Port Perry teacher Nancy Hamer-Strahl has completed Project of Heart for a second year running. Once again, Nancy has found a way to connect her classroom to her own community — including her area’s First Nation community — and ultimately to the whole country through her contribution to CBC’s excellent “8th Fire” series.
This year, Hamer-Strahl’s students commemorated the lives lost at St. Michael’s IRS in Alert Bay, British Columbia, as well as Lake St. Marin IRS at Fisher River, Manitoba. They decorated over 600 tiles to honour these children. Former Residential School students related their experiences to her students and Cliff Standingready, author and Oshawa resident, spoke to Nnacy’s class and shared his story.
Nancy had this to say about the impact Project of Heart has had on her learners.
“I have never witnessed such empathy and compassion being put into action by truly committed young Canadians willing to undertake a project which helps them better understands their country’s history. Project of Heart compels them to want to make their country a better place by actively participating in its creation. We often think that this has already been accomplished but to our surprise we need to keep working at it. My students got that message and as a teacher it does not get any better than that!
Nancy’s students put their learning into action by participating in “Have a Heart for First Nations Children” campaign by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. Heart-felt letters were written by more than 50 students, addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper as well as Indian Affairs Minister, John Duncan, urging them to address the gross injustices facing First Nations children on reserve in Canada. They enthusiastically joined Cindy Blackstock and all the students in heart and spirit, by having these letters be delivered on Valentine’s Day during the “Have a Heart for First Nations Children”!
Congratulations to Port Perry High School for all that you’ve done to bring national attention to Project of Heart — and for doing your utmost to make Canada responsible to address its negligence in protecting First Nations children. Port Perry believes in dignity and equality for all children regardless of who they are — to quote Nancy again: “to date our students have commemorated over 1100 children and we won’t stop until every child is honoured!”