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Indigenous Dialogue Workshop – Picking up the Pieces: The Witness Blanket
March 31, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm$10.00
Indigenous Dialogues (a sub-group of the Status of Women and Human Rights Committee) focuses on increased knowledge about Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Our attention is on recognition and understanding of “the truth”: the history, legacy, culture and current conditions/realities/opportunities that indigenous peoples live – both on and off-reserve.
We have obtained permission from the Canadian Human Rights Museum to screen a recent documentary film called “Picking up the Pieces: The Witness Blanket.” This is an acclaimed piece of art that tells the story of residential schools and their outcomes – both the historical and subsequent intergenerational and consequential effects on the 150,000 children across Canada who were forced to attend.
The Witness Blanket stands as a national monument to recognize the atrocities of the Indian residential school era, honour the children, and symbolize ongoing reconciliation. It is permanently located in The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. Inspired by a woven blanket, this large-scale art installation is made from over a thousand items reclaimed from residential schools, churches, government buildings and traditional and cultural structures from across Canada. In the process of gathering these objects and their stories artist, Carey Newman and his team travelled from coast to coast to coast, visited 71 communities, met over 10,000 people.
Each object has a story to tell, each survivor has something to say. The 90-minute feature documentary film weaves those stories with Carey Newman’s personal journey, examining how art can open our hearts to the pain of truth and the beauty of resilience.
This film shares the traumatic stories of Indian residential school survivors. Please watch and share with gentleness.
“The blanket is a universal symbol of protection. For many of us, it identifies who we are and where we are from – we wear them in ceremonies and give them as gifts. Blankets protect our young and comfort our elders.”
Following the screening, Elder Mary Durocher of the Ditidaht First Nation on Vancouver Island has kindly agreed to speak on the residential school experience. She is a cultural advisor and peer worker at the Aboriginal Front Door Society, Vancouver.
There will be an Open Forum, moderated by Marg Huber to give attendees a chance to “bear witness” to their experience of the evening. Artist Carey Newman says: “In the Salish tradition, we ask people to stand and speak about what they have witnessed from encountering this story of the Witness Blanket, and to weave these memories and experiences into their lives in living remembrance.”
Tickets $10 + tax.
*Snacks are available through the Happy Hour Bar in the Ballroom before the screening.