Cordova Spit, centre, lies north of Island View Beach Regional Park and is owned by the District of Central Saanich. The District is looking into the steps necessary to give it to the neighbouring Tsawout First Nation, who know it at TIXEN. (Google Maps)

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

As part of ongoing reconciliation efforts between two communities on the Saanich Peninsula, the Tsawout First Nation and District of Central Saanich will take part in a blanket exercise Monday morning.

A blanket exercise has its roots with the KAIROS program in the 1990s. Participants stand on blankets representing Canada before the arrival of Europeans. As a narrator speaks of the relationship between two worlds, participants representing both Indigenous people and newcomers, join up and interact. By the end, only a few people stand on the blankets, which have been folded up to represent a fraction of their original area.

RELATED: A step towards truth and reconciliation in Central Saanich.

The event is an effort to highlight how Indigenous land was taken during colonization, and as a way of strengthening mutual trust and respect between the two communities’ governing bodies.

The event takes place Mon., April 23 at TIXEN (pronounced Tee quawn) — or Cordova Spit — on the Tsawout First Nation. The sand spit is the subject of efforts by the District of Central Saanich to return it to the Tsawout. According to a media release, TIXEN has been used by the WASANEC (Saanich) people for thousands of years to gather seafood, medicinal plants and as a spiritual area – even a burial site. It became Crown land with European settlement of the region and was transferred to the District in the 1950s.

RELATED: Central Saanich to acknowledge territory at meetings.

The blanket event takes place between 9 and 11 a.m. and the Peninsula News Review plants to be there to witness and cover the event, which will draw around 40 participants.

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