Silaqilaat Item in The Million Islands | World Anvil
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Silaqilaat (silaqilaːt)

The Silaqilaat is a drum made by stretching a caribou skin over a wooden frame. It is used as a part of rituals performed by the Unughuit people of Umingmak, and by some groups of Tuniit Selkies. While the silaqilaat is used in many different kinds of ceremonies, the most significant is the ritual of Isumagijuniq, in which the fortunes of the ilagiit are balanced out for the year.

Among the Taaru Peoples, luck and fortune are not seen as being inherently good or bad, but as signs of imbalance in the relationship between the people and the larger universe. This imbalance is usually not significant, and minor instances of good or bad luck are considered normal occurrences. However, extreme instances of good and ill fortune are seen as equally problematic. Should the imbalance be permitted to persist, more and more improbable events will occur. While some of these may be beneficial, they will inevitably be accompanied by unlikely disasters. In the larger scheme of things, the Taaru cultures agree that the stability and predictability of a balanced universe is far more valuable than whatever beneficial fortune might randomly occur.

The Isumagijuniq ritual is performed annually to help maintain this balance. Most ilagiit choose the summer solstice for the ritual, although there are a few that choose other dates. During the ritual, the shaman will play the silaqilaat as they invoke the Anirniit to help bring the people of the ilagiit into harmony with their surroundings. If there has been a concerning run of good or bad fortune during the year, the Anirniit may inspire the shaman to extend the ceremony with specific rhythms played upon the silaqilaat, each one indicating a particular course of action the ilagiit must take to reclaim balance over the next year. The shaman carefully notes what messages that anirniit pass to them via the drumbeats, and uses this to guide their people back onto a safe path.

Item type
Musical Instrument
Related ethnicities


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