The Columbia River Métis Nation Society hosted a blanket exercise today, as Canada observed the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
Approximately 50 people attended the exercise, that provided an interactive experience to help illustrate what Indigenous people on Turtle Island, colonially known as North America, have experienced.
Blankets were laid out, and slowly folded over the course of the exercise to symbolize the loss of land since settler-Europeans arrived to Turtle Island.
People were asked to step off of their blankets one by one, for reasons that varied from death, to loss of culture, assimilation, and removal to residential schools.
The exercise was led by Betty Hoogendoorn.
““I’ve felt pain and generational grief. When I was seven, they were going to take my siblings and I to the schools, but my dad said no, over my dead body,” said Hoogendoorn, who shared her story after the exercise.
“He could have gone to jail for that. But after that I was scared; my whole life I was scared I would be taken.”
Following the exercise, drumming took place at 3:15, or 2:15 Pacific time, as requested by the Kamloops Indian Band, in honour of the 215 children found at the Kamloops school earlier this year.