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Academic News

Truth and Reconciliation: Call for Indigenous staff to be Blanket Exercise Lead Facilitators

October 29, 2019

Red River College is pleased to announce a Truth and Reconciliation initiative to provide employees with deeper training and education on Indigenous decolonization and reconciliation through the Kairos Blanket Exercise.

This past spring, 40 Indigenous and non-Indigenous RRC staff and faculty were trained as facilitators to assist the College in reaching their goal of having 500 RRC staff experience the Kairos Blanket Exercise. For the next phase, we are looking for Indigenous Staff and Faculty to be trained as lead facilitators for this exercise.

The Blanket Exercise requires multiple facilitators, ideally a minimum of 4 for each delivery: 1 Indigenous lead facilitator, an additional 2 – 3 helpers, and an Elder/Knowledge Keeper. Therefore, we require 20 Indigenous lead facilitators. Faculty and staff will be selected across a range of departments to become facilitators. This number is critical to maximize the flexibility and available resources to deliver the exercise at the intended scale, while also building our own internal capacity and skills.

RRC is joining a wide-reaching movement of people and post-secondary institutes across Canada who are stepping up to commit to the truth and healing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Our commitment comes directly from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action as well as the “Blueprint” commitment signed by RRC and other Manitoba post-secondary institutions in 2016. It is also part of the commitments in our 2016-2021 Strategic Plan and Academic and Research Plan.

The goal of this commitment is to strengthen our skills in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights and anti-racism to benefit our students, our fellow staff, and our communities. It also aims to educate staff and students on Canada’s true history and accurately reflect the diversity and distinctness of Indigenous people and the impacts of Canada’s historical knowledge that can sometimes perpetuate and fuel ignorance, discrimination and racism.

The School for Indigenous Education (SIE) and the Centre for Learning and Program Excellence are collaborating to lead this initiative with Carla Kematch, the College’s first-ever Manager, Truth & Reconciliation and Community Engagement.

To ensure RRC staff and faculty understand the current, deep-rooted systemic issues of Canada’s Indigenous issues, the exercise has been customized to incorporate local history and experiences as well as a clan bartering simulation experience that builds on local Anishinaabe history, governance and economic bartering systems.

The Blanket Exercise is a role-playing exercise and can be emotional and impactful for some participants. For this reason, participants will be supported in trauma-informed care principles with Indigenous Cultural supports. For more information on the workshop and how we plan to deliver it to employees (which may be different from your previous experience), see the attached FAQ document to this email.

What is Being Requested of You?

It is important lead facilitators represent a wide range of academic and non-academic areas at the College, and that they have an interest in delivering training that supports Truth and Reconciliation.

Please consider putting forth your name, as a candidate to become a lead Indigenous facilitator. The training will take 2 days to complete on November 12th and 13th.

As a facilitator, you will be required to lead 2 -3 exercises per year with approximately 40 RRC staff and faculty participating per session. Each 1 day session will have co-facilitators to assist you, along with an Elder or Knowledge Keeper.

Costs for the facilitator training will be funded centrally; no funding will be required from your department area.

Click here for The Blanket Exercise FAQ – RRC Employees.

Carla Kematch will be the contact person if you are interested in this opportunity to become a Lead Indigenous Facilitator. Please do not hesitate to contact her with questions you may have.

Carla Kematch | Manager, Truth & Reconciliation and Community Engagement
204-632-2148 |