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Archived - Highly Significant First Nations Cultural Artefact Brought Back to Canada

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Government of Canada funds the repatriation of ceremonial blanket from Paris, France

April 9, 2014 – Gatineau, QC – Department of Canadian Heritage

Funding of $27,368 provided through the Government of Canada’s Movable Cultural Property Program helped bring back a rare Chilkat ceremonial blanket (c. 1865–71) to the community where it was made and to the descendants of its creator. This was announced by John Duncan, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Island North, on behalf of Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Shelly Glover.

The grant allowed the U’mista Cultural Society in Alert Bay, British Columbia, to repatriate this outstanding blanket from its current location in Paris, France, to make it accessible to the public. The U’mista Cultural Society will be able to show Canadians the important role that Anisalaga, a master weaver from the First Nations tribe the Tlingit, played in the First Nations community and in the history of the British Columbia fur trade.

Quick Facts

  • This ceremonial blanket is one of only thirteen in existence and is an integral part of the Tlingit and Kwakwaka’wakw tribe’s history and culture.
  • Movable Cultural Property grants provide funds to repatriate cultural property relating to the national heritage back to Canada. They also help retain cultural property threatened with export, as outlined in the Cultural Property Export and Import Act.In 2013–14, six grants were awarded through this program.
  • The U'mista Cultural Society was incorporated in 1974. Its mandate is to ensure the survival of all aspects of cultural heritage of the Kwakwakaʼwakw. The focus of its permanent collection is the "Potlatch Collection."


"Our Government is proud to have contributed to repatriate to Canada this highly significant First Nations cultural artefact. As we approach Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017,we believe it’s important to give Canadians opportunities to enhance their knowledge of their country and its history through our heritage collections."

– Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

"I am thrilled that our Government helped the U’mista Cultural Society bring back the work of Anisalaga, whose story is intertwined with the history of our region and province. Still today, many of Anisalaga’s descendants are celebrated artists, and this ceremonial blanket in the U’mista Cultural Centre will pay tribute to their ancestor."

– John Duncan, Member of Parliament (Vancouver Island North)

"The U'mista Cultural Society is delighted and grateful to receive this funding from the federal government to bring home a late 19th-century Chilkat blanket made by Tlingit princess Anisalaga, who brought Chilkat weaving to the Kwakwaka'wakw First Nations peoples. Without support from Canadian Heritage, we could never have brought this national treasure home where it will make a crucial contribution to ensuring that this art form is passed on to future generations. We are thrilled to share this exquisite treasure with Canadians here at the U'mista Cultural Centre."

– Sarah E. Holland, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the U’mista Cultural Society

Associated Links

Movable Cultural Property Program

U’mista Cultural Society

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