About this object

History of use

Quarters are frequently used during Potlatch ceremonies in Coast Salish communities as symbolic gifts. They are handed out by members of the host family to witnesses and guests at various intervals throughout the "work" portion of the event. Many individuals own special quarter pouches, in which they store this money. It is not a payment for service, but a symbolic gesture which recognises the status of the individual being called to witness.


These quarters were part of a larger collection of objects honouring Maggie Pointe, sister of Shane Pointe and Gina Grant. On February 1, 2003, it was used for a memorial potlatch at Musqueam to honour the life of Maggie Pointe and was then given away, as is the custom, to the UBC Museum of Anthropology.

Cultural context

mortuary; symbolic wealth; ceremonial

Physical description

128 Canadian currency quarters. Each coin has bust of British Queen Elizabeth II on the front and most have a caribou head on the back. Twenty coins have different images in place of the caribou head, ranging from maple leaf image to Northwest Coast animal imagery (nineteen of these are winning designs from the Millenium coin program of 1999-2000.)