ASSIGNMENT ONE: REFLECTION – 400-600 words, 5% on The Witness Blanket The Reside
ASSIGNMENT ONE: REFLECTION – 400-600 words, 5% on The Witness Blanket
The Residential School System in Canada was part of a global colonial effort to move Indigenous people
off their lands, separate children from their parents and siblings, and strip them of their identity, language
and culture. Although the last Residential School closed in 1996, the foster child system in Canada
continues to disproportionately include First Nations children.
The Witness Blanket is a large-scale art installation, created to “recognize the atrocities of the Indian
Residential School era, honour the children, and symbolize ongoing reconciliation.” The three-and-a-half-minute trailer “The Witness Blanket,” presents a brief overview of the Residential School system in
Canada, and explains artist Casey Newman’s response to it. This is just an excerpt of a longer
documentary about The Witness Blanket project, but there is some content that may be upsetting, so please
take time to pause as needed.
Deep listening, attention to detail, empathy for others, and an appreciation of diverse perspectives are key
attributes of a good communicator. They are also essential employability skills in our increasingly
globalized world. If you can listen well and truly hear and feel another’s story, you will do well in both
your personal and professional relationships. In the case of The Witness Blanket, this will also help us get
closer to Reconciliation.
You’ll write a 400-500 word reflection about this documentary and the concept of the blanket, and the
ideas and feelings it raises. Some questions to consider: How – and what – does “The Witness Blanket”
make you feel?; Which artifacts or pieces are memorable for you personally, and why?; What is our
responsibility as “witnesses” to this blanket and to the Residential School system?; What does a blanket
symbolize for you?; How does The Witness Blanket and the story it tells make you think about your own
culture, and the idea of giving up parts of it?; How do we keep history alive?; How can we honour those
we’ve lost?; How do we learn (our) history?;
Start with point form notes that you might make as you watch, or by pausing and jotting down your
responses. Build those into an outline, and then write a draft in paragraph form. After you’ve completed
your personal Reflection, please add your thoughts on the group discussion, in a separate paragraph. (See
the PPT slides for more guidelines.)
Please submit this assignment before our class begins next week, by uploading it to the Assignments
submission box on Blackboard, as a Microsoft Word document with this naming format:
Remember that late assignments are penalized 10% per day, to a maximum of five days late and 50% off,
after which time they cannot be accepted. Please allow yourself extra time for viewing and pausing the film,
as well as all the stages of this assignment.
MARKING SCHEME out of 5: Structure & Organization /1 ; Grammar & Spelling /1 ; Style,
Vocabulary & Diction /1; Content, Relevance & Comprehension /1 ; Tone, Sincerity & Appreciation of
Diverse Perspectives / 1.