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The Art of Indigenous Leadership - Carey Newman 2020 VCLA winner

We recently met with Carey Newman, the 2020 VCLA Winner for Extending Reconciliation, to talk community leadership in the time of Covid 19

Carey Newman, whose traditional name is Hayalthkin’geme, is a multi-disciplinary Indigenous artist, master carver, filmmaker, author and public speaker. Carey’s work on ‘The Witness Blanket’, made of items collected from residential schools, government buildings and churches across Canada, deals with the impacts of colonial history, which through the cycle of intergenerational trauma, persist in our communities today. Carey also mentors young artists and utilizes his recognition to create new opportunities for learning and growth within the community. He is part of the city family appointed by the City of Victoria.

Carey Newman, the 2020 VCLA Winner for Extending Reconciliation

Being the lead carver for the Cowichan 2008 Spirit Pole made a deep impact on Carey as he made the shift from being a commercial artist to a community artist as he started making art ‘with’ people rather than ‘for’ people. It is this principle that has guided him to help the community and use art to speak to the issues that are important

"with people rather than for people"

The pandemic has given Carey an opportunity to have a fresh perspective on life around him. Since the pace of life has slowed, he is able to spend more time with his family and also the opportunity to make significant changes to our relation to the planet and our local community. His recent project of the Earth drums at Cedar Hill is helping people to transform their relation to the land they live on. The drum reverberates into the atmosphere and the Earth below our feet making us understand that the Earth is something that we are taking care of for our future generations and not as something that we have an inherent right to exploit.

Additionally, Carey is proud to be from Victoria and supports local communities and businesses by buying local. He feels that it is important for the community to pull together in times of need and support each other, not just through donations and charitable organisations but also by supporting local businesses.

You can view Carey’s work exhibited at the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg’s website as well as

Carey Newman has also graciously extended access to the film Picking up the Pieces where he discusses the making of the witness blanket.

written by Chandrima Mazumdar, one of our incredible Leadership Victoria volunteers.

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