KAIROS Blanket Exercise
On August 9, we held a virtual KAIROS Blanket Exercise. The goal of the sessions is to build understanding about the shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada by walking through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. In the original version, everyone is actively involved as they step onto blankets that represent the land, and into the role of First Nations, Inuit and later Métis peoples. The online version developed during COVID honors the experiential and participatory elements of the in-person original.
By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates and increases empathy.
DUCC Kathy Douglas writes about her experience:
Deep emotions are not easy for me to ‘figure’ and ‘sit with’. When they come, I recognize the divine is at work. During the virtual Kairos Blanket Exercise I experienced deep emotions of grief, anger and frustration. I also came to a place of hope. There were over 25 of us gathered across the world on Monday, August 9 for the vKBE_Diakonia…sharing an experience together. Twenty five folks, who collectively can offer healing and change in an effort of reconciliation around Canada’s unjust history with the first people’s of this land.
With the pandemic experience in full swing, we know change and movement can occur in BIG ways and quite quickly.
Collectively we can make a difference, now.
And an American colleague, Sister Ramona Daily, from the Deaconess Community of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, shares her experience:
As an African/Caribbean American woman I felt privileged to have the opportunity to experience the history of my Indigenous Canadian siblings in the Blanket exercise. The ugly parts of history were revealed. I knew they were there but not the particular acts of horror about which we learned. So much loss! God, have mercy!
I held my tears until I heard an Inuit elder tell how the colonizers shot and killed his husky dogs. His dogs were his transportation and livelihood, not to mention his pets. The cruelty of that act overwhelmed me.
I still have my tipi virtual background because I was randomly one of the people who virtually survived. I use it as a talking point on other zoom meetings. The Blanket exercise reminded me of watching the TV movie, Roots. Tears and resilience. I heard an Indigenous woman say, “They tried to bury us but we are like seeds!” Amen, Sister!