Truth and Reconciliation: The Blanket Exercise

Blanket exercise at the FCJ Christian Life Centre in Calgary

The FCJ Christian Life Centre and the FCJ Sisters in Calgary observed the National Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada as an important step toward reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, their families, and communities. The following piece is taken from the their website

In our ongoing commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, we took an important step forward. Led by Rev. Tony Snow and Rev. John Snow, of the Stoney Nakoda Nations, our dedicated staff engaged in a profoundly moving half-day Blanket Exercise workshop on September 20, 2023.

The Blanket Exercise is based on using Indigenous methodologies and the goal 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 was actively involved as they step onto blankets that represent the land, and into the role of First Nations, Inuit and later Métis peoples.

The exercise helped us to ‘walk in other moccasins’, experiencing a little of the emotions of Indigenous peoples as colonists flooded into their land and restricted their land use through treaties, and even for a time limited their freedom of movement.

Throughout the exercise, blankets were methodically folded and removed, vividly illustrating the historical journey of the Indigenous peoples. Some staff and sisters were tasked with reading scriptures detailing the past experiences and regulations enforced during those difficult years.

The Blanket Exercise provided our team with a profound opportunity for learning and growth, nurturing a deeper understanding of the history and experiences of Indigenous peoples. It is through such actions that we aspire to contribute to a more inclusive and harmonious future. Through this interactive and emotionally charged experience, FCJ Centre staff and FCJ sisters gained a richer understanding of the painful past experienced by the First Nations.

In conclusion, the activity paved the way for the participants to ponder their roles in the reconciliation efforts. It was a transformative experience that left us all with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper connection to the shared journey towards healing and reconciliation.

The Blanket Exercise was not just a workshop but a journey of healing, a Treaty 7 Blanket Exercise.

National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

The FCJ Christian Life Centre and the FCJ Sisters recognize National Truth and Reconciliation Day as an important step toward reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, their families, and communities. FCJ Centre will observe this day as an essential component of the reconciliation process.

Land Acknowledgment

We wish to acknowledge that the FCJ Christian Life Centre is situated on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations, including Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley First Nations. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.

We come together in prayer for healing!