A window into the dark legacy of Canada’s residential schools is on display at Government House ahead of the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge later this month.
A First Nations blessing ceremony was held as the Witness Blanket was unveiled today.
The wood-based art installation is made up of 13 panels and is more than 8 feet tall and 40 feet long.
Cedar frames hold more than 800 collected objects from residential schools, churches and first nations families from across the country.
The work of First Nations Master Carver Carey Newman commemorates the residential school experience and has travelled thousands of kilometers to remote villages, townships and cities since 2014.
“There’s something very symbolic about this, about members of the royal family seeing the Witness Blanket in Government House and putting all those parts of history together in one place,” Newman said.
“I feel pretty hounoured and pretty proud to be a part of that.”
The Witness Blanket will be on display for a reception in honour of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to be held at Government House, the home away from home for the royal couple and their children during their 8-day stay in Canada.
“It is an exceptional opportunity to be hosting the Witness Blanket and sharing its meaning and history,” said the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
Prince William, Kate, Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive in Victoria on Saturday, September 24th for a tour that will see several stops in B.C. and a trip to the Yukon.
The Lieutenant Governor says preparations for their arrival at her official residence are well underway.
“We’ve just had to polish every surface and make it shine and gleam,” she said.
The Witness Blanket will not be made available for public viewing at Government House but it will remain on Vancouver Island.
It will move next to Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo where it will remain on display for the rest of the year.