Kairos Blanket Exercise Comes to Jericho Ridge

Feb 1, 2018 | by Brad Sumner

As you may know, Jericho takes advantage of Long Weekends to change up our format and promote what we call E.P.I.C. Sundays.  This means that we seek our learning that is Experiential, Participatory, Intergenerational and Connective.  

This Family Day, we are bringing seeing to connect more deeply with the story of our indigenous brothers and sisters and learn to understand their journey.   We have invited representatives from KAIROS Canada, Mennonite Central Committee, and C2C Network to come and facilitate this morning for us.    

What is the Blanket Exercise?
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history we’re 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, the Blanket Exercise covers over 500 years of history in a one and a half hour participatory workshop.


If it's "Participatory", do I have to do or say anything?
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 scripts (only if you want to) and carrying cards which ultimately determine their outcomes. By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates and increases empathy. The exercise will be 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.

Who's Leading This? 
KAIROS is an ecumenical movement for the promotion of ecological justice and human rights.  The Blanket Exercise is one of their most popular initiatives. This exercise has been done with police officers, with corrections officials, with members of the health services community and can benefit anyone who wants to learn empathy for what Indigenous people have gone through and begin to change their thinking and their interactions with first peoples.

What age(s) is this appropriate for?
We'll be providing Sunday Cinema programming for Grade 3 and younger upstairs. Please check your child(ren) in at the Kids @ The Ridge desk and take them upstairs PRIOR to 10:30 AM so you can be present in the Banquet Hall when we begin. 

Will there be singing or coffee and connection time?
The exercise itself takes 45 minutes and then the debrief takes 45 minutes. We'll still make coffee and have it available for people anytime you want to grab it.  There will be no formal break for coffee and no worship in song this weekend. The audio will also not be recorded as it is designed as an immersive learning experience and makes the most sense only if you are physically present for the storytelling and the debrief.  

If you have any questions, please contact Pastor Brad and we look forward to seeing you on Sunday, Feb 11. 

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