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Salish Blankets

Robes of Protection and Transformation, Symbols of Wealth

Leslie H. Tepper

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 07/2017
Pages: 232
Subject: Social Science
eBook ISBN: 9781496201478


Salish Blankets presents a new perspective on Salish weaving through technical and anthropological lenses. Worn as ceremonial robes, the blankets are complex objects said to preexist in the supernatural realm and made manifest in the natural world through ancestral guidance. The blankets are protective garments that at times of great life changes—birth, marriage, death—offer emotional strength and mental focus. A blanket can help establish the owner's standing in the community and demonstrate a weaver's technical expertise and artistic vision. The object, the maker, the wearer, and the community are bound and transformed through the creation and use of the blanket. Drawing on first-person accounts of Salish community members, object analysis, and earlier ethnographic sources, the authors offer a wide-ranging material culture study of Coast Salish lifeways. Salish Blankets explores the design, color/pigmentation, meaning, materials, and process of weaving and examines its historical and cultural contexts.  


Leslie H. Tepper is the curator of Western ethnology at the Canadian Museum of History. She is the author of Earthline and Morning Star: Nlaka'pamux Clothing Traditions and coauthor of Legends of Our Times: Native Cowboy Life. Janice George (Chepximiya Siyam) is a co-owner (along with Willard Joseph) of the L'hen Awtxw: The Weaving House studio. She is a hereditary chief of a Squamish family. Willard Joseph (Skwetsimltexw), the great-great-grandson of Harriett Johnnie, weaves and teaches.     


"This book does so many things well. . . . The sensitive and intelligent discussion reveals the difficulties of research and interpretation of an art form that was changing and in flux for many generations. . . . The authors have nimbly stitched together the fragments to create a whole."—Barbara Brotherton, curator of Native American art at the Seattle Art Museum   

"These three authors have thought of us and those yet to come . . . so this ancient/contemporary craft and art may be understood and continued in a modern world."—annie ross, Indigenous weaver and associate professor in the Department of First Nations Studies at Simon Fraser University