General News » News

Blanket Exercise clarifies the tragedy of Indigenous history

January 16, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh

Headwaters Indigenous Awareness Group of Orangeville has teamed up with local churches and Dufferin KAIROS to sponsor “The Blanket Exercise” on Sunday, January    22 at St Mark’s Anglican Church in Orangeville.

The group says the experiential history of Indigenous peoples’ event will help to clarify the history of land issues and treaties and reservations in Canada, and how they impacted indigenous and non-indigenous people alike.”

Anglican priest at St. Mark’s Church, Lynne Thackwray, says the Indigenous Awareness Group is interested in helping the Truth and Reconciliation process to move forward. “We hope to address the myths that have been perpetuated for so many years and set the record straight,” she says. “We hope to help restore relationships by actively responding to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

“Acknowledging and teaching the truth about the damage inflicted on indigenous people is considered the first critical step toward that reconciliation,” adds the Anglican Priest.

Hosting the Blanket Exercise is the group’s first educational event.

Many schools are now incorporating the KAIROS-run Blanket Exercise into their curriculum Lynne Thackwray says, “as a means of visualizing the events that took place between indigenous and non-indigenous people as our country was being settled.”

Participants read from scripts as the voices of First Nations people, describing their way of life and events that affected and destroyed that existence; most prominently the arrival of Europeans, treaties, land appropriation and forced assimilation. As their history unfolds, blankets representing their once vast tribal nations are scattered and disappear.

The initiative is being used to shed light on a very dark side of Canadian history inside the classroom. An important recommendation coming out of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report last year called for a new and accurate school curriculum teaching the indigenous experience and their contributions to Canada.

“We should all be aware that indigenous people are the original inhabitants of this country,” says Lynne Thackwray, “long before Europeans came here to explore and then to colonize them and take over their lands.”

The facilitator for the Blanket Exercise will be Daisy Radigan, Divinity Minister and Talking Circle leader, Mi’kmaq musician and educator Cathy Elliott.

Headwaters Indigenous Awareness Group encourages area residents to take advantage of this event “as an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the historic and contemporary relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in Canada.”

St. Mark’s Anglican Church on First Avenue in Orangeville will be hosting this event on Sunday, January 22, at 12 Noon beginning with a meal of traditional native soup and bannock followed by the “Blanket Exercise” and then an opportunity to debrief.

There will be a limited number of tickets available for $10 each at Westminster United Church (519-941-0381) and Tweedsmuir Presbyterian Church (519-941-1334) and St. Mark’s Anglican Church (519-941-0640).



Readers Comments (0)

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support