The blanket exercise was not a new topic for me this semester; however, I did not have the opportunity to take part in the exercise before this semester. As an educator, one of my most important goals for my students is to engage them in the learning process so that they can make meaning sense of the world around them and be interested in learning to the point that they understand that learning is a lifelong and enjoyable process. The blanket exercise is one of those opportunities that would engage students in a meaningful learning experience about Turtle Island’s true history.
This semester, I have had the opportunity to take part in the blanket exercise twice; first as a part of my ECCU class and secondly as a part of the train process to facilitate the exercise. The first experience was very emotion filled for me. I learned about different concepts such as the enfranchisement along with the power struggle that Indigenous people were faced with in the past along with how they continue to be challenged by the impacts of colonization. During our debrief of the first exercise, I had to self-talk myself through some of the emotions that I was feeling in order to clearly reflect on the learning that I had just experienced. The second time I took part in the exercise, I started to think about how useful this experience would be to teach students about the history of Turtle Island along with the impacts that colonization has had on us all.
As an educator, I would love to use the blanket exercise in my classroom as a way to introduce to my student the experiences mentioned in the exercise. Since the exercise is a relatively quick paced recollection of the colonization of Turtle Island, it could not be used as a one-off for treaty education as students would miss out on much of the information that they should learn about. In saying this, I think that this exercise would be a great start to an inquire unit about the impact of colonization and the process of assimilation on Indigenous Peoples in Canada. I am thankful that Kairos Canada has created this resource and that it along with other remarkable resources are free for educators to use with their students.
In regards to my treaty walk, the essential learning that I take away from the blanket exercise is that numbered treaties were developed in the past; however the impacts of them still is evident today and therefore I have a role as an educator to ensure that my students understand the treaty making process, the impacts of treaty and what they can do as a part of reconciliation.
I look forward to using this resource with my students to help them kick start their own treaty walk and learn what it means to be a treaty person.
Until next time,