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Our Home On Native land
On Sunday April 29, the Penticton Arts Council presented “Our Home on Native Land - The Kairos Blanket Exercise” at the Shatford Centre - Okanagan School of the Arts. This powerful interactive learning exercise was a rare opportunity to experience the historical and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadian people as represented by the Canadian government, both federally and provincially from Colonization to the present.

This extremely moving experience was attended by 35 people, which included Chief Chad Eneas from the Penticton Indian Band, who addressed the opening circle and welcomed participants to the process, and also the Mayor of Penticton. The group was notably diverse, with different races and & age groups in attendance. The exercise was facilitated by Indigenous Elder Joanne Lafferty from the Indian Residential School Survivors Society as well as Kairos facilitators Debbie Hubbard and Dean Reidt.

Even for those participants who are well informed and well read, this exercise was very eye-opening. Participants were given the opportunity to experience, in a very limited way, the devastation of colonization - from land theft, smallpox ridden blankets, to the effects of the residential school system on Indigenous communities. It was clear to the participants that the cumulative intent of this process was to commit genocide on the First Peoples of Canada. It also brought home, in a very direct way, that the toxic effects of this behavior - in the form of racism - has embedded itself in every institution in our country.

Overall, the participants were very grateful to have had the opportunity for this very informative and educational experience.

The Penticton Arts Council is committed to providing creative opportunities to engage our community in the difficult but very important ongoing work of Truth and Reconciliation.
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