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Wolf's true calling

Wolf grew up believing his family was of Mexican descent. His grandparents
lived there, spoke Spanish, and the family ate traditional Mexican foods.
When Wolf's daughter Madison was born 15 years ago, Wolf learned through
relatives that they are actually Chiricahua Apache, a descendant of
Geronimo. He later discovered that the Apache were a nomadic tribe,
relocating to Mexico during the winter - hence his grandparents made their
home there.

Suddenly, all the thoughts and feelings he'd had since childhood made
sense. "I was always doing typical Native things as a kid - running with
the wind, speaking to the trees, connecting with animals - all of these
things felt so natural for me," said Wolf.

"When I got back with my people, just being around them and their way of
life, everything made sense to me. Walking in their footsteps, I realized
they had gone through exactly what I'd been going through without knowing
them," Wolf said. "After awhile I stopped thinking that I was crazy. I'd
been experiencing ancestral feelings. Blood that runs in my veins is the
same as my ancestors; I am feeling their memories."

Wolf returned to the land of his forefathers and while walking in their
footsteps, found his own true path. He believes his path - and really
everyone's journey - is to be a true human being. He called it being people
of the Creator. "This is an everyday battle for people who are trying to
stay on the path. My art helps me stay on the path. Really, art is more of
a tool that keeps me in the right state of mind, which centers me," said

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This artistry was reignited in Wolf at age 45. He now lives in Taos, N.M.,
and works with oil on canvas while also serving as Innkeeper for the
Touchstone Inn. Wolf said, "Sometimes it's hard to speak it [emotion], so I
put it on canvas. If someone looks at it and feels what I felt, then that's
my reward. I hope that someone can grasp that feeling, and keep it forever
- or even for a moment. This is the true meaning of how the Creator is
using me, and of so many other Native artists."

Wolf considers his art a gift given to him as a child. Picking up a pencil
to draw was perfectly natural for him. Then, in 7th grade Wolf began to
play football. As he put it, "I put my pencil down and picked up a
football. Didn't pick up the pencil again for 20 years." Wolf sees his
athleticism as another gift, a very different expression from his art.

"I never thought my art was that good - I always looked at others' drawings
and felt that they had a greater gift than I had; that I had been given
just a touch. When I do see someone better than me, I'm never jealous. I
feel honored to be in their presence."

"When I was led to pick up the pencil again five years ago, it was a
blessing for me, because it was something that felt so natural. Art wasn't
even in my mind 20 years ago. After all the years of not knowing what to do
with myself, and then I realized I'd known it all the time. It's nice to
feel something again at 40 that I'd felt when I was 5 years old. It's like
being a kid again. I'm not playing with a new toy, but a toy that was
introduced to me a long time ago - and it still works!"

As a Native man, Wolf feels his future is the brightest it's ever been.
"What's being laid out before me in the Native ways is my true salvation.
Now I have a direction ... for a long time, I knew I was on a path but
wasn't sure just where I was headed. Now my journey is clearer, and my
passage is just where I need to go. We all have to be on a path; it became
clear that Creator wants me to be exactly where I am. I am true Chiricahua
Apache, and I'm passing this on to my daughter."