The witness blanket

Yesterday was the first indigenous film festival. Wow it was very enlightening and tough to watch. It was about the people that were in the residential schools. Those who survived and those who lost their lives. A team of people who lived in the schools went back into them each one was from a different one and they went back through the rooms and remembered the horrific things that had happened to them. How they were treated and how they survived stealing food and how they got extra food. They each recalled the stories. It was so hard to hear. At one stage I was thinking why are these residential schools still standing they bring back so much pain. Then when the people went back into them. I could not imagine going back into that horrific place and remembering how they were treated.

It was so hard to see and hear their stories and being taken from their families and even when they had siblings they never saw them. Families were ripped apart and destroyed. Each of the people said that what happened to them was not going to define who they were today. I love that because no matter what they endured they now can speak out so that people know what happened to them. They talked about forgiveness and healing.

I found this explanation about the witness blanket online ”

” Strewn in the wake of the Indian Residential Schools are an immeasurable number of broken or damaged pieces. These fragmented cultures, crumbling buildings, segments of language, and grains of diminished pride are often connected only by the common experience that created them. Imagine those pieces, symbolic and tangible, woven together in the form of a blanket. A blanket made from pieces of Residential Schools, Churches, Government buildings and Cultural structures. A blanket where the story of each pieces is as important to its construction as the wood and screws that hold it together. A blanket with the sole purpose to stand in eternal witness to the effects of the Indian Residential School era. A system created and run by Churches and the Canadian Government to take the “Indian out of the child.” Left alone these pieces will be forgotten, lost, buried or worse will be uncomfortable reminders that leave painful impressions on the minds and hearts of those who recognize what they represent. Individually they are paragraphs of a disappearing narrative. Together they are strong and formidable, collectively able to recount for future generations the true story of loss, strength, reconciliation and pride. “

The stories of the people were painful but through the blanket comes forgiveness and healing. After they collected the pieces I was so glad to see they knocked down the schools. I was amazed how many of them were right in on the side of the highway. The film was very well done. It triggered me especially hearing that they were told that they were stupid, ugly and going to hell. Those things hurt to the core of your sole and how they had to survive by stealing food whatever it took to get through their nighmare. I think every Canadian needs to see this film. It needs to part of our Canadian history. I’m so glad healing has begun for all of them. I could never imagine haying to give up any child.

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