Indigenous Education Team Leads Impactful Blanket Exercise
On March 10 and 11, colleagues and I participated in a Blanket Exercise led by the Louis Riel School Division's (LRSD) Indigenous Education Team. This was our third opportunity as a leadership group to learn from the team in the 2021-2022 school year.
This engaging experience led participants through a very impactful history lesson from the perspective of Indigenous People. Beginning in the pre-contact era, participants stood on various blankets representing the lands of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. As the narrators moved through history, the blankets were folded up, removed or moved to illustrate the destructive and enduring impacts of colonialism.
Throughout the session, participants learned about treaties, oppressive laws and policies, the Residential 'School' System, the Sixties Scoop, and current racist structures and practices. The facilitators from the Indigenous Education Team were vulnerable in sharing their experiences and the harms they and loved ones have endured and continue to experience.
The experiential nature of the session and personal accounts from colleagues created a poignant learning opportunity and a deeply human connection to our shared history. My hope is that this team knows that they are not alone and that they have the full support of principals, vice-principals, and the Senior Leadership Team as we continue this important journey. My hope is that the Blanket Exercise, as designed by the team, is a recurring learning experience for staff and students in LRSD as an exhortation to find the courage to accomplish the work on our mission toward truth and reconciliation.
LRSD leadership will continue their learning journey in April through a session on The Ethics of Hospitality Through an Anti-Racist Perspective and I will share back what I learn.