Jayli Wolf Shares New Single “Child of The Government”
Watch the Accompanying Short Film Below
Mar 31, 2021
Photography by Hayden Wolf
Toronto-based alt pop singer/songwriter Jayli Wolf makes music of intersectionality, liberation, and rebirth. As one half of the electronic duo Once A Tree, Jayli first gained acclaim for the pair’s textured music and self-directed music videos, along with her partner and collaborator Hayden Wolf. Now Jayli is exploring her own past through her first solo release, “Child of The Government,” reflecting on her path through inter-generational trauma and reclaiming her indigenous heritage. Born into a doomsday cult, Wolf began her personal exodus in her adulthood as she left the only community she had known and began to contend with her own queer identity. Yet the story of “Child of The Government” begins even earlier during The Sixties Scoop.
From the 1950s into the 1990s, the Canadian government and Catholic Church took an estimated 20,000 First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children from their families and placed them in foster homes or adopted them into non-Indigenous families. Jayli’s father was one of the children torn from their families and culture during that period. Through “Child of The Government,” Jayli explores these experiences and the lasting trauma of colonial genocide on her family.
Jayli shows no qualms about tracing the lasting scars that The Sixties Scoop left in her new single. Textured electronica and a thick driving beat back Jayli’s tense vocals as she tells the story of the titular “Child of The Government,” torn from his family by the church and the state. The moody instrumental wraps the listener in Jayli’s dark world as she winds through the track, icy and angry. But as much as the song is a story of righteous anger, it equally is one of reclamation. Jayli sings on the chorus, “My father’s blood is mine/His story beats inside me/And now I share it here with you/He’s a child of the government.” In telling the story of her father and other survivors, Jayli finds a path forward to her own healing and growth.
“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. “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.” Listen to the song and watch Jayli Wolf’s accompanying short film below.