Students Lead Blanket Ceremony at Centennial

Students Lead Blanket Ceremony at Centennial 

By Arlene Davidson 

Students from Lac du Bonnet Senior School (LdBSS) led a blanket ceremony at Centennial School January 22, engaging several grade 5 and 6 students and the Social Justice Committee in the reenactment of Canadian history. 

Facilitating the ceremony were students Dakota Bruneau, Beau Jenvenne, Tanya Fisher, Olivia Gow, and Macy Kulbaba – all members of Becky Reynolds’ Senior Years Indigenous Studies class. 

“The blanket exercise is a teaching tool used to build understanding about our shared history as indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in Canada,” Centennial School teacher Andrea Maxwell said. “Students from LdBSS acted as narrators and Europeans. Our students were actively involved by stepping onto blankets that represent the land, and into the roles of First Nations, Inuit, and later Métis peoples.” 

Maxwell said her students found the reenactment evoked emotions and impacted their thinking about both the past and the future. Although some of her students had participated in past blanket ceremonies, the impact of the current session remained as strong as it was during their first experience. 

“This was my first time doing it,” student Mia Watkinson said. “It was really unfair how the indigenous people were treated, like when they intentionally gave them smallpox-infested blankets to kill them. They took people from their cultures.” 

I thought it was a really interesting way of teaching us about Canada’s history,” fellow student Bowen Hampson added. “I liked their way of teaching it. There sure was a lot of racism back then. The Europeans didn’t understand their culture so it’s good that we’re learning about it now.” 

“This is my second time going through the blanket exercise,” student Alexis Christie noted. Both times, my character was killed off. I felt sad when it happened. I’m Métis so to find out what happened to my people brought up lots of emotions.” 

Maxwell said Centennial School’s goal is to expose students to other perspectives. “I think there is great value in having our students experience a blanket exercise to inform their thinking and future actions,” said Maxwell. “We extend a huge thank you to the LdBSS students. I love that our previous students were the ones that facilitated the exercise and passed along their knowledge – there’s great power in kids teaching kids.” 

Student Saffiya Rosnow summed up her impression of the session by stating, “I’m glad to be taught this so that we know what happened to indigenous people in the past. It’s not a secret anymore.”