The blankets were originally acquired from the Hudson's Bay Company traders during the mid-19th century. The trade blankets were typically dark blue duffle and decorated with buttons made from abalone or dentalium shells. The central crest typically portrayed a symbol of the wearer's family heritage.
The blankets usually have a red border on the upper and lateral edges. A central crest figure is created from the buttons and red flannel appliqué. Button blankets are worn over the shoulders and the crest design hangs on the back of the wearer.
Among the tribes who make button blankets, they are not hung from walls, except at funerals or near the graves of chiefs.
- Wade, Edwin L. The Arts of the North American Indian: Native Traditions in Evolution. Manchester, VT: Hudson Hills, 1986. ISBN 978-0-933920-55-2.