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In Kitchener-Waterloo, we are located on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabe, and Haudenosaunee peoples. In 1784, the Haldimand Treaty was signed, promising the land 6 miles wide on either side of the Grand River from source to mouth to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, or the Six Nations of the Grand River. Today, due to illegal settlement and ongoing occupation on behalf of colonial governments, settlers, and land developers, less than 5 percent of the Haldimand Tract remains as Six Nations lands.
What does it mean to be a treaty person today in Kitchener-Waterloo? What is the untold history in Canadian society about colonization and movements of resistance? How do you push yourself to unsettle the settler within?
Join us for this immersive workshop co-hosted by Amy Smoke and Hannah Enns.
Free for Indigenous folks
Amy Smoke is a Mohawk woman, Turtle clan, from the Six Nations of The Grand River. She is a mother, daughter, student, and active First Nations community member. She is the current Events Coordinator at the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre. She has overcome many of the intergenerational trauma that First Nations people feel when there are residential schools in their past. She speaks of her own journey with substance abuse, homelessness, incarceration, and domestic violence. Returning to her culture has helped Amy connect to her family, their past, and their shared healing journey. She also sings with a local First Nations drum group, The Blue Sky Singers. She has continued her education by completing her GED, a college certificate, college diploma, two university degrees and will be starting her Masters of Social Work – Indigenous Field of Study program at Wilfrid Laurier University in September.
Hannah Enns is a local queer community organizer and white settler who attempts to engage in meaningful and thought-provoking actions to unsettle other settlers and disrupt the status-quo.
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history we’re rarely taught. Developed in response to the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples—which recommended education on Canadian-Indigenous history as one of the key steps to reconciliation, the Blanket Exercise covers over 500 years of history.
Blanket Exercise participants take on the roles of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Standing on blankets that represent the land, they walk through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. They are directed by facilitators representing a narrator and the European colonizers. Participants are drawn into the experience by reading scrolls and carrying cards which ultimately determine their outcomes. By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates and increases empathy. The exercise is followed by a talking circle debriefing session in which participants have the opportunity to discuss the experience as a group.