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.
New in 2021
2021 will slowly see the KBE program opening up again, with adapted scripts, new health and safety protocols, an online version of the KBE, and virtual teaching and sharing circles. Join our email list to be kept up to date.
Virtual KAIROS Blanket Exercise
KAIROS has developed a virtual KAIROS Blanket Exercise workshop that is now available for booking. 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
Interactive online sessions led by Indigenous Knowledge Keepers aimed to build positive relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
Based in Indigenous worldviews and using Indigenous traditions and protocols, each KBE Teaching and Sharing Circle addresses historical and contemporary topics in an honest and personal way by blending data and facts with personal stories. Each topic has been developed to complement the KBE and can serve as an introduction before you experience a virtual or in-person KBE, or as a way to delve more deeply into a specific topic after attending a KBE.
The KBE Teaching and Sharing Circles program is offered as both public and private group sessions for schools and educational institutions, community groups and employers. Join a KBE Teaching and Sharing Circle and experience a deep and meaningful way to learn about truth and reconciliation.
- For a list of topics and to register visit the KBE calendar of events.
- Meet the facilitators.
- If you have questions about the KBE Teaching and Sharing Circles or want to book a private session for your group (of up to 40 participants) contact us by email.
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.