When: Wednesday 2:00pm – 3:45pm
Where: Feature Presentation Stage
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights and history Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are rarely taught in mainstream education systems. Developed in response to the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples—which recommended education on Indigenous history as one of the key steps to reconciliation, the Blanket Exercise covers over 500 years of history in an approximately 2-hour participatory workshop guided by Sara Anderson and Dr. Bob Phillips.Blanket Exercise participants take on the roles of Indigenous people in Canada. Standing on blankets that represent the land, they walk through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. They are directed by facilitators representing a narrator (or narrators) and the European colonizers. Participants are drawn into the experience by reading scrolls and carrying cards which ultimately determine their outcomes. By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates and increases empathy for those unaware of the colonialism that Indigenous people still face today. The exercise is followed by a debriefing session in which participants have the opportunity to discuss the experience as a group. This often takes the form of a Talking Circle.
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise at WIPCE 2017 is hosted by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC). CMEC is an intergovernmental body founded in 1967 by ministers of education across Canada and works to provide leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels. Indigenous education has been a part of the work of CMEC since it was made a priority in 2004. Education ministers are currently implementing a plan of work to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRCC) Call to Action no. 63 and operate within the spirit of the objectives and principles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Warning: The Blanket Exercise walks through difficult experiences, such as Indian Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop and other colonial policies that have affected Indigenous peoples. Cultural and health support will be provided during and after the exercise.