Project of Heart co-presenters Stacy Villeneauve and Laurie Joe joined POH coordinator Sylvia Smith as they introduced POH to University of Ottawa students at the “Developing a Global Perspective for Educators Fall Institute” on October 1st.
Participants in the worship progressed through the Indian Residential School learning module, recognized the impact of the IRS on generations of Aboriginal people, and learned how teachers, along with their students, can be allies of Aboriginal people today in their resistance struggles for sovereignty. Participants engaged in creating miniature works of art by decorating small wooden tiles, each tile symbolic of the death of one child due to the Indian Residential School experience. As students completed their first gesture of reconciliation to the IRS survivors, they also experienced “doing” social justice actions (petition-signing) in the workshop as their second gesture of reconciliation.
During the workshop, students were made aware of the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Aboriginal Policy Framework and were shown how “including the Aboriginal perspective” can be accomplished through including Project of Heart from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in an inclusive, cross-curricular/interdisciplinary way.
Co-presenter Stacey Villeneauve provided direct evidence of profound “heart/spirit” student learning from her teaching experiences of Project of Heart and the impact it made on addressing the students’ learned racism. Laurie Joe, Project of Heart volunteer (and mother of a POH student who was invited to Rideau Hall for the re-launch of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2009) was there to provide the parental perspective of the importance of teaching a truthful account of our shared history with Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Thank you to the University of Ottawa for inviting Project of Heart to this important event!