PHOTO: CI-BLANKET23 TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 23 – As part of its endeavour to get students to learn history from an indigenous perspective, the Toronto Catholic school board has introduced the often emotional blanket exercise in which kids uses colourful blankets to walk through the stages of treaty-making and colonization. Blankets are removed bit by bit to illustrate the losses and isolation suffered by indigenous peoples.November 23, 2016. Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star – Carlos Osorio
Caledon residents have a unique opportunity to take a step toward reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
On May 12, Caledon East United Church and St. James Anglican are presenting The Blanket Exercise. This event is open to everyone, is suitable for ages 14 and older, and will be held between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at St. James, 6025 Old Church Rd., Caledon East. During the event, people walk on specially crafted blankets and listen to stories of Indigenous life. As the blankets get smaller, people become aware of the negative effects of colonization and other issues. A talking circle follows in which people can express their feelings about the experience.
“All Canadians and particularly communities of faith have been asked to join in this reconciliation journey. Some people are quite aware of the history of the North American Indigenous Peoples and others have only begun to learn about the many difficulties which have been faced,” said Rev. Ross Leckie of Caledon East United Church.
The Blanket Exercise has been developed by a group called Kairos, in consultation with Indigenous elders. Thousands of Canadians have taken part in similar workshops across the country.
Rev. Greg Fiennes-Clinton of St. James added, “Our congregations are privileged to offer this event to our parishioners and those in our community who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the experiences of our First Nations people. It is our hope that this event will not only help build community but will also help us see the world in a new way.”
The Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada have been working for years to improve relations with Indigenous Peoples and have adopted the recommendations of the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation report. The Blanket Exercise is an important learning experience that will leave a lasting impression on all who participate with openness and respect.
There is a small cost to participants of $5 at the door, and advance registration is required by emailing email@example.com.
Contact: Diane Allengame at 705-435-0851 or firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
Originally published on Apr 30, 2018 in the Caledon Enterprise