Let us look at some definitions as a beginning foundation:
“Witness: to see, hear, or know by personal presence and perception.”
“Tourist: a person who travels to a place for pleasure.”
At times, learning can be completely superficial – I believe that sometimes we place ourselves in inauthentic experiences for the purpose of protection or avoidance (whether a conscious or subconscious act, I am unsure of). I did not want my learning experience alongside the Witness Blanket to be that of a tourist – for pure enjoyment and self-fulfillment, but ultimately superficial in the grand scheme of things. Yes, this journey was something personal that I embarked on independently (while also collaborating with important individuals in my life); however, this experience was also incredibly gruelling in the sense that it was emotionally exhausting – I felt vulnerable and uncomfortable at all times (I will note that what I went through emotionally is NOTHING, minuscule, in comparison to the strength and resilience demonstrated by First Nations Peoples past and present). In order to truly become a witness, one must acknowledge all that has happened whole-heartedly (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually; achieving this (although I am unsure if I will ever truly ‘achieve’ this – it is an ongoing process of becoming) was not easy, but I feel as though I have experienced immense growth. I have a long way to go, but this journey has been a significantly influential starting point – my blog ‘Witness Not Tourist’ and Twitter account ‘Witness In The Classroom’ follow my learning journey towards acknowledgement and healing; Let us all step up and bear witness.