The Blanket Exercise...a history experience from the perspective of Indigenous People
Blankets are a source of warmth and comfort. For a child, a special blanket can be a reminder of safety, comfort and protection.
Historically, blankets were given as a gift, expressions of peace and friendship. Sadly, blankets were also used for destructive purposes. They were offered as gifts, infected with contagious diseases such as smallpox with the purpose of spreading the disease to annihilate large number of Indians.
Today, we use blankets as a teaching tool. The Blanket Exercise is a powerful way of learning about the history of relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in the United States. It is a time of listening.
You also will have the privilege to watch the documentary of a survivor of one of the Indian Boarding Schools. She was 6 years old when the government took her from her home to the school. Her name is Susie Silversmith.
During 90 minutes participants will literally walk through the history of the relationship between Native Americans and European settlers.
Why should I go through this exercise?
The Blanket Exercise is a great opportunity for participants to walk and experience the history of the relationships between Europeans and the Indigenous nations who inhabit the southern part of Turtle Island, now called United States of America.
Who is it for?
For anyone over 12 years old. The Blanket Exercise has been done in council meetings, bible study groups, schools, different type of organizations, and congregations...you name it!
What setting works?
In the middle of the room, you will see a circle of chairs, according to the number of participants, with an opening to the East. In the middle of the circle, blankets are spread out representing the land.