This exercise had a lot of ‘aha’ moments for me and cut deep into my emotions. The terms that we discussed beforehand helped me out and I think that is very useful to include when facilitating this kind of an exercise into the classroom. The terms that we talked about included:
-sovereign nation: protection of individual rights
-treaties: binding agreements
-equality: everyone getting the same
-equity: everybody gets what they need in order for success
-Indigenous peoples:all encompassing term for Aboriginal peoples
-Aboriginal peoples: First Nations. Metis and Inuit (blanket term)
-Assimilation: process of a person or group’s culture that come to resemble that of another group
-Enfranchisement: admit to citizenship (lost Indian Status)
This helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the terms when they came into conversation during the blanket exercise. If I was not aware of these terms or had not heard them used before, this exercise would not have had as much meaning for me or I might have gotten lost. I really enjoyed that we started this exercise off by sitting in a circle, i felt connected to everyone and I could see everybody’s faces and emotions. Seeing other people in a vulnerable state made me more comfortable to allow myself to become vulnerable and open during this exercise. Being able to open up and pull myself out of the ‘white settler’ world that sometimes surrounds me made me come to many realisations. I feel like I was only able to scratch the surface during this exercise and that if I was able to participate various other times, I would see a new light each time. Once we stood together on the sheets, I felt this anticipation hanging over my head the whole time, I knew at some point I would be kicked off. When the cards were getting handed out, I knew those people were at some point getting kicked off too. This being ‘kicked off’ didn’t just signify that you were ‘out’ of the exercise, this signified a much larger picture
and it had a huge impact for me. Watching these countless people erased from the land was truly devastating and put this into a great deal of perspective for me. Hearing all of the personal stories teared at my heart strings. It wasn’t just something that I was hearing about, they are real life, these things actually happened to people. I got passed 2 scrolls to read during this blanket exercise and I was honestly scared to read what it said. I was worried that I would start crying and disrupt the exercise. I was hit the hardest when comparing the land size from the beginning of the exercise to the end and how much had been taken away. Hearing my classmates share their thoughts and feelings was beautiful and I also appreciate having my worldview opened up and expand. I left this class with feelings of hope and blessing because we, as educators have the power to stand up and make a difference. Saying sorry is not enough. Actions speak louder than words. Recognising that there have been huge faults made is the first step in my Treaty walk and to get a deeper understanding of what wrongs have all been made before I can figure out how to address these in my classroom and take action.
This is a great resource to use in the classroom for blanket exercises!