Here’s teacher Lynette Brossart from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with an update on her school’s partnership with Project of Heart:
St. Luke School recently worked with the Project of Heart initiative to decorate 314 tiles, to commemorate the children who lost their lives while in I.R.S. schools. Staff and students found the entire process with Project of Heart so enriching, and it thoroughly helped to become more empathetic people. The children we honored were in:
• Emmanuel College IRS, Saskatchewan,
• Lebret IRS, Saskatchewan,
• Regina IRS, Saskatchewan,
• Sturgeon Landing IRS, Saskatchewan,
• Muscowequan IRS, Saskatchewan
• Crowstand IRS, Saskatchewan.
Students decorated the tiles showing empathy and love towards all First Nations survivors of the I.R.S. Truths were acknowledged and history learned. Staff and students were anxious to assist in the healing process of the people experiencing pain today, due to the I.R.S. tragedies in the past. Here are some quotes:
“It opened our eyes to the school culture in regards to First Nations history!”
“I can’t believe students were treated that way!”
“I really think we should start over again with this!” (This student was speaking in regards to relationships between all Canadians)
“We’re all people in the making; when we make a mistake, we should recognize it and start over again and try even harder!”
“Let’s make a difference!”
“It’s been ignored by the present generation and now it’s important for all generations to recognize it and work together, to make a different and better!”
“We are all treaty people. Let’s make a difference!”
“Our tiles will be in the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba! Wow! Can we go on a Field Trip to see them?”
After the tiles were decorated, students of St. Luke school community were absolutely moved to silence as special guest, Elder Charlie Sutherland taught the process of the Smudge ceremony to them. One could hear a pin drop in the gymnasium as he conducted a traditional spiritual smudging with sweet grass, sage and tobacco, upon our school body and tiles. Students were also honored to have Elder Charlie share personal stories of his experiences in a residential school.
The founder, Sylvia Smith, formerly of Allan, Sask, is passionate about Project of Heart. Through this project she taught St. Luke School to open eyes and ears, to listen to the truths of the past, to help build strength moving forward, whether it be through art, social justice, history, or civic responsibility.
As an act of social justice, St. Luke students felt a need to put their words into actions and acknowledge the truths of our past. They wanted to take responsibility in assisting in the healing of the people who are experiencing pain today due to the I.R.S. tragedies in the past and several grades engaged in supporting First Nations people in the process of healing.
Here are some of the acts :
Gr.1s hosted a special guest First Nations speaker, Lavonne Dubois.
Gr. 1/2 and Gr.3 watched the “Shannen’s Dream” video and sign the petition on the link:
Gr. 4 wrote a joint Acrostic Class Poem for the first two words, “Project of…”, while another Gr. 4 class wrote a joint Acrostic Class Poem for the last word, “….Heart”.
Two Gr.5 classes will gather with 320 students across the division on June 18, 2012, to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and its consequences for First Nations and Metis.
Two Gr. 6 classes watched “Shannen’s Dream” video and signed the petition.
Two Gr.7 classes together with two Gr. 8 classes will attend the Truth and Reconciliation Conference June 21, 2012 in Saskatoon. They also were honored to host special guest Elder Charlie Sutherland at St. Luke to share personal stories of Indian Residential Schools.
Wow, fantastic efforts! Congratulations St. Luke School!