As part of ongoing reconciliation efforts between two communities on the Saanich Peninsula, the Tsawout First Nation and District of Central Saanich will take part in a blanket exercise Monday morning.
A blanket exercise has its roots with the KAIROS program in the 1990s. Participants stand on blankets representing Canada before the arrival of Europeans. As a narrator speaks of the relationship between two worlds, participants representing both Indigenous people and newcomers, join up and interact. By the end, only a few people stand on the blankets, which have been folded up to represent a fraction of their original area.
The event is an effort to highlight how Indigenous land was taken during colonization, and as a way of strengthening mutual trust and respect between the two communities’ governing bodies.
The event takes place Mon., April 23 at TIXEN (pronounced Tee quawn) — or Cordova Spit — on the Tsawout First Nation. The sand spit is the subject of efforts by the District of Central Saanich to return it to the Tsawout. According to a media release, TIXEN has been used by the WASANEC (Saanich) people for thousands of years to gather seafood, medicinal plants and as a spiritual area – even a burial site. It became Crown land with European settlement of the region and was transferred to the District in the 1950s.
The blanket event takes place between 9 and 11 a.m. and the Peninsula News Review plants to be there to witness and cover the event, which will draw around 40 participants.