South Niagara chapter participates in Blanket Exercise on Parliament Hill

Brent Patterson
3 years ago

The Council of Canadians South Niagara chapter participated in a Blanket Exercise on Parliament Hill this past Friday (June 2).

South Niagara chapter activist Fiona McMurran took part in the event.

The KAIROS promotion for this on Facebook highlighted, "Join us for the largest Blanket Exercise ever! Kitchi means 'really big' in Anishinaabemowin. The Blanket Exercise is an experiential way to build understanding of our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. The event will mark the 2nd Anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action and the 20th anniversary of the KAIROS Blanket Exercise. It will also provide a perspective on Canada 150 that is different from that of many of the events taking place across the country."

CBC further explains, "Known as the 'blanket exercise', participants stand on blankets that represent the lands inhabited by indigenous people that eventually became Canada. The blanketed area becomes smaller as the facilitators lead participants through a historical timeline. Facilitators pull back and remove the blankets as they guide participants through a historical timeline that includes the treaty-making process, residential schools and other events that impacted indigenous people in Canada."

The Council of Canadians supports Indigenous rights and a nation-to-nation relationship to address Canada's colonial legacy.

In September 2007, we called on Canada to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in October 2012 we first supported the call for an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women, in November 2013 we supported the precedent-setting Tsilhqot'in Title challenge at the Supreme Court of Canada, in December 2013 Barlow signed the Save the Fraser Declaration and stated that we recognize the right of First Nations to ban tar sands pipelines from their territories, and in June 2015 we called on the federal government to implement all 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Presently, we are demanding that the Trudeau government respect free, prior and informed consent (and recognize that numerous First Nations have rejected the Energy East and Trans Mountain pipelines on their territories), and highlighted that the Alton Gas Storage Project, the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal (which is scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2019), and the Site C dam (which could be operational by 2024), are all violations of Indigenous rights.

We are also calling on the federal minister responsible for Parks Canada to remove the name 'Amherst' from the Port-la-Joye–Fort Amherst historic site near Charlottetown given Amherst was an 18th century British military general who wanted to kill aboriginal people with smallpox infected blankets.

For an APTN report on the Blanket Exercise on Parliament Hill, please click here.

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