Dear Students, Faculty and Staff: I had hoped my first communication with the campus community would be to share positive news. Sadly though, I am writing with the most difficult news to share—the passing of one of our students. We…
Interactive Workshop on April 4 to Advance Greater Respect Between Indigenous, Non-Indigenous Peoples
The Office of the Interim Chief Diversity Officer is hosting the Witness to Injustice: KAIROS Blanket Exercise on Thursday, April 4, to foster greater understanding and respect between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. This interactive teaching workshop, co-hosted and facilitated by members of the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON), will be held from 5:15 to 8 p.m. at Skybarn on South Campus.
Registration to attend the event is required by April 1. Visit this webpage to register.
Through the use of meaningful quotes and blankets that represent part of Turtle Island (the Western Hemisphere), the exercise helps participants deepen their understanding about European colonization and the denial of indigenous peoples’ nationhood throughout U.S. history up to present time, according to NOON. After the exercise, participants can share with the group what they learned and experienced during the session. Resources will be shared to help participants continue to learn more.
“This special workshop offers the campus community an opportunity to expand our understanding of native peoples’ lived experience. Having recently participated in this experiential exercise, I know of its poignant value,” says Interim Chief Diversity Officer Keith A. Alford.
“I’ve read and heard from indigenous scholars about the attempts to rid this country of its indigenous peoples,” says Regina A. Jones, assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Native Student Program. “The concept that a people can think that another people are of lesser or no value at all continues to perplex me. The KAIROS Blanket Exercise allowed me to feel what genocide was like. I shed tears for my ancestors and am grateful that I am still here.”
The KAIROS Blanket Exercise was developed 15 years ago by the Aboriginal Rights Coalition in Canada, with indigenous elders and teachers, to develop an interactive way of learning the history most Canadians are never taught. Blankets arranged on the floor represent land, and participants are invited to step into the roles of indigenous peoples. The exercise provides a way to understand why the relationship between peoples is often broken and how action can be taken together.
NOON worked closely with KAIROS Canada and members of the Onondaga Nation to adapt the exercise to teach the experiences of indigenous peoples impacted by the United States, especially on the territory stewarded by people of the Onondaga Nation and other Haudenosaunee peoples.
Light refreshments will be served. To request accommodations to the workshop, contact Stacey White at InterimCDO@syr.edu.