Xwsalalam Blanket Item in The Million Islands | World Anvil
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Xwsalalam Blanket (xwsəlaləm ˈblæŋkɪt)

When the sky opened up and swallowed the people, they found themselves in a land of ice and snow. There, the people suffered terribly from the cold. Seeing their suffering, the Xwsalalam offered to share its coat with the people. Since then, the people and the Xwsalalam have been friends and allies, and faced the world together. - from T'iselek folklore.

The Xwasalam is a wooly dog raised by the T'iselek people of S'Chaanee. They consider the dogs to be sacred to the spirits of the land, and members of their families. In the spring, the T'iselek shear the thick woolen coats from the Xwasalam in their care, and use the wool to make clothes and other goods. The wool of the Xwasalam is particularly soft and warm, and garments made from it keep the wearer warm in the harshest winters.

One item that is made from the wool of Xwsalalam is the Tl'xwsalalam, a sacred blanket that represents the bond between the people and the Xwasalam. Each person that raises the dogs will have a Tl'xwsalalam, so that they will always remember how the people were saved from the cold by the generosity of their dogs. The blankets are dyed with traditional patterns and are some of the most beautiful pieces of artwork produced by the T'iselek people.

According to legend, the blankets do more than keep those who sleep beneath them warm. They also provide protection from all manner of evil spirits that may attack the sleeper. The honesty and generosity of the Xwsalalam imbue their wool with the potential for this ability, and the patterns woven into the blanket bring its sacred qualities into their power. When under a Tl'xwsalalam, the sleeper is sure to have a warm and restful night with pleasant dreams. In many folktales of the T'iselek, monsters and evil spirits will recoil from touching a Tl'xwsalalam, and can be driven away by waving the blanket at them. The blankets are also used to create a consecrated space by hanging them so that they surround a particular spot. This is done during certain rituals and ceremonies to keep them safe from evil influences. A final use of the Tl'xwsalalam is as a funeral shroud, as a body wrapped in the blanket can not be taken and used by an evil spirit. The blanket would be either buried or burned with the body, depending on the practices of the specific tribe.


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