MEDIA ADVISORY: KAIROS brings unique mass history lesson to PEI

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Hundreds expected to participate in KAIROS Blanket Exercise in support of Education for Reconciliation

Charlottetown, PEI – On May 28th, KAIROS will engage various partnering organization and provincial residents or citizens in a unique history lesson at the Cole Building, 175 Richmond Street, at 12:30pm. The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is a visual and participatory activity that helps people of all ages learn about Canada’s history from the perspective of Indigenous peoples.

This event is part of a national initiative advocating for full implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)’s Call to Action #62.i, which urges provincial governments to ensure that all students learn about Indian Residential Schools (IRS), treaties, and the contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to Canada. This action is part of KAIROS’ Winds of Change campaign, launched last November, to help advance the TRC Calls to Action.

Since the fall, KAIROS members and supporters in PEI and nation-wide have gathered thousands of signatures on petitions in support of Call to Action #62.i. Local members will deliver these petitions to local government ministers and representatives.

This Mass Blanket Exercise is one of many taking place in provincial capitals across the country.

The Canadian government funded the church-run residential schools for 130 years. Former students, their families, and communities continue to suffer inter-generational trauma from the numerous abuses that Indigenous children experienced during this national project of assimilation. The KAIROS Blanket Exercise covers the historical milestones and impacts of colonization in Canada, including the Indian Residential Schools.

“People who participate in the Blanket Exercise often ask why they didn’t know about these abuses,” says Jenna Burke, lead organizer of the event. “Implementing TRC Call to Action #62.i will help end this ignorance of our history in a generation and facilitate reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.”

Media are invited to participate in the exercise and interview spokespeople.

EVENT:  KAIROS Mass Blanket Exercise

LOCATION: Honourable George Cole Building, 175 Richmond Street

In case of Rain, Trinity United Church gymnasium, 220 Richmond Street

DATE & TIME:  May 28th, 2016 at 12:30pm

WHAT: A unique interactive history lesson from the point of view of Ingenious Peoples, presented by KAIROS PEI

About the Blanket Exercise:

In 1996, the Aboriginal Rights Coalition (which became part of KAIROS) worked with Indigenous elders and teachers to develop an interactive way to learn the history most Canadians are never taught. KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives has since offered the Blanket Exercise thousands of times, presenting Canada’s history from the perspective of Indigenous peoples.

The exercise uses blankets to represent the lands of what is now called Canada, and the distinct cultures and nations which live on those lands to this day. Participants represent the First Peoples. When they move onto the blankets, they are taken back in time to before the arrival of the Europeans. The Narrator and a European (or two) work with the participants to read a script while the exercise goes through the history of treaty-making, colonization and resistance that resulted in the country we today call Canada.

About KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives

KAIROS is a faith-based social justice organization of eleven Canadian churches and religious organizations. It focuses on Indigenous rights, international human rights and ecological justice. We deliberate on issues of common concern, advocate for social change and join with people of faith and goodwill in action for social transformation.

Media Contacts:

Tyrone Paul
Public Relations, NCPEI
Phone: 902-892-5314
Fax: 902-368-7464

Filed in: Indigenous Rights, Media Releases


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