Child of the Government

Jayle Wolf:  Child of the Government

Quiz by Sharon Michiko Yoneda

 dartist:  Jayli Wolf

songwriter:  Jayli Wolf

release date:  in 2021 by Jayli Wolf

Wolf was born in Creston, British Columbia to a teen mother of Danish descent and raised in a trailer with her maternal family. She was told she was half-Mexican growing up, only to learn she was First Nations at the age of eight.  In fact, she was an Anishinaabe/Cree Native.  Her father reached out to her with the discovery that he was unwittingly taken in the Sixties Scoop and had his ethnicity covered up on his adoption papers. He found his family in the Saulteau community near Chetwynd, BC.

Jayli grew up a Jehovah's Witness in what she has described as a Doomsday cult. She convinced her collaborator, Hayden Wolf, whom she met online through mutual friends, to join her in leaving the religion. They married in 2012 and moved to Toronto together when Jayli won a songwriting contest. She dropped out of university to pursue a career in music. She has reconnected with her paternal family and indigenous heritage as an adult.

"Child Of The Government" exhibits Jayli Wolf's family's experience during the Sixties Scoop, where the Canadian Government and Catholic Church were responsible for taking or "scooping" more than 20,000 First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children from their families and communities in the 1950s through the '90s. The children were placed in foster homes or adopted (with accounts of children even being sold) into non-Indigenous families across Canada, the United States, and beyond. Along with the loss of cultural identity, the government went so far as to change some children's true ethnicity on file. Many experienced severe sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Jayli's father was one of these children.

"All the children that were misplaced can never get back what was stolen from them. Survivors try their best. My dad and I are lucky because we were able to find our way back home to our blood family, to our community, to each other even," says Jayli Wolf, "But that's not the story for everyone. Some kids were sold to the USA, or even as far as Australia. Some survivors have since learned that their biological families have passed - those ties are broken forever. I am lucky that I found my way back home, but now the work starts. Now the reclamation begins for me."

Jayli Wolf is an Indigenous artist and creative director based out of Toronto, Canada. She is a Jehovah's Witnesses doomsday cult survivor and works to be a role model in her community; speaking to Indigenous youth about the entertainment industry and empowering them to follow their dreams. Jayli started creating music, producing, and directing films with her partner and collaborator Hayden Wolf.

She now begins a new solo musical journey to explore her past, present, and future as she tells the tales of the hardships her family endured from the colonial genocide inflicted by the Canadian Government; the exodus of leaving the doomsday cult she was born into; releasing the shame and guilt instilled in her around her bisexuality. The new EP is a musical and visual exploration of Jayli's experience leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses religion she was raised in, working through issues concerning mental health, sexual abuse, and high-control religious groups, and concludes by looking forward through post-traumatic growth, celebrating life, and the reclamation of her Indigenous heritage.

"I finally have the courage to use my voice to tell these stories. I hope this project will be able to shed light on and raise awareness of these subject matters," Jayli Wolf notes, "We can forgive for our own healing. The road ahead is long, and change takes time."