KAIROS Blanket Exercise
What is a KAIROS Blanket Exercise?
In 2018 the IPPC hosted a KAIROS Blanket Exercise in Belleville as a fundraiser for the Red Cedars Women Shelter in Tyendinaga. Nicole Patterson, Rotary Club East York, and trained in leading the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, guided us through the very emotional exercise. We were thrilled that Betty Maracle, Elder from Tyendinaga accepted our invitation.
In the introduction we had to give the Elder a tobacco offering in red cloth with yellow string. The Elder was asked to smudge and open the ceremony with a land acknowledgement and or prayer. Then Nicole Patterson discussed the history of the blanket exercise and laid out the scene. Then we had a narrator and a settler who read parts. A couple of volunteers helped the settler to take blankets and hand out cards throughout the exercise.
At the end, we did sit in a circle and the Elder invited people into a talking circle. People shared their thoughts and feelings that came up during the exercise. It was a very emotional experience.
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is a workshop that explores the nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Blankets arranged on the floor represent land (Turtle Island, now known as Canada) and participants are invited to step into the roles of First Nations, Inuit and later Métis peoples.
This exercise provides a visual lesson of Indigenous lands along with the history of on-going relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.