Indigenous Blanket Exercise

Elm Creek School recently had the opportunity to participate in a powerful hands-on history lesson, in the form of a Blanket Exercise.  The goal of the Blanket Exercise is to build understanding about our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada by walking through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance.  Everyone is actively involved as they step onto blankets that represent the land, and into the role of First Nations, Inuit and later Métis peoples.

Debra Mayer (Early Childhood consultant with Manitoba Education), Ryan Muirhead (ELA Consultant), Greg Pruden (First Nations, Métis and Inuit Perspectives consultant), Audrey North (Aboriginal Languages consultant) and Linda Connor (Social Studies consultant and Provincial Coordinator for UNESCO schools) were our special guests who presented the exercise.  All Grade 7 to 12 students and teachers participated in the exercise and a sharing circle afterward.

Everyone was engaged and many students and staff members shared comments about how powerful the demonstration was and how much they learned.  Some were surprised at how little they knew previously about Residential Schools.  Many shared a feeling of hope, noting that there have been positive changes in the past few years, and that we are moving toward more positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
Picture 1 – Preparing for the ceremony
Picture 2 – Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples on “Turtle Island”