All posts by Evan

Teacher reflections from Blackfoot country

 

It is said that good things come in threes but sometimes twos are even better. This week a pair of powerful teacher reports reached us  through the EdCan network, both from Stavely Elementary School in Southern Alberta, on the traditional lands of the Blackfoot Confederacy.

The first is from teacher Julaine Guitton,  and her intro sets the stage for what was about to happen in her classroom:

On the morning of September 30, 2016 I wore an orange shirt to school. I had received an e-mail about Orange Shirt Day, including a short video, and I decided to wear orange and talk to my students about residential schools and reconciliation during our Social Studies time. I showed them the video, and the looks on their faces told me that they had questions. They asked me things like, “Is this for real?” and “Did this really happen in Canada?” ..

Click on her reflection below to see what happened next!

Our Journey Into Reconciliation

 

The second report is by Ira Provost, an Indigenous  educator who is the Program Coordinator or Administrator of First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) Education Programs for the Southern Alberta school district.

If you are an educator looking to tell your administration or school board about the benefits of Project of Heart, Ira’s reflections make a powerful case.  First he sets out the problem:

Meaningful engagement with the Indigenous community means taking the time to develop a relationship and nurturing that relationship for mutually beneficial success.

According to many anecdotal comments from the local Indigenous parents I’ve heard from over the years in schools, and from being a parent myself, school personnel do not take enough time to get to know the Indigenous community.

And after Ira had witnessed the POH exercise:

“I was greatly impressed and, like the other invited FNMI guests, was blown away by what was presented and what we had heard!

Below is Ira Provost’s compelling report in his own words.

Stavely Elementary School’s Project of Heart

POH honoured to be part of Connaught Public School’s Evening for Reconciliation

On February 13th, Ottawa teachers Kim Bruton and Amanda Anderson presented Project of Heart at Connaught Public School’s Evening Towards Reconciliation. The event was put on by the school and parent council to continue a dialogue regarding Indigenous culture and history. The first part of the programme included a dinner, and keynote addresses by Peter Garrow and the Caring Society’s Daxton Reid. Continue reading POH honoured to be part of Connaught Public School’s Evening for Reconciliation

U Ottawa teacher candidates support Justice for Indigenous Women, make links to POH social justice actions

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In February of this year, professors Warren McBride and Sylvia Smith presented Project of Heart and Justice for Indigenous Women to the University of Ottawa’s teacher-education candidates in their first year FNMI course of study (First Nations, Inuit, and Metis Education: Historical Experiences and Contemporary Perspectives). Continue reading U Ottawa teacher candidates support Justice for Indigenous Women, make links to POH social justice actions

Winnipeg: Hugh John MacDonald School partners with POH to learn Canada’s real history

A big POH shout-out goes to Grade 7 and 8 students of teacher Guillermo Vodniza at Hugh John MacDonald School in Winnipeg, who did an outstanding job of educating themselves — and their community — about the experiences of young children who attended Indian Residential Schools in Manitoba. Continue reading Winnipeg: Hugh John MacDonald School partners with POH to learn Canada’s real history

“This is where the true magic happens.” 

J4IW9

Photoset: All ages come together for J4IW at University of Regina’s Luther College

(Editor’s note: this article is cross-posted from J4Iw.ca)

University of Regina graduate student Jenna Tickell has a history with working for justice;

in fact, she’s the person the Regina Industrial Indian School (RIIS) Commemoration Association approached when they were garnering support to pressure Regina City Council to grant Municipal Heritage Rights for the RIIS. Once Project of Heart created the change.org petition with the assistance of David Owens, class member, there was no turning back.

 

Recently, with the support of her Masters Supervisor Dr. Brenda Anderson, Tickell organized a gathering of Regina community members ages 7 to 70 who volunteered to participate in a workshop held at Luther College at The University of Regina called “Justice for Indigenous Women.” 

Continue reading “This is where the true magic happens.” 

Throwback Thursday: The German edition

Miriam Bobzien Flensburg POH

 

It was four years ago that Bernstorff-Gymnasium Satrup (bernstorffgym.de) (Bernstorff High School) in Flensburg, north Germany, did a complete unit on Canada in their Grade 12 English class.

The teacher, Miriam Bobzien, is an experienced and fluent English speaker who was tasked with preparing this class to write their “Abitur”, an examination students must take if they wish to go to University. Continue reading Throwback Thursday: The German edition

“Shattering the Silence”: University of Regina and POH Saskatchewan’s superb new resource

 

It’s hard to think of a more appropriate title for a publication. With the work of reconciliation picking up pace across the country, this hard-hitting, truth-telling teacher resource makes it clear that Saskatchewan’s tragic IRS experience will not be left out of the narrative.

Published by University of Regina’s Faculty of Education, Saskatchewan’s Project of Heart has been working up to this moment for almost two years.

Publications Manager Shuana Niessen had this to say:

“Researching and writing this ebook has been the most meaningful work in my career.

Pulling together school-specific information from primary source documents, news clippings, research, and the NCTR reports along with listening to survivor/thriver stories have all contributed to a greater understanding of the complex issues around the history of Indian residential schools in Saskatchewan. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to learn and I hope that others will find Shattering the Silence: The Hidden History of Indian Residential Schools in Saskatchewan an informative and accessible ebook from which to learn and teach about Indian residential schools in Saskatchewan.”

On behalf of Project of Heart (National) we want to throw out a huge meegwetch to Shuana and the University of  Regina’s Faculty of Education for the sustained commitment that was undertaken to create this excellent resource.

May we NEVER attempt to whitewash our collective history again.

POH adds its voice to NGO’s condemnation of Canada’s violation of Global Anti-Racism Treaty

photo credit: MacLeans.ca

On August 10th, 2017, Project of Heart and our sister organization Justice for Indigenous Women joined with a number of other NGOs across Canada (Amnesty International, the Broadbent Institute, the Canadian Friends Service Committee, Children First Canada, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, Justice for Indigenous Women, KAIROS, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam-Quebec, the Rideau Institute and the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada) to condemn Canada for its lack of action in addressing extreme inequities faced by Indigenous children.

Craig Benjamin from Amnesty International (Canada) addressed the the independent body that oversees compliance with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Today and tomorrow (August 14 & 15), Canadian officials appear before a UN committee and must explain  why they are actively resisting four orders from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that require them to stop discriminating against 163,000 First Nations children. It was over one and a half years ago that the Tribunal concluded that Canada was guilty of racial discrimination by not funding First Nations children on and off reserves, and it has since made three more rulings ordering Canada to comply.

Canada is appealing the latest order.

July 1, 2017: “Reframing #Canada150 in the Context of Truth and Reconciliation”

Are we really only 150?

 
This past spring Curriculum Services Canada invited Project of Heart’s Charlene Bearhead to speak about her work in the field of reconciliation. Charlene is the former Education Lead for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and is the current Education Coordinator for the MMIW inquiry.

Here’s Curriculum Service’s CEO Amy Coupal talking about the powerful impact of Charlene’s address:

I had the privilege of hearing Charlene Bearhead speak at an international education conference in Ottawa earlier this year. She blew me away, and frankly the whole audience, too. She challenged and enlightened me and I’ve harkened back to her message many times. As we’ve been thinking and learning about Canada 150, we asked Charlene to share her thoughts. Take a look at her guest blog post

After you click the link and read the post, we’d be eager to here *your* reflections on the meaning of #Canada150 in the comments section below.

Quebec POH teacher innovates with buddy system


 

This amazing CBC report features long-time Project of Heart teacher Lisa Powell from Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary in Gatineau who explains how she pairs local seniors with her own young learners from James Bay and Kitiganzibi.

One of the most gripping moments is realizing that the “senior buddies” are hearing the story of Jordan River Anderson for the the first time; the saga of how one child was forced to live his entire life in a hospital bed because no level of government would agree to pay for his home care is a shameful blot on Canada’s reputation and not one the Federal government is eager to discuss. So schoolchildren just a few short blocks away from INAC headquarters are telling the story instead.

And while we are talking about Jordan, here is a link to the Broadbent Institute’s petition calling on the Federal government to respect the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings that Canada must cease discriminatory practices against Indigenous children.