KAIROS Blanket Exercise
History of the Blanket Exercise
Developed in response to the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in 1996 –which recommended education about Canadian-Indigenous history as one of the key steps to reconciliation — the KAIROS Blanket Exercise (KBE) covers more than 500 years in a 90-minute experiential workshop that aims to foster understanding about our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Since its creation, the Exercise has been updated several times to include new information such as the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation final report.
During the KBE, participants walk on blankets representing the land and into the role of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples by reading scrolls and carrying cards which ultimately determine their outcome as they literally ‘walk’ through situations that include pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. Participants are guided through the experience by trained facilitators (who read the script and assume the roles of European explorers and settlers) and Indigenous Elders or knowledge keepers. The Exercise concludes with a debriefing, conducted as a `talking circle,’ during which participants discuss the learning experience, process their feelings, ask questions, share insights and deepen their understanding.
Since its creation in 1997, tens of thousands of KAIROS Blanket Exercises have been conducted in Canada and around the world, including in the United States, Guatemala, and Australia. By engaging participants on both emotional and intellectual levels, the KBE is able to both educate and create understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples … in Canada and throughout the world!
Watch the Blanket Exercise in action: https://vimeo.com/129161339
For all inquiries regarding the Blanket Exercise offered by the Centre for Student Engagement, please contact: