017: PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP- KAIROS Blanket Exercise: Exploring Relationships Among Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Peoples

Sarah Allen; JerriLynn Orr; Anna Chief
5:30 PM
8:30 PM
Marquette I-V
Session #
Session Type
Session Focus
  • Practice
Organized By
  • Feminism & Family Science
  • International
  • Religion, Spirituality & Family

About the Session

Conference Attendance Hours: 3
NBCC CE Hours: 3

Made Possible by the American Indian/Native American/Indigenous Peoples Focus Group; International Section; Feminism and Family Science Section; Religion, Spirituality, and Families Section; Jay Mancini.

The KAIROS Blanket Exercise has been delivered for two decades now throughout Canada, the United States, Central American, South America, and Australia; during the COVID pandemic, they have been delivered virtually. NCFR members Hilary Rose and Sarah Allan have both experienced the Blanket Exercise (Hilary the face-to-face version, Sarah the virtual version). The Blanket Exercise is being proposed by the AI/NA/IP Focus Group. https://www.kairosblanketexercise.org/programs/. The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is a unique interactive and experiential teaching tool that explores the historic and contemporary relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in North America. There are two versions (in-person and virtual); the original in-person blanket exercise can easily accommodate 50 to 250 participants (the largest to date involved 850 people); the virtual version is capped at 40 participants. Both versions are equally impactful.It involves a 2- to 3-hour workshop in which participants stand on blankets spread out on the floor representing traditional native lands. Over the course of the workshop, and guided by trained facilitators and local Indigenous elders and knowledge keepers, the blankets (or virtual backdrops) are slowly and systematically removed and reduced in size as traditional native territories are taken away and reassigned or sold to settlers. Participants play various roles during the blanket exercise, and take turns reading and listening to a localized script (i.e., designed for Minnesota) that covers historical and contemporary events such as pre-contact, colonization, treaties, settlement, and resistance and more. The blanket exercise concludes with a debriefing to allow participants to process their feelings, share their impressions, and ask questions about this uniquely powerful and visceral experience.

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Conference Session