In 1996, the Aboriginal Rights Coalition worked with Indigenous elders and teachers to develop an interactive way of learning the history most Canadians are never taught. The Blanket Exercise was the result; it has since been offered thousands of times and the fourth edition was released in 2016.
How it works
The Blanket Exercise is based on using Indigenous methodologies and the goal is to build understanding about our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada by walking through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. Everyone is actively involved as they step onto blankets that represent the land, and into the role of First Nations, Inuit and later Métis peoples. By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates and increases empathy.
Where and how
The Blanket Exercise itself takes about an hour and should always be followed by a talking circle which often requires at least another hour. With youth, ninety minutes for both the Blanket Exercise and debrief is sometimes feasible.
Please note, we require that people undergo facilitator training before accessing the scripts. In addition, if you are non-Indigenous, please ensure you are working in partnership with Indigenous facilitators and Elders when using this teaching tool.
We see the KBE program slowly opening up again with in-person workshops. The online version of the KBE is still going as strong as we saw in 2021. Join our email list to be kept up to date.
Virtual KAIROS Blanket Exercise
KAIROS has developed a virtual KAIROS Blanket Exercise workshop. This online session honours the experiential and participatory elements of the in-person KBE, while making adjustments for a safe experience in an online environment. Hosted by experienced KBE facilitators, the online session can accommodate groups between 20 and 45 people, and lasts about two hours. For more information on the virtual KBE, contact us by email.
KBE Teaching and Sharing Circles
Until further notice, the KBE Teaching and Sharing Circles program has been furloughed. Sign up to the KAIROS newsletter to be kept informed on further developments.
Want to know more?
Vist the KAIROS Blanket Exercise Website
As demand for KAIROS’ most popular teaching tool continues to grow, we are expanding our capacity to deliver the exercise in a good and safe way that ensures facilitators are well-trained and supported, Elders are properly compensated, and training is standardized. As part of this expansion initiative, we are implementing changes to the KAIROS Blanket Exercise website.