The Blanket Exercise is just the beginning! If you’re looking to learn and grow more, here are some resources and ideas to get you started.
- Don’t rush towards solutions. Don’t rush to “fix” things. Sometimes, when we rush to “do” first, we don’t prioritize the relationship first and we play into a centuries-old impulse to “fix the Indian problem.” Especially if you’re not Indigenous yourself, what you need to do first is to allow yourself to be transformed. The first task is to listen.
- Listen first. Listen again. Then listen some more. There are problems aplenty in our own hearts. What do we need to unlearn? And then, once we have taken plenty of time to prioritize the relationship first, perhaps we can move forward together in initiatives led by Indigenous people themselves towards the solutions they have chosen for their communities.
- Volunteer at an Indigenous centre. Many cities have one (sometimes also called friendship centres, Indian centres, healing centres, etc). Make some friends. Practice on a small scale the kind of mutuality and respect we need on a national scale. Learn from them. Listen first. (If there are no centres in your area, there may be an Indigenous museum you can learn from.)
- Go to a pow-wow. They’re really fun!
- Run the Living the 8th Fire small group series at your church.
- Study boarding schools/residential schools with your friends or your small group. Here’s one source you could use that provides questions, video clips, reading, and ideas (US): http://www.pbs.org/indiancountry/history/boarding.html
- ...or if you’re Canadian, listen to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report read by Indigenous people themselves through these videos. Or start with the first two videos (the Executive Summary).
- Consider Indigenous perspectives when you’re voting.
- Watch media and read books produced by Indigenous people. (Great places to start are the works of Broken Walls, Thomas King, Wab Kinew, Tanya Tagaq, Richard Wagamese, A Tribe Called Red…and so many more!)
United States:http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/ (You can even subscribe to a weekly newsletter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- Pray for the work of the Doctrine of Discovery task force.
- Join in on Indigenous-led campaigns, like the one to change the Redskins mascot or to encourage the Canadian government to take the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women seriously. (There are “Sisters in Spirit” vigils across Canada every October 4th. Here are some more ideas to get you started from KAIROS. )
- Celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November (United States) or National Aboriginal Day on June 21, 2016 (Canada). (In Canada, the Canadian Aboriginal Ministry Committee makes worship resources available for free to mark this day in June every year.)
- Become a facilitator of the Blanket Exercise. (Contact Shannon Perez (email@example.com) or Viviana Cornejo (firstname.lastname@example.org).