Following through with Native Studies teacher Grace Lloyd’s initiative, teachers Leanne Schachow, William French, and Sandra Uniacke worked with their grade 9 and grade 8 students to learn about the Indian Residential Schools and its impact on Aboriginal communities today. Lloyd states, “Personally, I was very moved with this project. When you see the tiles completed and realize that each one of these represents a lost life in Port Simpson IRS, it really has an impact on you. I think the students developed a greater understanding of the damage that the IRS had on First Nations in Canada as a result of the Project. They wrote letters expressing what they wanted done to improve the lives of Aboriginal people in Canada.”
Students involved with Project of Heart completed “reflections” on doing the Project and also included “what if” scenarios like the following:
– How would you have felt if you were Native and put in a residential school?
– What would it have felt like to be taken from your family at a young age?
– How might you have been treated there?
– What changes would you undergo after having been there?
– What type of discrimination and abuse would you likely have suffered?
– How might this experience affect your life after leaving residential school?
To complete the Project of Heart module, the students engaged in writing letters to government officials requesting that action be taken to address rampant discrimination against First Nations children in education and health. Most chose to participate in Shannen’s Dream.
Project of Heart thanks the students of Rideau District High School, and their teachers for the work they have done to help build trust, respect, and hope for a better future. Well done!