When Txeemsim appeared on Earth, life was a constant struggle for survival. Despite his abundant supernatural powers, even Txeemsim had to gain knowledge, develop control and self-discipline, and learn to share his wisdom with others. The pinnacle of spiritual power was achieved by halayt (shamans). Only men and women of the chiefly class could aspire to become halayt. Specialists able to control supernatural forces, halayt had the power to see inside a human body. If a person’s soul was misplaced or missing (resulting in sickness), one or more halayt were called to put it back where it belonged. When the soul was returned to its proper place, the patient’s health returned. If the halayt could not find the soul, the patient was declared daaw̓ihl andoosda’a — gone to the other side.

Halayt employed special equipment and clothing to help them summon and declare their powers. They often wore a bearskin robe, a headdress made of bear claws, an ambilaan (apron), and a luux (neck ring). Haseex (rattles), it’iskw (charms), and hamootkw (soul catchers) were frequently employed. Halayt gained and developed their powers through visions, in which their individual spirit helpers would be revealed to them. Spirit helpers also assisted halayt in their travels to the supernatural world.

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