What Is Blanket Exercise?
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Just received a message from Robert E. Shore-Goss, for press release from: The Windermere Union Church, 10710 Park Ridge Road, Windermere, FL 34786, in italics, below:
The Windermere Union Church, a United Church of Christ, will engage in a Blanket Exercise in Florida. To our knowledge, it is the first time to be held in Florida. The Blanket Exercise is based on using Florida Indigenous histories, from pre-contact, colonization, resistance and treaty-making. The goal is to build a just and embodied understanding through walking on blankets and with indigenous people’s history in Florida.
Do you know whose land you are on? Of course, you may know who the recent property owners were, perhaps back over several property sales. But who was here before the Europeans came here over the last 8 centuries? We call them Indigenous People and they sustained a major “land loss” of this “home” we call Florida.
You will have the opportunity to learn a great deal about them and the many changes that took place over the years. Our focus will be primarily 17 tribes that loved this land as much as we do. We will be using a method called “A Blanket Exercise” to tell this story. Blankets will be laid out in a configuration of Florida representing 17 “principal tribes” at the time the Europeans came here. We will be invited to stand on the blanket or move around on them, and as the story unfolds by the narrators, portions of the blankets will be made smaller, until many are eventually removed. As participants move off the blankets it represent disease, war, or extinction. It is not just an educational experience about “land loss”, but also helps us know more about the impact of loss of culture, dignity, rights, and often hope. It is part of the United Church of Christ as a mainline Protestant denomination to recognize our history of violence toward Indigenous People and their struggle for the care of nature and Mother Earth.
Prior to the service, at 9:45, there will be a Prayer Circle, which will include the burning of sage, prayer to the Four Cardinal Directions, and music by the River Wind Flute Circle, of Leesburg.
Time: Sunday, July 31st, 2022, at 10:00 AM at The Windermere Union United Church of Christ (10710 Park Ridge Road, Windermere, FL 34786). All are welcome.
Since this is the first time for me to hear about Blanket Exercise, To find out more about Blanket Exercise, please refer to excerpt from wikipedia, in italics, below:
The blanket exercise is an interactive educational program that teaches the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The program was created in response to the 1996 report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and is used as a teaching tool across Canada.
The 1996 report of the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples contained recommendations to improve relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, including education as one of the key steps to reconciliation. In response to these recommendations, KAIROS, a Canadian faith-based ecumenical organization, developed the program in 1997 in consultation with indigenous elders and representatives. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 again identified education as a key area for improving relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada, after which the blanket exercise grew in popularity.
The University of Toronto law school community gathered to participate in the Blanket Exercise, a step on the path to a reconciliation that has been hundreds of years in the making. Along the way, they hope to learn about and engage with an often tragic history, one that will give them a better understanding of the issues many Indigenous people face today. The blankets represent Turtle Island, the name many Indigenous people give to North America. And one by one, they are taken away, as the impact of settlers, colonization, disease, land treaties and the residential schools system was felt among Indigenous people, in the video published on April 7, 2017, “Blanket Exercise at the U of T Faculty of Law/2“, below:
In our attempt to always try to present a balanced story and to be fair and just to history, allow us to share the video published on Dec 10, 2019, “The Gruesome History of the Comanche Tribe w/S.C. Gwynne| Joe Rogan“, below:
The book mentioned in the video above, Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History, by S.C. Gwynne.
In conclusion, perhaps the Blanket Exercise would be more complete if starting the presentation from the time when human first appeared on North American continent or planet earth. For as we push forward in time, we would find similarity between experience of Native Americans of early American history and the Dutch farmers of present day. Perhaps the answer lies in empathy and love for human kind. If all human, be they the aboriginals, early settlers or late comers, all share the ability to empathize, then there would be less violence or loss of land, lives, or culture. As Homo sapiens evolve, there will be potential for greater capacity for empathy and love for fellow human kind. (Of course, there are two sides to this argument also, as indicated in the two videos below):
In the video published on May 7, 2020, “The Decline of Violence| Steven Pinker“, below:
In the video published on Feb 26, 2021, “Steven Pinker is WRONG about the decline of violence“, below:
My father was the first generation that immigrated to United States in the 60’s as a professional civil engineer. He used to equate himself, the first generation immigrant to USA as a guest while subsequent generations as hosts, “If we all behave civilly and considerately as hosts and guests, there would less likely to be any problem.”
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
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