A ROCHA – SURREY, BC. With delight and honour SFUC, Peninsular United, and facilitator Malaney Gleeson-Lyall successfully lead almost 45 people through a unique, interactive, and participatory history lesson known as the KAIROS Blanket Exercise on Thursday, September 13, 2018.
In this exercise, participants are invited to step onto blankets that had been laid in the center of the circle. These blankets represented the land known in Indigenous circles as Turtle Island. As they stepped onto the blankets they were invited to take the role of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
Melaney read out a narration of the history from pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance, asking for 19 different scrolls to be read out with various proclamations and treaties that resulted in the death, removal of children to be sent to residential school, and alienation of many people from their home communities.
After the experience, Melaney shared her story of how her family has been impacted to this day as a result of her grandparents and parents’ experiences in residential schools. Harley Chappel of the Semiahmoo First Nation was also present and shared his thoughts on how his community continues to be affected. We were also very pleased to welcome Dave Chesney and Heather Fathers, both of whom are currently sitting as City Councilors for the City of White Rock and are running in the upcoming municipal election.
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise concluded with a debriefing talking circle where we each had an opportunity to share how we had been impacted by the experience. There was a tremendous amount of energy in the room for what the next steps are in learning more and exploring these issues further. Stay tuned for a discussion circle to be scheduled in the new year.