skip to main content


Yorkville University Adopts New Tradition of Gifting Blankets to Indigenous Graduates

Daisy Houle

When Yorkville University’s Indigenous graduates crossed the stage to collect their degrees earlier this month in Fredericton, they did so draped in a very special gift. 

For the first time in its history, Canada’s largest private university has adopted the tradition of gifting its First Nations, Inuit and Métis graduates with a Chief Blanket from Boy Chief Trading Post. Located on the Siksika Nation in Alberta, Boy Chief is an Indigenous-owned and operated retail company dedicated to helping preserve Blackfoot culture and to promoting the arts, crafts and culture of other Indigenous nations both here in Canada and in the United States.

“This is the first time that Yorkville has marked our students’ graduation with a gift in this way,” Dr. Allyson Lowe, Yorkville University’s Provost & Executive Vice President, told graduates and their loved ones during the June 4–6 ceremonies.“

We are so pleased to recognize our Indigenous students and to continue to build and strengthen our relationship with Indigenous peoples and ensure we are fostering inclusive communities.” 

Boy Chief Trading Company blanket

In Indigenous culture, the gifting of a blanket carries “profound meaning”, often signifying honour, respect, and the recognition of an individual’s achievements.

“It’s also a reminder of our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion – and an attestation of our ongoing pursuit of strengthening our relationships with equity-deserving communities throughout Canada, such as the Indigenous community,” said Jahvon Hanson, Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Yorkville University. 

“We hope that through this initiative, particularly our Indigenous students, feel that they are heard, seen and valued.”

Tayler Schenkeveld

Tayler Schenkeveld, a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology (MACP) graduate, was among the inaugural recipients of a blanket. 

She said that, as a Red River Métis MACP student, her goal has always been to align herself and her work with anticolonialism and re-Indigenization – values she was “overjoyed” to see Yorkville University continually making strides toward, as well. 

“Receiving an Indigenous Student Bursary, and the inaugural gifting of a beautiful blanket at the convocation ceremony was not only a great honour, but was also deeply healing for all my relations,” she said. “Hiy Hiy. Chi Miigwetch. Thank you.” 

Request Info Apply