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.

“Reconciliation is when a feud is finally over”

In this video for the Caring Society, Summer Bisson — one of the students from the first-ever school to do Project of Heart (Elizabeth Wyn Wood Alternate Site, in Ottawa) –talks about what reconciliation means to her and the day her class went to court to see Cindy Blackstock make the case for Indigenous children across Canada who were – and still are — being denied access to services and quality of life other Canadians take for granted”.

Project of Heart a valuable resource for Day of Remembrance and Action on Mass Atrocities Youth Conference


Two high school history teachers from the Ottawa Carleton District School Board recently brought Project of Heart to 60 students from across the National Capital area who had gathered to learn about genocide.

Kim Bruton and Amanda Anderson were presenting at the 3rd annual National Day of Remembrance and Action on Mass Atrocities Youth Conference at Carleton University in Ottawa. Project of Heart was invited to be part of the day’s program in order to recognize the Indian Residential School era and the vast number of Indigenous children affected by Canada’s “hidden genocide” – a cultural genocide which was meant to “kill the Indian within the child”, and that all too often killed the child as well. Continue reading Project of Heart a valuable resource for Day of Remembrance and Action on Mass Atrocities Youth Conference

Langdon School gets the POH habit


 

Langdon School in Southern Alberta has now partnered two years in a row with Project of Heart. This year two classrooms were invited to create gestures of reconciliation, and Elder Randy Bottle — an IRS survivor — came to Langdon to share his own memories of the Residential School experience.

Teacher Susanne Moskal shares this report: Continue reading Langdon School gets the POH habit

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