Join us for this participatory history lesson that builds awareness of our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.
As the name suggests, the Blanket Exercise begins with blankets arranged on the floor to represent Canada before the arrival of European explorers and settlers. The participants, taking the role of Indigenous peoples, begin by moving around on the blankets. While the facilitator(s) reads from a script, other participants – representing the Europeans or newcomers – join and begin to interact with those on the blankets. As Indigenous history unfolds some blankets are removed and they become a metaphor for disappearing lands and relocation to reservations. Because participants learn by “experiencing,” the exercise reaches both the mind and heart and opens up possibilities for participants to learn how they can work towards reconciliation.
The Blanket Exercise was developed by the KAIROS organization in Canada in response to the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples report. KAIROS Canada is a confederation of 10 churches and religious organizations working to promote justice and human rights.