THERE ARE WAYS OF KNOWING. For more than a thousand years, Coast Salish people raised a special breed of dogs. They were small, with pointed ears and curled tails. They were husbanded to protect their long, thick hair, so it could be shorn and spun into wool. They were part of culture, part of everyday life. George Vancouver wrote of them in his journals. They were painted and photographed. 150 years later, they were gone. European contact disrupted breeding practices and weaving traditions. Objects were lost or destroyed. Time passed and some came to doubt the history of the woolly dogs. But what has always been known can be learned again. Last year, a spinning expert studying Coast Salish blankets and robes at the Burke noticed an unusual material exposed by a small tear in one of the blankets. This spring, researchers at the University of Victoria’s Advanced Microscopy Facility tested the blanket and confirmed the presence of woolly dog hair in the fibers. Salish community members came to see the blanket, hear the researchers’ stories, and share their own stories of weaving and woolly dogs. The blanket was blessed, greeted as family, touched. There are ways of knowing. To hold something is to know it in the deepest way of all. Rachel Ormiston