The students and staff at Ottawa’s Westboro Academy were honoured by the visit of a very special guest this past month, and they have a grade 5 student at the school by the name of Leo to thank for the event.
Professor Lisa Taylor from Bishops University laid down a major challenge for Project of Heart participants from her Education program, and it arose from a observation made by Charlene Bearhead, Education Lead with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR):
Last week the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States chose Project of Heart, along with two other stellar Indian Residential School projects, to feature in an exhibit showcasing educational initiatives that challenge historically inaccurate “official” curricula that misrepresent the experiences of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas. The launch the exhibit, Charlene Bearhead (10th row down, ride side) Education Lead at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and National Co-Director of Project of Heart, spoke on what Canadian students are doing to set the historical record straight.
The exhibit is to be displayed for 3 weeks — enough time to allow delegates a truthful glimpse into Canada’s shameful genocidal history and what young people are doing to turn it around.
They made a what? Teacher Caroline Leppanen from Hewitt’s Creek Public School in Barrie, Ontario delighted us with her learners’ amazing creativity in this inspiring report:
My grade 6 class spent a great deal of time inquiring about Truth and Reconciliation, First Nations circle teachings, Grandfather teachings, and residential schools. We have completed our Project of Heart! And are excited to share it with you!
We will hold a dedication ceremony in September.We have shared our process via Twitter @leppanens_world
Our plan? The table will be placed in our Learning Commons. It will be a place for groups to come when they need to arrive at a consensus. It will be a place for people to come when they are in need of a restorative session. Its tiles all tell a story of my students’ learning. They will share these stories at the dedication ceremony.
In this video for the Caring Society, Summer Bisson — one of the students from the first-ever school to do Project of Heart (Elizabeth Wyn Wood Alternate Site, in Ottawa) –talks about what reconciliation means to her and the day her class went to court to see Cindy Blackstock make the case for Indigenous children across Canada who were – and still are — being denied access to services and quality of life other Canadians take for granted”.
Two high school history teachers from the Ottawa Carleton District School Board recently brought Project of Heart to 60 students from across the National Capital area who had gathered to learn about genocide.
Langdon School in Southern Alberta has now partnered two years in a row with Project of Heart. This year two classrooms were invited to create gestures of reconciliation, and Elder Randy Bottle — an IRS survivor — came to Langdon to share his own memories of the Residential School experience.
Teaching about the Residential School Era is still not a mandatory part of the Saskatchewan K-12 curriculum but thanks to the events of the day, 1500 students and teachers went home having experienced a crash course on Canada’s hidden history. The Faculty of Education at the University of Regina organized the day’s events and Project of Heart was also on the program; students decorated tiles as witness pieces.
Our thanks go out to Dean of Education Jennifer Tupper for taking the lead in organization a superb day of Truth and Reconciliation!
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