The Witness Blanket: Londoners reflect on one of the darkest chapters in Canadian history

May. 16, 2017

June is National Aboriginal History month. A time to reflect upon the culture, history, sacrifices and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people. In honor of Canada's 150th birthday, and more importantly, to remember the people before us, their legacy and their heritage, London Community Foundation is bringing the Witness Blanket to our community. Created by First Nations artist and carver, Carey Newman, this historical masterpiece features hundreds of artifacts from residential schools across Canada. In partnership with Museum London, the Witness Blanket will be on display for the public from June 2nd to July 10th, 2017.

The Witness Blanket is making its way through London on a national tour allowing communities to bear witness to one of the darkest chapters in Canadian history, a past that, until recently, was not openly talked about or acknowledged. Since its first launch in 2014 in Victoria, BC., the Witness Blanket has traveled thousands of kilometers to various city centers across Canada to educate communities around the atrocities experienced by the Aboriginal communities.

The Witness Blanket is a unique and moving learning opportunity. Within the Foundation, we are collectively thinking of ways to build a more vibrant and caring community," says Martha Powell, CEO & President, London Community Foundation. "If we want a London that thrives, we must first ensure that these critical conversations in Canadian history are happening.”

By bringing the Witness Blanket to Museum London, the Foundation hopes to provide the opportunity and space that will spark these challenging yet critical conversations in Canadian history. With over 850 artifacts, each one has its own story of loss, strength, reconciliation and pride. The Witness Blanket serves as a permanent reminder of the impacts that the Residential School era has made, which continue to linger within our community today. This national monument symbolizes ongoing reconciliation, connecting viewers to residential school experiences in a powerful way.