Calgary Public Library hosts The Witness Blanket this fall

Calgary Public Library is hosting The Witness Blanket, a large-scale art installation created by master carver Carey Newman or Hayalthkin’geme (Ha-yalth-kingeme).  

The art piece is located on Level 4 of Central Library in the Simmons-Harvie Community Living Room, at the north end of the building. The piece is on loan from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  

The Witness Blanket — a symbol of resilience and Reconciliation — is inspired by the motifs in woven blankets and made up of hundreds of items reclaimed from Residential Schools, churches, government buildings, and traditional and cultural structures from across Canada.  

Each piece included in the installation holds deep historical and emotional significance, representing the experiences of Indigenous children who attended Residential Schools, as well as the ongoing impact on their families and communities.   

Libraries have a responsibility to share the true history of what happened at Residential Schools and the ongoing, intergenerational trauma they caused, in response to the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report and the City of Calgary’s White Goose Flying Report.  

Art pieces like the Witness Blanket provide an opportunity for all community members to learn and further their journey of Truth and Reconciliation. This blanket invites you to bear witness — through survivors telling their stories and each one of us taking responsibility for the future and participating in the Reconciliation process. 

In a video message on, artist Carey Newman explains, “In the oral traditions of my ancestors, a witness has an important role. To ensure that things are not forgotten, a witness watches, listens, and then remembers and shares with others what they have learned.” 

The Witness Blanket will be on display at Central Library until mid-October. An opening event will be held on August 14 starting at 10:00 am. All community members are welcome to attend. 
To learn more about The Witness Blanket and the stories of the objects included in the piece, visit  

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