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The Blanket

By TurtleWoman

Someone very special to me gifted me a blanket the other day. She always takes great care in picking out a comfortable, snuggly type of blanket. Have you ever thought about how special your blanket really is or what it stands for?

As Native Americans the blanket is very special to us and represents caring, warmth, and stability. The blanket traps the warmth your body puts off and surrounds you with it. It takes on your oils, scents, and skin cells as you use it on a regular basis. It becomes uniquely yours and is not to be shared by others unless they are extremely special to you. When two people share a blanket it represents the binding of those two individuals as one, and is often used in marriage ceremonies to represent the union.

As Native Americans we keep our own blankets to ourselves and have several spare blankets (not special to us) for guests.

Let me give you an example of the significance in your blanket: At the most recent ceremonies and camping in the Valley, we were finishing up a ceremony when Bo noticed how shivering, cold Betty-Jo was. I was drumming and had draped my blanket across the back of my chair. Bo turning to me said, “If you are sure you do not need your blanket Betty-Jo looks cold over here.”  I could have draped it over her being a female friend; was drumming and couldn’t leave my post. I asked her husband Greg to put the blanket on her.

Bo could not have put the blanket on Betty-Jo as it would have been a disrespectful act/insult towards me (spouse or person you are involved with), and Greg (her spouse/significant other).

A covering with a blanket shows relationship to possessions and protection in your items and in your loved ones. We will at times cover our sacred items with a blanket if we aren’t going to put them away right away, and people in our circle will know to not touch those items without receiving permission first.