By Sakej Ward

SECWEPEMC TERRITORY – We just returned from Wolverine’s funeral. The Secwepemc communities and families did an amazing job with the funeral ceremonies. They took such good care of the guests, feasting them, housing them, consoling them, and making them feel at home. Many people showed up from all over, great words were spoken, good teachings were passed on and good stories were recalled of Wolverine’s life and adventures.

Perhaps, the greatest lesson that was spoken about is the how Wolverine lived his life. He was an powerful example of strength, courage, discipline, sacrifice and honour. Story after story spoke of his dedication to the people, his nation, the land and to the upcoming generations.

Acknowledgement was made of how he demonstrated what it means to be a warrior. At the core of this was his deep commitment to Indigenous freedom, his spirituality and very importantly his willingness to physically defend it.

He always made it clear that being a warrior involves the duty to physically protect the land. Anyone who had the honour of spending time with Wolverine knows he didn’t mine words around the concept of defence. He truly understood that to be an Indigneous warrior meant the responsibility of physical defence of one’s homeland.

I had the honour of speaking a few words about Wolverine. I spoke to why he is such an inspiration to warriors. I mentioned that when you speak the name Wolverine anywhere in Indigenous territories it conjures up the idea of warrior honour. Many nations have heard of his courage and his actions. I spoke, at length, on the warrior virtues we teach in our warrior societies and how Wolverine exemplified these virtues. I said that Wolverine’s real legacy is honour and that results of the countless acts of honour he waged. Honour cannot be bought it has to be earned and Wolverine’s deeds rightfully resulted in his reputation for being honourable.

At the grave yard, The sun cast its warming rays upon the gathered mourners. A sea of camouflage warriors admist the crowd settled into good positions to say their last words and witness the burial of a respected mentor. The warrior flag flown high on a natural flag pole held up by Wolverine’s grandson, a young strong warrior in his own right. To the immediate rear of the graveyeard a specially requested ritual was being conducted at the moment of his lowering into the ground. Prayers, drumming and righteous songs were sung at his lowering. He was then covered with the soil of the homeland that he struggled so hard to protect. Soon he will be a physical part of that very soil, the sacred earth of our territories, demonstrating why we are the land and the land is us.

I know I will take away many crucial teachings, lessons, stories and good times from personal visits, attending public functions together, shared ceremonies and from having gone to conflict zones together. It is the teachings and discussions during the intense moments of being in a conflict zone together that will hold the most value to me as they are the realist moments of insight and revelation about being a warrior.

With a heavy heart but empowered spirit I say Nemultus (see you again) for now my warrior-brother. Know that there will be times we will have to call upon you for your wisdom and help. Know that we will try to live up to your example of honour. Know that we will try to surpass your record for counting coup and know that we will recall your acts of honour at our warrior ceremonies to inspire the next generation of warriors. I ask you brother to keep the battle going in the after-life, give them hell and when I see you again we will shares stories of adventure, valor and honour as we stand side by side ready to charge at the frontlines of the vile imperial horde.