KAIROS Blanket Exercise
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history. 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 a one and a half hour 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 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. Ideally, 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.
To date, the Algoma District School Board has conducted the Blanket Exercise with 140 staff members. This includes 95% of our Vice Principals and Principals, several Superintendents and the Director. We have also done a Blanket Exercise at CASS, with approx. 50 students, and Tarentorus PS. for the grade 5, 6, and 7 students Approx. 70 – 80.