February 17, 2023 - March 15, 2023
The Witness Blanket Exhibit
The RCMP Heritage Centre was honoured to host “The Witness Blanket” from February 17 to March 15, 2023. This large-scale art piece, created by artist Carey Newman, is inspired by a woven blanket and is made up of hundreds of items reclaimed from Residential Schools, churches, government buildings, and traditional and cultural structures from communities across Canada.
Each item in the blanket was donated and received with care and, where appropriate, in the ceremony. They carry the past into the present so that we may bear witness. The Witness Blanket symbolizes the intergenerational impacts of Residential Schools on Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
As the enforcement arm of the government, the RCMP played a role in enforcing policies like the Indian Act, which attempted to suppress and assimilate Indigenous Peoples. Hosting The Witness Blanket at the RCMP Heritage Centre is an act of reconciliation, acknowledging this difficult part of our history.
With over 1,300 visitors and 1,200 students, the Witness Blanket has had a powerful impact on our community. Additional programming was offered to classrooms free of charge, thanks to a generous donation from the Co-op Refinery Complex.
We would like to offer our deep gratitude to the Elders and our Indigenous partners for their support and guidance during the installation, opening reception, and closing of The Witness Blanket. This process has been deeply moving and full of learnings, because of your involvement. We would also like to extend our thanks to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights for providing us with this travelling exhibit and resources.
As a nation, we need to acknowledge and confront this history to build a better future for all Canadians. The Witness Blanket is a powerful reminder of the need for reconciliation and the importance of understanding and empathy in building a better future.
For more information, check out the following resources: