Witness Blanket goes digital to share truths and memories of residential school Survivors

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VANCOUVER, XʷMƏΘKʷƏY̓ƏM (Musqueam), SḴWX̱WÚ7MESH (Squamish), and SƏLILWƏTAɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories, Sept. 19, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR), Indigenous artist Carey Newman (Hayalthkin ‘ geme) and TELUS celebrated the launch of a new online platform inviting all Canadians to share their testimonies of the experiences of boarding school survivors.

Witnessblanket.ca shares stories from the witness blanket, a stunning work of art consisting of over 800 items reclaimed from boarding schools, churches, government buildings and other important cultural sites across Canada. The artwork was created by master carver and Indigenous artist Carey Newman as a national monument to recognize the atrocities of the boarding school era, honor the children and survivors, and symbolize the ongoing reconciliation.

“In the oral tradition of my ancestors, a witness plays an important role in ensuring things are not forgotten. A witness watches, listens, and then shares,” said Carey Newman. “As we launch this new platform today, I invite everyone to explore these stories, witness the voices and memories of survivors, and share their truths in your communities.”

Users can explore 10 original stories that weave video testimonies from survivors with information about a work of art. These stories share the meaning of items that have a deep personal and cultural connection to the boarding school era and its legacy, such as: B. braided hair, a mashhole bowl, Inuvik stones and letters. Users can also explore the entire artwork, including individual pieces, where they are located, and who contributed them. The digitization of the Witness Blanket has made it accessible to audiences around the world. Through Witnessblanket.ca, thousands more each year will recognize the atrocities of the era, remember the children who did not return home and honor the survivors.

The Witness Blanket digital project was created through a partnership between Newman, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Animikii Indigenous Technology, Media One Inc. and TELUS. This was made possible by a $1 million commitment from TELUS and the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation and an additional $100,000 from the Entwistle Family Foundation. Its development was led by a Survivors Circle brought together by the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). The launch of Witnessblanket.ca represents the first phase of this partnership. Going forward, it will leverage TELUS’ technological expertise to create augmented reality, virtual reality led by Camosun Innovates, and projection-mapping experiences that transform the will continue to expand the reach of the Witness Blanket.

“The TELUS team is honored to work with carver Carey Newman and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to digitize and promote the witness blanketsaid Darren Entwistle, President and CEO of TELUS. “Our $1 million commitment provides an important opportunity to harness the power of technology to tell stories and truths about the children lost, the survivors who persevered, and the generations of families who are being empowered through residential homes forever have been changed to share. We hope that Witness Blanket’s online platform will leave a lasting and powerful impression on everyone in Canada and far beyond, reflecting our shared commitment to finding the truth.”

A core feature of the platform is a new resource guide for teachers, created in consultation with an advisory group of teachers across Canada. The guide provides basic teaching strategies, guidance on how to welcome elders, survivors and members of the Indigenous community into the classroom, as well as detailed lesson plans for teaching about boarding schools to students of all ages.

In addition to digitizing the Witness Blanket, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights has launched a Vancouver Public Library initiative to set up stations in two branches – including a children’s section at the Central Library – where visitors can explore the Witness Blanket digitally.

“We appreciate TELUS joining us on this journey and bringing their incredible support. We also have to thank Carey Newman for his vision and the NCTR Survivors Circle, who gave so much of themselves to ensure that the stories on Witnessblanket.ca recognize the damage of the past, but also give us hope for the future,” said Isha Khan, Chief Executive Officer, CMHR. “It is our responsibility as Canadians to witness to survivors and their stories. As we carry their truths with us, we cannot help but walk the path of truth and reconciliation together.”

At the heart of TELUS’ reconciliation commitment, TELUS applies its world-leading technology to support the diverse needs of Indigenous peoples, build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses, support economic growth, and enable prosperity for Indigenous peoples. In 2021, TELUS committed $8 million to show solidarity with survivors and their families by supporting Indigenous-led entrepreneurs, projects and initiatives. This commitment includes a $1 million gift to digitize, promote and distribute the Witness Blanket, as well as investments from the TELUS Pollinator Fund in Indigenous businesses and grants from the TELUS Community Boards and the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation.


TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a dynamic $17 billion global communications technology leader serving 17 million customers across wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video and security. Our social purpose is to use our world-leading technology and compassion to drive social change and enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first drives every aspect of our business and makes us a leader in customer service, excellence and loyalty. The numerous, enduring awards TELUS has received over the years from independent, industry-leading network insight firms demonstrate the strength and speed of TELUS’ world-leading networks and reinforces our commitment to providing Canadians with access to superior technology that empowers us connects people, resources and information that improve our lives.

TELUS International (TSX and NYSE: TIXT), operating in 28 countries around the world, is a leading innovator in digital customer experiences, delivering next-generation solutions, including AI and content moderation, for global and disruptive brands in high-growth industries, including technology and games, communications and media, and e-commerce and fintech.

TELUS Health is a global healthcare company providing preventative health and wellness solutions for employees and families. Our TELUS team, along with our 100,000 healthcare professionals, leverages the combination of TELUS’ strong digital and data analytics capabilities with our unmatched customer service to dramatically improve healing, prevention and mental health outcomes for over 50 million people and counting around the world . As the largest provider of digital solutions and digital insights of its kind, TELUS Agriculture & Consumer Goods enables efficient and sustainable production from seed to storage, helping to improve the safety and quality of food and other goods in a way that is traceable to the end consumer is.

Driven by our determination and vision to connect all citizens for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy of giving where we live has inspired TELUS, our team members and retirees to donate more than $900 million in cash, Contributions in kind, time and money to programs and 1.8 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and volunteerism has made TELUS the largest giving company in the world. Let’s create a friendly future together.

For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com, follow us @TELUSNews on Twitter and @Darren_Entwistle on Instagram.

About the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Located in the heart of Canada where great rivers and historic cultures converge in Winnipeg, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a place of hope and optimism that encourages people to connect with something bigger than themselves and play their personal part in building it recognize a better world. A stunning architectural feat, it opened in 2014 as the first national museum outside of Canada’s Capital Region – and the only museum in the world dedicated solely to the pursuit of human rights for all.

Learn more at humanrights.ca, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

For more information, please contact:

Lena Chen

TELUS public relations

[email protected]

Rorie McLeod

CMHR Media Relations

[email protected]

Cell: 204-299-0303

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/7f9afaa1-8117-4175-bf5e-85b46a39bc88

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Blanket for digital witnesses

Witness Blanket goes digital to share truths and memories from boarding school survivors

Source: TELUS Communications Inc