KAIROS Blanket Exercise

Sunday January 29, 2023. 10 am – noon

This is an in person service and there will be no Zoom meeting

Welcome to Calgary Unitarians Blanket Exercise, our Sunday service for January 29.

The KAIROS Blanket Exercise’s goal is to build understanding about our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada by walking through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization, and resistance.

Everyone is actively involved as they step, or roll onto blankets that represent the land, and into the role of First Nations, Inuit, and later Métis peoples.

By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates and increases empathy.


Our Facilitators:

Elder Doreen Healy – born and raised on the Blood Reserve, Blackfoot Confederacy, Southern Alberta. Member of the Kainai Nation, Blood Tribe. She is a residential school survivor taken from her family at age 5. She has worked in the oil and gas industry for many years with Amoco Canada and

MEG Energy as an Indigenous Relations Liaison and for Alberta Energy Regulator as an Indigenous Specialist and Resident Elder.

Anne Harding – Owner of Forum Community Relations Inc, where she has engaged with over 85 Indigenous communities and organizations across Canada, delivered training to more than 2000 people, Vice-Chair Indigenous Gathering Place Society of Calgary, Director Calgary Chamber of Commerce where she co-chairs Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Sub-Committee.

Workshop Outline (2.5 hrs)

20  mins Opening ceremony (smudge), introduce exercise, key concepts, and participants and assign roles Prepare participants for what they’re about to experience
45 mins Experience the KAIROS Blanket Exercise Experiential learning of history.
15 mins BREAK
25 mins Hear the lived experience of a residential school survivor Connect learning with personal story and emotion
45 mins Talking Circle and Video Debrief lessons and emotions that came up during exercise

It is customary for women to wear long skirts when participating in many Indigenous Ceremonies. This is an exercise as a workshop rather than a Ceremony. There will be some ceremony elements incorporated when Elder Doreen smudges at the beginning, but the exercise itself is very much a non-Indigenous way of learning designed for non-Indigenous people, and therefore the term ‘Ceremony’ doesn’t fit so it is not necessary to advise women to wear long skirts.

Please note that participants will be asked to take off their shoes so that they are more closely connected to the ground as they move around the blankets. If this is truly a distraction for some participants they may leave their shoes on, but it’s a better experience if everyone has their shoes off.

Please fill out this pre-session survey if you are planning to participate in the Blanket Exercise.  It provides the opportunity for folks who may be triggered by the experience to let the Facilitator know in advance so that accommodations can be made in terms of the roles people are assigned.

Looking forward to seeing you all on Sunday morning at 10 AM. Lunch will be provided.