Elizabeth Wyn Wood Alternative High School students in Ottawa participated in Project of Heart for the second time this year, with enthusiasm, respect, and action.
Students from grade 9 to 12 decorated tiles in remembrance of the students who lost their lives at Ermineskin Indian Residential School in Alberta. One of the students, Tracey Valladares, decorated 100 tiles all on her own!
Students invited 3 IRS survivors and the sister of a survivor, come to the school to share their knowledge…to tell them how the IRS affected them.
The room was packed and one could hear a pin drop, as Irene, Christopher, Helen, and Alice each took turns telling their stories. The most common response heard from the students when the circle was over was, “Why didn’t I know any of this before?” One student offered this reflection: “I learned a bit about Indian Residential Schools at my other school, but it’s just not the same when you hear someone actually talk about it…someone actually experiencing it. I’m still in shock.” And other students expressed their sincere gratitude at having been allowed to participate in the smudging ceremony held afterward.
The staff at Elizabeth Wyn Wood was delighted at the number of students who attended the “Our Dreams Matter Too” walk and rally on Parliament Hill on June 11th, the day of the official apology. For the social justice portion of the Project, students wrote letters to Mr. Harper in support of the Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and brought them to Parliament Hill to be delivered by Ottawa Centre NDP Member of Parliament, Paul Dewar.
Congratulations to Elizabeth Wyn Wood students for putting learning into action for justice!