July 1, 2017: “Reframing #Canada150 in the Context of Truth and Reconciliation”

Are we really only 150?

 
This past spring Curriculum Services Canada invited Project of Heart’s Charlene Bearhead to speak about her work in the field of reconciliation. Charlene is the former Education Lead for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and is the current Education Coordinator for the MMIW inquiry.

Here’s Curriculum Service’s CEO Amy Coupal talking about the powerful impact of Charlene’s address:

I had the privilege of hearing Charlene Bearhead speak at an international education conference in Ottawa earlier this year. She blew me away, and frankly the whole audience, too. She challenged and enlightened me and I’ve harkened back to her message many times. As we’ve been thinking and learning about Canada 150, we asked Charlene to share her thoughts. Take a look at her guest blog post

After you click the link and read the post, we’d be eager to here *your* reflections on the meaning of #Canada150 in the comments section below.

Quebec POH teacher innovates with buddy system


 

This amazing CBC report features long-time Project of Heart teacher Lisa Powell from Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary in Gatineau who explains how she pairs local seniors with her own young learners from James Bay and Kitiganzibi.

One of the most gripping moments is realizing that the “senior buddies” are hearing the story of Jordan River Anderson for the the first time; the saga of how one child was forced to live his entire life in a hospital bed because no level of government would agree to pay for his home care is a shameful blot on Canada’s reputation and not one the Federal government is eager to discuss. So schoolchildren just a few short blocks away from INAC headquarters are telling the story instead.

And while we are talking about Jordan, here is a link to the Broadbent Institute’s petition calling on the Federal government to respect the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings that Canada must cease discriminatory practices against Indigenous children.

“Teachers teaching teachers” uOttawa’s Faculty of Education embraces Project of Heart

"Teach the teacher" at Ottawa U

April 24, 2017 was a special day for the Education Faculty at the University of Ottawa as experienced educators joined with BEd. Teacher Candidates to “teach them how to teach” Project of Heart to their future students. It was a “Teachers Teaching Teachers” seminar.

The seminar was organized by the Faculty of Education’s Director of Teacher Education, Dr. Nicholas Ng-A-Fook. Nicholas was aware of the strength of Project of Heart from past presentations, and this past term he created the opportunity to offer it as part of a teacher training symposium.

The Teacher Candidates heard the stories from survivors Mary Lou Iahtail and Chris Herodier Snowboy and were given detailed guidance on how to offer Project of Heart. Continue reading “Teachers teaching teachers” uOttawa’s Faculty of Education embraces Project of Heart

#TBT : CBC and Project of Heart at The Forks

June 2017 will mark seven years since the First National Event of the historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission was held at The Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

 

Project of Heart was invited to  exhibit, and soon the Manitoba Theatre for Young People was hosting 6 ooo decorated Project of Heart tiles.

 

Visitors learned about the Indian Residential Schools, visited and spoke with Survivors, and participated in social justice actions through signing petitions and writing letters.

 

Thank you CBC for covering this event and thank you to the IRS Survivors who, through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission brought Project of Heart to Canadians everywhere.

It’s spring – have you planted *your* Heart Garden?


 
The Caring Society have just released their PSAs for this spring’s Heart Garden campaign. You’ll be impressed with just how articulate the young learners participating are; it’s been said so often before but it’s still so true — nobody *gets* injustice like young people do.

For proof, here’s gorgeous Heart Garden recently created in Spuzzum, BC, through BCTF’s “Remembering Gladys” initiative. More of the amazing images can be seen here.

Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology runs with Project of Heart

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Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology ran with Project of Heart — and their running partner was…. a class of elementary students at Lady Evelyn Alternative School in Ottawa! How did that happen?

SIIT is located on the Asimakaniseekan Askiy Reserve in Saskatoon and Kathleen Worm is their Manager in Workforce Development. Kathleen hosted Project of Heart for over 90 IRS Support Workers gathered in Saskatoon for a conference. What was unique about this Project of Heart workshop is the way in which the participants were supported in carrying out the social justice action.

Help came from a class of Grade 3 and 4 students in Ottawa who are part of their Shannen’s Dream Club. These students made 91 beautiful post-cards, all decorated to depict their vision of what reconciliation for First Nations children on reserves in Canada would look like. The backs of the post-cards are labelled with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s address. The Support Workers did the rest of the work – writing what they want the Prime Minister to do to address the inequities: namely, to implement the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s orders to fund First Nations children on and off reserve equitably to their non-Indigenous counterparts.

The POH workshop participants in Saskatoon were able to skype in to Ms. Fontaine’s class to thank the children for their solidarity with Indigenous children. They made a heart-felt connection with the 8, 9, and 10 year olds that partnered with them in their social justice action!

Here’s what Kathleen had to report about their Project of Heart experience with the kids:

Danielle Fontaine’s Grade 3 and 4 class in Ottawa ON learn about more than the abc’s of education; they learn the abc’s of Canada’s history and the abc’s of compassionate humanism.

Danielle has been incorporating First Nations issues in the classroom for over 6 years now and the result is nothing short of loving. Teaching compassion first, Danielle’s students then learn to empathize with the current peril of First Nations children across Canada.

Shannen’s Dream, a powerful show of advocacy by a young First Nation girl wanting a school for her community was one of the stories that the students learned of. In a show of support and activism, the 8, 9 and 10 year olds designed post cards with messages and images reflecting their mind and heart on the issue of First Nation children’s educational rights. These postcards are all addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Saskatchewan Resolution Health Support Workforce, the emotional and cultural supports offered to survivors going through their independent claims and hearings, gather twice a year for professional development. This past gathering in January had approximately 90 of the post cards designed by Ms Fontaine’s class. Using these postcards, messages were sent to the Prime Minister on many issues surrounding First Nations people.

To further strengthen the impact and the shared understanding, the RHSW Gathering skyped into the Grade 3 & 4 classroom in Ottawa. The excitement and joy was palpable. The opportunity to let those children see the impact of their own efforts and for the aging group of survivors to see hope for the future as young ones are taught the truth and are willing to fight for what’s right.

Thank you Kathleen and all the IRS Survivors who met their supporters for doing Project of Heart and sharing themselves with their young fans in Ottawa. The Government will continue to be challenged as long as Canada has youth who are passionate about fair play. Their message is clear.

A Student’s Dream: Westboro Academy Welcomes Project of Heart

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The students and staff at Ottawa’s Westboro Academy were honoured by the visit of a very special guest this past month, and they have a grade 5 student at the school by the name of Leo to thank for the event.

Leo realized the value in bringing Project of Heart to his school after he had seen IRS survivor Mary Lou Iahtail speak last year. He wanted his classmates to have the chance to hear her story too, and for his school to take part in reconciliation event. Continue reading A Student’s Dream: Westboro Academy Welcomes Project of Heart

Bishops Education students create the first permanent acknowledgment of Abenaki territory

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Professor Lisa Taylor from Bishops University laid down a major challenge for Project of Heart participants from her Education program, and it arose from a observation made by Charlene Bearhead, Education Lead with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR):

“Charlene said she was astounded to visit Bishop’s, to spend a whole day here, without seeing anything to recognize Abenaki territory”, Taylor told POH. Continue reading Bishops Education students create the first permanent acknowledgment of Abenaki territory

Project of Heart helps set the record straight in Washington D.C.

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Last week the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States chose Project of Heart, along with two other stellar Indian Residential School projects, to feature in an exhibit showcasing educational initiatives that challenge historically inaccurate “official” curricula that misrepresent the experiences of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas. The launch the exhibit, Charlene Bearhead (10th row down, ride side) Education Lead at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and National Co-Director of Project of Heart, spoke on what Canadian students are doing to set the historical record straight.

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The exhibit is to be displayed for 3 weeks — enough time to allow delegates a truthful glimpse into Canada’s shameful genocidal history and what young people are doing to turn it around.

When consensus-building is beautiful: Barrie Learning Commons has a special gift


 

They made a what? Teacher Caroline Leppanen from Hewitt’s Creek Public School in Barrie, Ontario delighted us with her learners’ amazing creativity in this inspiring report:

My grade 6 class spent a great deal of time inquiring about Truth and Reconciliation, First Nations circle teachings, Grandfather teachings, and residential schools. We have completed our Project of Heart! And are excited to share it with you!

We will hold a dedication ceremony in September.We have shared our process via Twitter @leppanens_world

Our plan? The table will be placed in our Learning Commons. It will be a place for groups to come when they need to arrive at a consensus. It will be a place for people to come when they are in need of a restorative session. Its tiles all tell a story of my students’ learning. They will share these stories at the dedication ceremony.

Editor’s note: We’ve add the Hewitt’s Creek photos to our albums page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/projectofheart/albums — it’s a great place to see how educators across Canada have incorporated POH tiles and artifacts in their classroom.

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