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More than 50 attend KAIROS’ “Blanket Exercise”

May 15, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Marni Walsh

 

54 people joined the learning circle in the basement of Trinity United Church last Sunday when the church and KAIROS Dufferin hosted The Blanket Exercise.

“We could not have held anymore,” said interim minister for Trinity United Rev. Candice Bist.

An interactive history of Indigenous people, “The Blanket Exercise” is a teaching tool which helps to clarify the history of land issues, treaties and reservations in Canada – how they impacted indigenous people, and the contemporary relationship with non-indigenous people.

“It was a deeply moving experience for all who participated,” said Reverend Bist, “and, I think, important work for all of us to do if we are to move forward together in unity with the First Nations.”

According to KAIROS, fifteen years ago, the Aboriginal Rights Coalition worked with Indigenous elders and teachers to develop an interactive way of learning the history most Canadians are never taught – “The Blanket Exercise” was the result.

Participants at the free event, which was open to all, and a historic first for Shelburne,

had the opportunity to read from scripts as the voices of First Nations people, describing their way of life and the events that affected and destroyed that existence; most prominently, the arrival of Europeans, treaties, land appropriation and forced assimilation.

As history unfolds, blankets representing their once vast tribal nations are scattered and many disappear.

“Deep gratitude to Dr. Daisy Radigan, our facilitator, Dale Cimolai, our Knowledge Teacher, Doug Thahoketoteh, who shared Indigenous spiritual practices in our morning service, and to Robin and Marie McLeod, teachers of the medicine wheel who were our special guests,” Reverend Bist expressed. “Dr. Daisy Radigan is a committed environmentalist and experienced facilitator, and Dale Cimolai is a Mohawk Knowledge Keeper.”

         

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