression of gratitude from the Songhees’ past, and present. And the soul of a wolf, Staqeya.”

The stone the sculpture is made of is indigenous to Vancouver Island and has an outline of a wolf howling etched into it.

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The sculpture has quickly become a part of the Songhees First Nation’s culture, much of which was started by Chief Sam, according to Songhees member Florence Dick.

“Here we are, having people listen to us, letting us tell our stories, and letting us reconnect to our lands again, which is the most powerful piece that we can do, and pass it on,” Dick said.

The sculpture is a reminder that although Staqeya is gone, his legend lives on, far beyond the community he was part of.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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