Brad Boucher, Native Studies teacher at St. Pius X HS in Ottawa made history when he requested that a Project of Heart kit be sent to his school this year – it was the beginning of a learning experience that would see his school became the first-ever to complete the Project three years running!
St. Pius Students created beautiful works of art while learning about the lasting impacts of the Indian Residential Schools (IRS) on generations of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people in Canada who attended the Federal Hostel at Eskimo Point/Arviat in Nunavut and
Fort McPherson (Flemming Hall) in the North West Territories.
As part of the learning, survivor Christopher Snowboy from Chisasabi spoke to the students and answered questions about his experiences at St. Phillip IRS in James Bay. Christopher also brought his guitar to the school and wowed the students with his singer/songwriter talents as he sang “Child of Innocence”, his song about experiences at the IRS.
For the social justice component of the module, Brad brought his students to the Federal Court in the Supreme Court of Canada, to hear the Appeal by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations into the dismissal of the Human Rights Tribunal. Both court rooms were full of supporters of First Nations children, as the campaign, “Have a Heart for First Nations Children”, went into full-swing.
Our thanks go out to Brad Boucher and the Native Studies students at St. Pius X for supporting First Nations children in their struggle for access to services in education and child welfare that all other Canadian children take for granted. Hopefully St. Pius students — along with hundreds of other students that supported Cindy Blackstock and Sean Atleo at the Federal Court and the rally on Parliament Hill on February 14th — will soon know if the Appeal was successful!