Bishop’s University opens its doors to Project of Heart

Education students at Bishop’s University’s recently opened their hearts and minds to learning about the Indian Residential Schools. What you are about to see is Professor Lisa Taylor’s class fully engaging in visual design, art education, and the history of the Indian Residential Schools era. Ena Greyeyes, Plains Cree artist and Elder (an IRS survivor from the St. Michael’s Indian Residential School in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan) spoke to them about the arduous but inspiring process of healing the intergenerational trauma that is part and parcel of the IRS legacy. Students in the course had already studied the impact of ongoing settler-colonial policies in Canada and personal family histories of implication.

Charlene Bearhead, Education Lead at the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, launched the project in October by introducing Project of Heart to all levels of teacher-education candidates in the Bishop’s programme, and from the beginning, they were hooked.

Dr. Lisa Taylor’s students have put together an incredible slide-show that tells the story behind each decorated tile. You may even click on parts to hear students speaking. Several Aboriginal students joined the class and painted tiles in response to the Project. Click the link to see, hear, and feel!

BCTF’s Project of Heart ebook launch: coverage in Vancouver Sun



As the Truth and Reconciliation Commision has released its findings this past June — and published 94 calls to action — the timing of the BCTF’s initiative couldn’t have been better. The book is available free online.

The existence of this amazing resource is down to the commitment and inspiration of editor Gail Stromquist, the Assistant Director for Aboriginal Education and project lead for BCTF. Click here for the Sun’s story.

Many thanks going out to the BCTF teachers for their efforts in moving along the truth and reconciliation movement!

Parkdale United Church youth participate in POH

ParkdaleAs the attached bulletin excerpt describes, youth at the Ottawa’s Parkdale United Church recently had the good fortune to learn about Indian Residential Schools from an IRS Survivor, Mary-Lou Iatail, a Cree elder from Attawapiskat.

Our thanks going out to Elder Mary-Lou and and the Parkdale United Church senior youth group for their active engagement in Project of Heart and taking the reconciliation challenge to heart. Continue reading

Chestermere Lake remembers: Alberta middle school students have hope for a better future


Our thanks to teacher Dana Witte who sent us this heart-warming report about Project of Heart and her Grade 9 students at Chestermere Lake Middle School:

Two classes of grade 9 students, 9W and 9N, participated in the Project of Heart in January, 2015. We were learning about collective rights in Canada and spent time exploring the impact of residential schools on the culture and identity of our First Nations people. Students were surprised at the fact that the Canadian government at the time had made such questionable choices. They expressed regret and empathy, and noted how our indigenous people had suffered as a result. The art that was produced on wooden tiles is reflective of their respect for our First Nations and is a symbol of their hope for a better future.

Chestermere Lake is the latest Alberta school to partner with Project of Heart; click here to see a listing of other schools and workplaces in the province that have partnered with POH.

Langdon School creates heartfelt Gesture of Reconciliation

This just in from Langdon, Alberta – classroom 9T:

My name is Susanne Moskal and I am a grade 9 teacher from Langdon School in Alberta. My students have spent the last few weeks working through Project of Heart. What an incredible project! This had a huge impact on myself and all of my students. We prepared our Gesture of Reconciliation and presented it an elder (residential school survivor) that visited our class. It was such a touching and powerful moment. My students put together the attached powerpoint to explain our project and showcase pictures of what we created.

Meegwetch Susanne – your classroom’s response is an inspiration to us all!

Rideau Hall’s “Heart Garden” could be first of many!

memoriesAs a tribute to all students of the Indian Residential Schools and their families, 500 children from the Ottawa-Gatineau area will join residential school survivors in creating a Heart Garden at Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s residence, by planting 1000 hearts with messages of reconciliation from across Canada. This is a joint initiative by the TRC, Project of Heart, KAIROS and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. Individuals, schools, community groups and communities are invited to join us in this initiative… Create a Heart Garden in your own community!.

Shannen’s legacy lives on


The memory of Shannen Koustachin was kept alive at a recent event at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa.

On the evening, June Girvan, Community Service Award winner for 2014, was feted by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation for her extraodinary work in children’s rights. June dedicated the award to the memory of Shannen Koustachen and her “Dream Team” of activists for carrying on Shannen’s work–equal education for First Nations children.Shannen has inspired youth across Canada to continue her work of bringing justice to First Nations children across Canada who continue to suffer systemic discrimination at the hands of the Federal government. Continue reading

Have a Heart for First Nations Children: Ottawa Project of Heart students take to the Hill


On February 10 students from Elizabeth Wyn Wood school in Ottawa made the decision to join with and support hundreds of other students from the National Capital area on Parliament Hill as they voiced their concerns to Prime Minister Stephen Harper–loud and clear! Continue reading