On Tuesday September 17th, Mayor and Council invited Cardston County Council and representatives from the School Division, Chamber of Commerce, and local church leadership of all denominations to participate in a KAIROS Blanket Exercise facilitated by the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history we are rarely taught. 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, and used during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission - the Blanket Exercise covers over 500 years of history in a 2-hour participatory workshop. 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 contemporary events, through to reconciliation. They are directed by facilitators serving as the Narrator and European Settlers. Participants are drawn into the experience by playing a roll, using traditional trading items, reading scrolls and carrying cards which ultimately determine their outcomes. By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates, imparts awareness, empathy, understanding and opportunities for reconciliation. The exercise is followed by a traditional Talking Circle in which participants have the opportunity to discuss their experience and de-brief under the guidance of an Elder and Traditional Knowledge Keeper.