Witness History

witness blanket

The Witness Blanket – remembering and bearing witness to First Nations residential schools

A significant part of Canada’s history in Peace River July 1 – September 8, 2016

The Blanket

Created by Kwagiulth/Salish artist Carey Newman, the Witness Blanket, is two and a half metres tall and 12 metres wide. It’s comprised of 13 panels with cedar frames that hold more than 800 collected objects from residential schools, churches, government buildings and traditional and cultural structures including Friendship Centres, band offices, treatment centres and universities, from across Canada. Two of those panels will actually be headed to the Peace River Correctional Centre where they will be displayed, the other 11 will remain at the Peace River Museum. In addition to the panels a multimedia presentation within the installation connects viewers to Residential School experiences in a personal way.

“If The Witness Blanket fosters awareness in one person who is just learning about this difficult part of Canadian history, or touches a residential school survivor or one of their family members, it has made a difference.”
-Carey Newman

“I created this monument to reflect the strength of my people, and it is my hope that everyone who stands in witness of this piece will be affected in some way,”said Newman (Ha-Yalth-Kin-Geme), a First Nations artist and master carver from Vancouver Island.
“I created this monument to reflect the strength of my people, and it is my hope that everyone who stands in witness of this piece will be affected in some way,”said Newman (Ha-Yalth-Kin-Geme), a First Nations artist and master carver from Vancouver Island.

The Exhibit

Currently the blanket is on a tour across Canada. Before arriving in Peace River it was on exhibit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. The Peace River exhibit will be the only stop the exhibit makes in Alberta until 2018.
During it’s time in Peace River admission to the Museum will be free, as requested by the artist. This is made possible by a motion from Council, which allows us to waive fees for the summer, as well as the financial support of the Alberta Union of Public Employees (AUPE) Local 001 and Shell Canada

Thanks to the AUPE Local 001 for their donation of $400 Back Row: (l-r) AUPE representatives Faye Rever and Cheryl Banack, Young Canada Works Museum summer students Kieryn Houlder and Madeline Martel Front Row: (l-r) AUPE representatives Lynne Brais and Audrey Randall, Museum Researcher Beth Wilkins and Collections Technician Laura Love
Thanks to the AUPE Local 001 for their donation of $400
Back Row: (l-r) AUPE representatives Faye Rever and Cheryl Banack, Young Canada Works Museum summer students Kieryn Houlder and Madeline Martel
Front Row: (l-r) AUPE representatives Lynne Brais and Audrey Randall, Museum Researcher Beth Wilkins and Collections Technician Laura Love

 

Exhibit Feedback

If you have visited us and have viewed the Witness Blanket, we welcome you to complete this quick 5 question survey to help us gather feedback on your impressions of the exhibit. This exhibit has been brought here through a grant from the government, and your feedback helps show the impact of their funding and whether they should fund additional initiatives like this in the future. Thank you.

They survey can be found by clicking here.