The Blanket Exercise, Saturday June 9th

Published on: Author: Arwen

June 9 KBE poster

The Reconciliation Committee would like to invite you to join in a Blanket Exercise on Saturday June 9th, 2018. The event will be held at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver on W 49th avenue at 9:45am, and will be followed by a potluck lunch. All are welcome! We are asking for a suggested donation of $10-20 to help cover costs for those who can afford this.

Due to the dimensions of our space, we have room for 60 participants. We are asking people to reserve their ticket at https://june9quakerunitariankbe.eventbrite.ca by June 4th so we can plan well for the size and needs of the group. This is a family friendly event, (recommended for ages 10 and up, though at the discretion of families). We will happily provide childcare if children are too young to participate. Note: If your child(ren) require(s) care, please select the KBE Child ticket so we can accurately gauge numbers.

The ‘Blanket Exercise’ is a teaching tool developed by KAIROS “to share the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada” with settlers through embodied learning. As their website explains, the Exercise was “Developed in response to the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples—which recommended education on Canadian-Indigenous history as one of the key steps to reconciliation… [and] covers over 500 years of history” in a participatory 90 minute workshop. (https://www.kairosblanketexercise.org/)

As participants step onto the Blankets, they step into the roles of Indigenous peoples in Canada, literally walking through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance eras across Turtle Island. Facilitators, representing narrators and European colonizers, guide the journey. Participants embody the experience by reading scrolls and carrying cards that ultimately determine their fate. By engaging mind, body and spirit, the experience builds empathy and understanding of the heavy truths of colonization that continue to impact Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous-settler relations across this land.

Our lead facilitator will be Melaney Gleeson-Lyall from Musqueam Nation, who will also connect this activity to local Indigenous history and her own story. After the exercise, she will also lead a debriefing session in the form of a talking circle so participants have an opportunity to process the experience as a group.

Following the event, participants are encouraged to stay for a potluck lunch and enjoy each others’ company. Please bring an item to share and your appetite!

For further information, questions, or childcare support, contact: Rachel Yordy at r.a.yordy@nullgmail.com / 226-789-5996 or Leslie Kemp at lkemp@nulltelus.net / 604-818-5869.

We look forward to seeing you soon!
Rachel and Leslie – on behalf of the Vancouver Quaker and Unitarian communities