“I really enjoyed participating in the blanket exercise and found it to be a very good way to understand our Canadian history in a more visual, active way.
“I did not have the chance to study much Aboriginal history in elementary and high school, our education was very focused on the Europeans. Most of what I know I have learned from reading articles, in films and talking to people. I have learned so much more these past two months of PDP and I feel this has been one of the greatest gifts of this program to me. But I find every time we have a workshop about Aboriginal education I have more questions.
“I hope in the future that I will have the chance to spend some time with elders in our community and listen to their stories so I can begin to more fully understand. I also hope that my future students will have this opportunity as well, as I know it would deeply enrich their education as Canadians and citizens of the world.” — Bronwen
“Fifteen years ago, 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 was last completely updated in 2013.
“Two scripts are included: one for youth and adults, the other for children and younger teens. 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 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 nation we today call Canada.”
The BC Blanket Exercise was developed by Kairos Canada in cooperation with the BCTF. For more information visit the Kairos Canada website:
“This was such a great activity because it allowed everyone to participate and develop a better understanding of Canada’s history with the First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. We not only saw the injustice, but because we were part of the activity, we were also given the opportunity to ‘feel’ the wrongs that were committed. Thank you for sharing this exercise with us.”–Helaine
“I would like to thank you for taking the time to meet with us and lead us through the blanket exercise. I found it a powerful experience that gave me a greater understanding of the injustice towards the First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples. It also gave me a clear idea of what my role can be going forward. I appreciated all of you taking the time to share your knowledge, express your feelings, and guide us on this path. Again, thank you.” –Kate
“I am grateful for the opportunity to do this activity. I have realized how ignorant I was before starting PDP when it comes to Aboriginal Education and feel very grateful for the chance to increase my understanding in this area.”
“I found the Blanket Exercise to be a very enlightening activity as it truly put into perspective how unfair it is to have your space taken away. I felt uncomfortable every time even the smallest part of my blanket was turned over, and for that, I thank you. This activity will definitely find a place in my future classroom.” –Danielle
“I found the blanket exercise to be thought-provoking and, at times, stressful. It felt uncomfortable and intimidating to have my blanket taken away from me and within minutes I found myself sent to the side of the room because I had been purposely separated from my group. The blanket metaphor is an extremely powerful one and I believe it can help children of all ages relate to the emotions felt by Aboriginal peoples during colonization.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BOOKING THIS WORKSHOP FOR YOUR STUDENTS, CONTACT: Gail Stromquist at the BC Teachers’ Federation. firstname.lastname@example.org