{ Artist’s Inspiration. }


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 piece is as important to its construction as the wood and screws that hold it together.

A blanket with the sole purpose of standing in eternal witness to the effects of the Indian Residential School era – the system created and run by churches and the Canadian government to “take the Indian out of the child”. Left alone, these pieces may be forgotten, lost, buried, or worse – 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.

Carey Newman (Ha-yalth-kingeme)

Master Carver


“I consider myself a contemporary artist with a traditional soul. I try to innovate, creating movement and suspended animation within my work. At the same time I work strictly within the rules of my traditions. Rooted in tradition while looking to the future, and trying to reflect the world that we live in today. Perfection is in the details and details go on forever, therefore my work is never done. My style is distinguishable by moving lines anchored to traditional figures. If one can see where my figures will make their next movement, I have begun to succeed.”


Carey Newmanor Hayalthkin’geme is a multi-disciplinary artist and master carver. Through his father he is Kwakwak’awakw from the Kukwekum, Giiksam, and WaWalaby’ie clans of Fort Rupert, and Coast Salish from Cheam of the Sto:lo Nation along the upper Fraser Valley. Through his mother he is English, Irish, and Scottish. In his artistic practice he strives highlight either Indigenous, social, or environmental issues.  He is also interested in engaging with community and incorporating socially innovative practice into his artistic process. Carey’s most recent major work, the Witness Blanket, made of items collected from Residential Schools, Government Buildings and Churches across the Canada, deals with the subject of Reconciliation.

In 2008, Carey was selected as the master carver of the Cowichan 2008 Spirit Pole, a journey that saw him travel the province of BC sharing the carving experience of carving a 20’ totem with over 11,000 people. In 2009, Carey was selected from a national call to artists by VANOC and won the right to create a large installation. His piece entitled “Dancing Wind”, featured during the 2010 Olympic Games, consisted of 4 large panels, made from stainless steel, cedar and glass. He has done work for corporations, government agencies and museums around the world. Recently appointed as the Audain Professor of Contemporary Art Practice of the Pacific Northwest at the University of Victoria, Carey is continually grateful for the opportunity to explore new ideas.

Carey was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 2017 and was named to the Order of British Columbia in 2018



Victoria Native Friendship Center
Managing Partner

The Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC) has been in existence for 40 years.  The Victoria Native Friendship Center provides services to an estimated 15,000 Aboriginal people living off reserve in the greater Victoria area; as well as the 5,000 residents from the First Nations communities in the southern Vancouver Island region, in addition to a sizeable Aboriginal population from across Canada. VNFC takes great pride in their exceptional approach to First Nation social issues. They will be providing administrative and organizational support throughout the process of creating Witness: Pieces of History.

We acknowledge Contributions from:

the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada
and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

The Rina M. Bidin Foundation

Media One

The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres

Acumen Communications

Images courtesy of the United Church of Canada Archives.