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Blanket invitation for reconciliation

With what we’ve been seeing about residential schools, understanding and acknowledging the pain of Indigenous communities is more critical than ever.

Manitoba 150 has announced partnerships with three Manitoba organizations to provide 50 Blanket Exercises across the province. KAIROS Canada developed the digital Blanket Exercises in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers, and educators to create a program that bridges understanding between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people.

Sky Bridges, a board member of Manitoba 150 and a member of the Metis community said, there’s nothing really like it.

“This incredible program which I’ve gone through myself is so impactful. It really is a great collaborative approach in fostering awareness and education. Throughout the experience, individuals are taken on a journey of what Indigenous people experienced from first contact, through the rights that were taken away, the reserve system, residential schools, and where we stand today. “

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the exercise had to be translated to a virtual format. Sky said KAIROS did a fantastic job of adapting it.

The hope is that professionals taking part in these exercises will carry the momentum of reconciliation forward and improve awareness around these exercises to encourage continued meaningful discourse around reconciliation beyond Manitoba 150. But what do meaningful conversations around reconciliation look like?

“Those conversations are really about taking time to understand the truth of what the history is for Indigenous people,” said Sky. “The conversation right now nationally is around the residential school system. That’s one truth and an important truth to talk about. The reality is Indigenous people have long known about the graves, and Canada is finally beginning to understand what some of those truths are.”

For himself, diversity and reconciliation are a chance to understand the truths and to listen.  The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is a resource that can teach more about the Indigenous truth and past, with educational materials available on its website.

The program is delivered online with limited openings, so people are encouraged to sign-up wherever spaces are available. 

Blanket Invitation for Reconciliation

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U Multicultural.

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