Spirited Reflection: The blanket speech – leading forward in reconciliation
Janet Gray, hearty dedicated KAIROS collaborator in Victoria, BC, shared the following with us:“I just supported Amber Santarelli,a young Grade 12 First Nation student from Port Alberni, BC, in leading a KAIROS Blanket Exercise (KBE) for her peers and classmates in a Christian online learning academy based in Victoria. Amber did a very good job! She had experienced the KBE herself, wanted to share it with others and offered this to the other students as an English project for her own online studies. It was very courageous of her to lead this Exercise and she did a great job.Amber and the Knowledge keeper led the debriefing circle following the Exercise [an important feedback/discussion part of the KBE] and Amber had prepared a couple of questions to get the students going. Amber– a gentle, bright young woman – read these beautiful words of her own at the end of the Exercise to everyone:”
There is beauty, difference and uncertainty in all life. As people we have the ability to see and dwell in all of these so why don’t we choose to grow the beauty, maintain the differences and weed out fear? The struggle for all living things to live resides in all, but the expression of hope solely belongs to humans. It is one of our greatest tools and catalysts to change and move forward with what matters. What will Reconciliation look like in the future? Will we be at peace internally? A united society, a united Nation? Will we be a beautiful, diversified, mosaic of culture yet united as a people who turns towards goodness with welcoming arms and helping hands?That we are guided by the Creator, God, the goodwill of humanity, morals, virtues, history, innovation, critical thinking, emotional acknowledgement, our piece of individual truths and our collective truth, visions and perspectives. May the fear, anger, guilt, shame, sadness, pain, hurt, damage and confusion spur each of us onto a journey with regard to our roles and respect for our neighbours. I hope that every one of us finds the drive to rectify the wrongs of our ancestors by correcting our mistakes, changing our ways and healing, and in that healing find the grace and humanity with recognition of the bonds that all humans share.
Reconciliation and Hope
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is the work of Reconciliation and Hope. This exercise is to acknowledge the history and our past. Making the history known gives us reason and focus to address and make change, to lift up our hope as First Peoples and settlers. We have the ability and opportunity to take action. The process will take a long time. The attempt of assimilation of the First Peoples on Turtle Island spanned over 150 years and it will take such time and then some, to be engaged in Reconciliation among First Peoples, among settlers and among all of us together. We are in the beginnings of Reconciliation and I hope we all collectively continue to see how important this work is as individuals, as community and as a country. It is our responsibility to give respect and show integrity towards all. With the knowledge you have learned I pray that this event inspires you, changes you, and leads you forward.
Amber Santarelli is a First Nation Grade 12 student from Port Alberni, BC.