All posts by Evan

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

POH in Lethbridge: bringing together students from Piikani Nation and Sunnyside Elementary

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( click on image for large-view gallery )
 

The last school term before the summer break saw Lethbridge Grade 4 students from Sunnyside Elementary School take part in a cultural exchange to learn about residential schools and Aboriginal culture through storytelling, art and dance.

Project of Heart caught up with Napi’s Playground Elementary School –– from Piikani Nation in Brocket, AB) –– teacher Mark Anderson, this week to find out more about how he and his students engaged Sunnyside’s students and this is what he had to say: Continue reading POH in Lethbridge: bringing together students from Piikani Nation and Sunnyside Elementary

“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. (put the address in here).

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.

“Teachers teaching teachers” uOttawa’s Faculty of Education embraces Project of Heart

"Teach the teacher" at Ottawa U

April 24, 2017 was a special day for the Education Faculty at the University of Ottawa as experienced educators joined with BEd. Teacher Candidates to “teach them how to teach” Project of Heart to their future students. It was a “Teachers Teaching Teachers” seminar.

The seminar was organized by the Faculty of Education’s Director of Teacher Education, Dr. Nicholas Ng-A-Fook. Nicholas was aware of the strength of Project of Heart from past presentations, and this past term he created the opportunity to offer it as part of a teacher training symposium.

The Teacher Candidates heard the stories from survivors Mary Lou Iahtail and Chris Herodier Snowboy and were given detailed guidance on how to offer Project of Heart. Continue reading “Teachers teaching teachers” uOttawa’s Faculty of Education embraces Project of Heart

#TBT : CBC and Project of Heart at The Forks

June 2017 will mark seven years since the First National Event of the historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission was held at The Forks in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

 

Project of Heart was invited to  exhibit, and soon the Manitoba Theatre for Young People was hosting 6 ooo decorated Project of Heart tiles.

 

Visitors learned about the Indian Residential Schools, visited and spoke with Survivors, and participated in social justice actions through signing petitions and writing letters.

 

Thank you CBC for covering this event and thank you to the IRS Survivors who, through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission brought Project of Heart to Canadians everywhere.

It’s spring – have you planted *your* Heart Garden?


 
The Caring Society have just released their PSAs for this spring’s Heart Garden campaign. You’ll be impressed with just how articulate the young learners participating are; it’s been said so often before but it’s still so true — nobody *gets* injustice like young people do.

For proof, here’s gorgeous Heart Garden recently created in Spuzzum, BC, through BCTF’s “Remembering Gladys” initiative. More of the amazing images can be seen here.

Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology runs with Project of Heart

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Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology ran with Project of Heart — and their running partner was…. a class of elementary students at Lady Evelyn Alternative School in Ottawa! How did that happen?

SIIT is located on the Asimakaniseekan Askiy Reserve in Saskatoon and Kathleen Worm is their Manager in Workforce Development. Kathleen hosted Project of Heart for over 90 IRS Support Workers gathered in Saskatoon for a conference. What was unique about this Project of Heart workshop is the way in which the participants were supported in carrying out the social justice action.

Help came from a class of Grade 3 and 4 students in Ottawa who are part of their Shannen’s Dream Club. These students made 91 beautiful post-cards, all decorated to depict their vision of what reconciliation for First Nations children on reserves in Canada would look like. The backs of the post-cards are labelled with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s address. The Support Workers did the rest of the work – writing what they want the Prime Minister to do to address the inequities: namely, to implement the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s orders to fund First Nations children on and off reserve equitably to their non-Indigenous counterparts.

The POH workshop participants in Saskatoon were able to skype in to Ms. Fontaine’s class to thank the children for their solidarity with Indigenous children. They made a heart-felt connection with the 8, 9, and 10 year olds that partnered with them in their social justice action!

Here’s what Kathleen had to report about their Project of Heart experience with the kids:

Danielle Fontaine’s Grade 3 and 4 class in Ottawa ON learn about more than the abc’s of education; they learn the abc’s of Canada’s history and the abc’s of compassionate humanism.

Danielle has been incorporating First Nations issues in the classroom for over 6 years now and the result is nothing short of loving. Teaching compassion first, Danielle’s students then learn to empathize with the current peril of First Nations children across Canada.

Shannen’s Dream, a powerful show of advocacy by a young First Nation girl wanting a school for her community was one of the stories that the students learned of. In a show of support and activism, the 8, 9 and 10 year olds designed post cards with messages and images reflecting their mind and heart on the issue of First Nation children’s educational rights. These postcards are all addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Saskatchewan Resolution Health Support Workforce, the emotional and cultural supports offered to survivors going through their independent claims and hearings, gather twice a year for professional development. This past gathering in January had approximately 90 of the post cards designed by Ms Fontaine’s class. Using these postcards, messages were sent to the Prime Minister on many issues surrounding First Nations people.

To further strengthen the impact and the shared understanding, the RHSW Gathering skyped into the Grade 3 & 4 classroom in Ottawa. The excitement and joy was palpable. The opportunity to let those children see the impact of their own efforts and for the aging group of survivors to see hope for the future as young ones are taught the truth and are willing to fight for what’s right.

Thank you Kathleen and all the IRS Survivors who met their supporters for doing Project of Heart and sharing themselves with their young fans in Ottawa. The Government will continue to be challenged as long as Canada has youth who are passionate about fair play. Their message is clear.