The Blanket Exercise is “a teaching tool to share the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada” (http://kairosblanketexercise.org/ ). The Blanket Exercise involves participants in reading scripts and taking on roles of Indigenous and non-Indigenous figures in the scripts. The scripts re-present what took place from the late 1800s to the present between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples through well-known historic events such as residential schooling. Through reading scripts and taking on the roles, participants, in a sense, re-live what happened. In Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools, we developed locally written scripts in addition to Kairos scripts. The locally developed scripts were constructed with the support of our elders, Edna and Ella Arcand, who are Cree First Nation elders from Alexander First Nation. Because the history shared through this dramatic teaching tool involves participants in our local history, participants tell us that they “feel” very moved by taking part in the process.
On December 9, 2016 and January 27, 2017, we have provided all staff within our jurisdiction and outside members from within our local community an opportunity to take part in our locally written version of the Kairos Blanket Exercise for adults. We worked with our elders, Ella and Edna Arcand, to contribute locally developed scripts about our indigenous communities’ histories, emphasizing the knowledges, perspectives, and histories of our Cree First Nations peoples who lived through residential schooling in the local areas within and surrounding St. Albert.
Our 16 schools are leading the way in sharing this learning opportunity with their parents through communication with their School Councils and through opportunities to take part in blanket ceremonies at their schools.
Our 16 schools are leading the way in sharing this learning opportunity with their parents through communication with their School Councils and through opportunities to take part in blanket ceremonies.