Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Kairos Blanket

From Miranda

The Kairos Blanket Exerise was run through Michael's school. The teachers were encouraged to join, and parents were invited to sign up. There were only 5 parents there, everyone else was staff at the school (and a couple of staff from other schools that were friends of the staff members attending). 

To start, Randy introduced himself in Blackfoot then had us all say hello and introduce ourselves in Blackfoot. Oki is hello. This is a bit of the language as I know it is easier to hear the words than to try and sound things out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwOB_rq7xEI

The elder then said a prayer to creator to guide us through the exercise in the spirit of love and togetherness.

There are several blankets on the floor, and everyone receives scrolls. They also pass out dolls, bison, colored index cards, some trading goods, and then everyone is asked to find a spot on a blanket. The "Colonizers" start out friendly, shaking hands and sharing things. They take a little bit of land around the edges, but everything still feels comfortable. They start giving out blankets to the people who have no goods. And then people start dying. People are stripped of their status so they have to stand nearby on the floor. People go to residential schools, and are displaced to unfamiliar areas. The babies get taken from parents and put alone on a blanket.  By the end, a few people are standing, mostly alone and with little space left.

It's well set up so that you really feel like you can't do much to keep your space and resources. The amount of blanket space is reduced slowly, and the colonizers give you good reasons to share your land with them, at first. Your rights are slowly stripped away and you lose everything. And when you are feeling raw and drained by the end of the exercise, Randy shared his personal experiences in Residential Schools and TB Sanitariums.  

To debrief, there is a sharing circle. Everyone has a chance to comment on what rocked them, what sticks out and what they want to leave with (Rock, Stick and Leaf). There were very few people who could make it through without tears. It was a lot of sitting in discomfort.

So that is my brief recap of it. It was a very powerful empathetic experience. I really recommend it to anyone who is able to attend.


P.S. Please feel free to share any of this. I just noticed I was responding just to you

1 comment:

  1. Hi Miranda - I have not yet participated in the Kairos Blanket Exercise. I have heard it described before by Rebecca, but your telling had the same impact on me: a sick feeling in my stomach, the feeling of a deluge of tears building up behind my eyes, and a compelling feeling that I need to run, run away, run as fast as I can, and not look back. I have a personal goal for "honouring the truth" so there is no running away for me.

    I watched the Blackfoot Language Preservation Lesson that you linked to in your post. It was calming to listen to the teacher teach some basic conversational phrases. Rather than run away, I will instead say "Nisto makuaki" (I'm alright), and breath, and stay present to listen and learn.