- 1 UP
Home > News > Algoma University Hosts Blanket Exercise

Algoma University Hosts Blanket Exercise

(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – September 6, 2016): On September 7th, Algoma University will be hosting the KAIROS Blanket Exercise as part of its annual O-Week festivities. The special cultural activity will take place in the George Leach Centre from 1:00pm – 4:00pm and is open to the public.

“We are pleased to be hosting the KAIROS Blanket Exercise,” said Dr. Richard McCutcheon, Academic Dean at Algoma University and event sponsor. “Such activities like these are crucial to furthering our relationship with Indigenous Peoples and the ongoing healing and reconciliation process. As a post-secondary institution, it is important that we continue to be leaders in educating our students and the general public about not only the history of the site of Algoma University but also about Indigenous Peoples’ rights and history more generally.”

The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is an experiential teaching tool which clarifies the historical and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. 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, the Blanket Exercise covers over 500 years of history in an afternoon participatory workshop.

Blanket Exercise participants take on the roles of Indigenous Peoples 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.

Located on the Traditional Ojibwe Territory of Batchewana First Nation and Garden River First Nation, and the site of the former Shingwauk and Wawanosh Indian Residential Schools, the University provides an important insight into the history that will be discussed during the blanket exercise.

“Algoma University’s location on the site of a former Indian residential school is not merely an anecdote, it is a powerful force in moving Algoma University forward to respect the rights of Anishinaabe people and to higher education that affirms Anishinaabe history and knowledge traditions. We are strengthened by the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, especially article 46.iv which calls for support for the renewal or establishment of Treaty relationships based on principles of mutual recognition, mutual respect, and shared responsibility for maintaining those relationships. Through an engaged re-enactment of the critical trauma of colonization through The Blanket Exercise, as Anishinaabe and settler societies experiencing it together, we come to a fresh realization of the importance of reconciliation to our mutual futures,” said event coordination team member and Assistant Professor of Anishinaabe Studies, Dr. Rainey Gaywish.

The Blanket Exercise walks through difficult experiences, including the residential schools era, the Sixties Scoop, and other policies that have affected Indigenous Peoples, and may be difficult for some. Cultural and health support is provided during and after the exercise.

The Blanket Exercise will be followed by a Round Dance in which all participants are encouraged to join.

For more information on the event, please contact Academic Support Officer Brittany Paat at [email protected] or call 705.949.2301, Ext. 4230.

This event is free to attend. Parking will be provided.

Share Article