The Blanket Exercise

The Blanket Exercise…Simplified  History of Indigenous First Nations, Metis, and   Inuit in Canada.

Following on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report (2016), parishioners at SBAC have  indicated  our intent to “learn  more” Elsewhere in this web publication, is an outline of the “Circles of Reconciliation, an initiative of Rev. Vincent Solomon  and his team which has started. Since 2016, we begin our vestry and other meetings by acknowledging the territory, with the following “Creator God, we acknowledge that here in Manitoba we are on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Oji-Cree, Ojibway, Dene and Dakota Nations subject to Treaties #1,#2, and #3 and the homeland of the Metis nation. We are grateful that we can worship together and care  for this Prairie land.”

In October 2017 Rev. Vincent Solomon  was a guest priest at our Church , in his sermon he reminded us that while the ruling clergy such as the  Pharisees at the time had to know and obey over 700 laws, Jesus Christ made matters simpler for us Christians, distilling the commandments into  First  “Love God” and secondly “Love thy neighbour”. Our actions should reflect those pronouncements.

In January 2018 our Social Justice  Ministry, chaired by Lynn D,. which was well attended, consisted of a Pot luck supper, followed by the Blanket exercise. This was arranged under the jurisdiction of Kairos(which an outreach under the Primate World Relief and Development Fund). The Rector’s Warden opened this session with the acknowledgement of the Territory, followed by a formal welcome to Elder Carolyn, and a gift of tobacco by Lynn. Elder Carolyn  distributed sweet grass as this was a smoke free smudge. In attendance were Rev. Vincent and the daughter of Elder Carolyn. The historical dramatization was facilitated by Heather Lea and her husband John Lea, as we sat around  a circle of numerous Blankets  placed on the floor.

While the loss of the land  which affected First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples was striking, depicted by the removal of Blankets from the floor; as  the narrative on various policies unfolded that information  was more startling and new to many present.

When all but one blanket was left , the Eagle Feather, held by the Elder was passed to each one in the  sharing circle to give remarks. Many in attendance had links through work, their marriage or that of children, Honorary Title bestowed by Indigenous Elders, and two individuals  from Caribbean and Guyana were of Indigenous ancestry. The comments from such a heterogenous group deepened the dialogue, and enlightened the understanding of First Nations concerns. At the conclusion  honoraria were given to Elder Carolyn and Heather Lea by Lynn and June respectively.

Rector’s Warden