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June 21 National Indigenous People’s Day, within Canada’s National Indigenous History Month of June.

June is set aside as a month to highlight Indigenous culture. Everyone is invited to participate and celebrate.

You are invited to  “celebrate the history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada.” Ref: Government of Canada website, Indigenous Arts, Culture and Heritage page.

Of the ancient and rich culture of the Coast Salish people blanketing is a precious tradition. At least, I think so. Because blankets are about people, individuals and their relationship to community. Blankets are used to honour elders, confirm membership in a community, and to recognize outstanding contributions and significant events in an individual’s life. They are the community’s recognition of its individuals.

Ceremonial blankets vary from solid colour to intricate designs of traditional symbols and weaves. They signify the guidance of ancestors and spritual protection.

Over the years I have attended a variety of indigenous ceremonies and events where blankets were worn and presented. These included a totem raising where local clans danced in their traditional dress, pow-wows and a potlatch where blankets were worn in processsions and some dances and given to attendees.

I recently attended an elder honouring ceremony where a mishap occurred. The order of events was interrupted to do a short blanketing ceremony, the purpose of which was to restore dignity to the person involved in the accident.

I attended a workshop designed to give participants some shadow of understanding of what it was to be taken over by colonizers. Blankets were used to signify Indigenous land.

I have attended business and public meetings where an elder addressed the gathering wearing a traditional blanket, showing that person’s authority to speak in his or her own right and bringing a rich depth of ancestral wisdom.

As a consequence of being able to participate in some of these events, I, as a non-Indigenous person have received gift blankets in acknowledgement of my contribution. The most precious one for me was given by Indigenous friends to provide spiritual comfort and support on the occasion of my husband’s death.

June is set aside as a month to highlight Indigenous culture. Indigenous Tourism BC says: “We have dedicated this month to highlight Indigenous businesses, communities, people, video stories, and special events from some of the 200+ unique Indigenous communities in British Columbia. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok for a month-long calendar of inspirational and educational Indigenous digital content.”

Also consult local listings to find out what events are happening, especially on June 21st.

Cathy Carphin is a Certified Grief Educator, writer and poet, living in Victoria, BC, Canada. Connect with Cathy to arrange healing conversations on grief. Learn more by visiting her website:  and contact by email: [email protected].

You can read more articles on our interfaith blog, Spiritually Speaking at