The “Blanket Exercise” is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history rarely mentioned in American history. It presents education on American-Indigenous history as one of the key steps to reconciliation covering over 500 years of history. Participants take on the roles of Native Americans standing on blankets that represent the land. They walk through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. The script is read by a Narrator and three-people representing the voices of Native Americans, European colonizers and Western Historians. Participants are drawn into the experience given cards of various colors which ultimately determine their outcomes. By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates and increases understanding. This is followed by a debriefing time in groups then in a Talking Circle of all participants.
The organizers for this event are friends and members of the First Presbyterian Church of Sandpoint, made possible by a grant from the Bonner County Endowment Fund for Human Rights in the Idaho Community Foundation and in collaboration with the First Lutheran Church.
Do to the sensitive nature of the material presented, this program is not particularly appropriate for children.
The Blanket Exercise is free and will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 6-8 p.m. at the First Lutheran Church of Sandpoint located at 526 S Olive Avenue in Fellowship Hall. Participants, please bring a blanket on which to stand.
The facilitator is the Rev. Irvin Porter, Associate for Native American Congregational Support with PC(USA). Coming from Tacoma, Washington, Porter is descended from three Native American tribes: Pima, T’hono O’odham, and Nez Perce. He serves as the associate for Native American Intercultural Congregational Support in Racial Equity and Women’s Intercultural Ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Then on Thursday, Oct. 10, from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the First Presbyterian Church on the corner of N. Fourth Avenue and Alder Street, Porter will make a presentation on the “Doctrine of Discovery.”
“This presentation will inform participants about how the Presbyterian Church (USA) has been called to confess its complicity in and repudiate of the Doctrine of Discovery,” Porter said. “Information will give specific ways in which agencies, organizations and congregations may recognize, support, and cooperate with Native American individuals, tribes, and nations who reside within their communities, areas and within the PC(USA). With this action the PC(USA) joins other denominations who have taken actions to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery. Information about the “Apology” issued to Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and Hawaiians will enhance this learning with information about the boarding school experiment which removed Native American children from their homes and communities to “civilize” them as an integration tool of American culture. The intergenerational trauma that Native people continue to suffer is the modern result of this effort to “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.”
Questions can be directed to the First Presbyterian Church office at 208-263-2047.