Canada Day celebrations organized by the Metropolis of Yellowknife on Monday will, for the primary time, function a staging of the blanket train at Metropolis Corridor.
Described as a “distinctive, interactive, and participatory historical past lesson,” the train supplies an perception into the expertise of Indigenous peoples as members stroll on blankets representing the land of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis teams.
Facilitator-led workouts simulate life pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization, and resistance, over the course of about an hour – adopted by a speaking circle.
Blankets are folded or taken away over time to cut back the obtainable territory, whereas some members are eliminated because the train continues – simulating these misplaced to smallpox and different ailments, residential faculties, and different types of trauma.
“It transitions all through the years of what is going on on in North America and the way us, the folks, and colonialism have affected that,” mentioned Dave Zethof, the Metropolis’s particular occasions coordinator.
Although the train has not beforehand featured amongst Yellowknife’s Canada Day actions, it has been staged within the metropolis earlier than.
In 2017, a blanket train participant at a Yellowknife church informed the CBC: “I feel it is a actually necessary factor for all of us to attempt to interact in issues we do not essentially find out about, and be taught extra about them – as a result of that helps to interrupt down variations and helps you come extra carefully linked to folks and locations that you’re not a part of.”
A participant at an identical train in Fort Smith mentioned: “I knew the historical past of Indigenous folks however while you really hear what folks mentioned they needed to do, like wipe out First Nations by sharing contaminated blankets, it’s terrible.”
KAIROS, the group that created the blanket train, has previously quoted politician Georges Erasmus – born in Behchokǫ̀ – to clarify why it believes the train is necessary.
“The place widespread reminiscence is missing,” Erasmus as soon as mentioned, “the place folks don’t share in the identical previous, there could be no actual group. The place group is to be fashioned, widespread reminiscence should be created.”
The blanket train on Canada Day will start at Metropolis Corridor at 9am. The Metropolis says the occasion is free however registration, by way of the Metropolis’s web site, is required.
Additionally on Monday, a free occasion at Somba Okay’e Park from 12pm until 6pm will function meals, household actions, and reside music from the likes of Digawolf, Wesley Hardisty, and Welders Daughter.
The annual Canada Day parade, organized by the Rotary Membership of Yellowknife, begins on the Ruth Inch Memorial Pool at 11am and proceeds to Sir John Franklin Excessive Faculty.