What is it?
The Blanket Exercise, developed by KAIROS following the landmark report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, is an excellent tool that literally walks participants through the history of relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada. It helps participants understand why reconciliation is needed and how to take steps toward reconciliation and new relationships.
Why do it?
The Christian Reformed Church is committed to seeking reconciliation and renewed relationships with our Aboriginal neighbours. One step along this journey of reconciliation is to understand our shared history. Georges Erasmus, a prominent Aboriginal leader in Canada, has said that unless people understand their shared history, there can be no community.
"The Blanket Exercise will get you, for a time at least, walking in someone else's shoes, and will raise your awareness and understanding of Aboriginal people in Canada," writes Rev. Curtis Korver in his reflection on the Blanket Exercise. "Understanding can lead to compassion. Understanding can lead past stereotypes and to real people who have much to offer. Understanding can help us to deal with the past and move into the future. It starts by walking a mile in someone else's shoes, or at least walking far enough together to squirm a little.
Who can participate?
Since its creation in 1996, the Blanket Exercise has been conducted hundreds of times with thousands of people of all ages and from all backgrounds. The ideal number of participants is 15-25, but it can be easily and successfully adapted for both smaller and much larger groups. Children, youth and adults; those who know a little bit of history or a lot - everyone will benefit from participating in the Blanket Exercise.
The Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue and the Canadian Aboriginal Ministry Committee are encouraging Christian Reformed Church members, congregations, and Classes to get involved. Whether with your small group, youth group, at a Day of Encouragement, in a history class, at a congregational meeting, or any other venue, we invite you to learn our shared history through the Blanket Exercise.
Contact Us to learn more, or to schedule a Blanket Exercise in your area.
Reflections on the Blanket Exercise