Setting a Canada-wide record for POH participation, Ottawa teacher Michael Bernards sent in this report (below the bump) to document the occasion.
Our thanks also go out Thomas Louttit, an IRS survivor, who came in to talk to Michael’s students and to smudge the tiles.
Lester B. Pearson participated in the Project of Heart for the 6th year running. Students in NDA3A – Current Aboriginal Issues in Canada, studied the Residential School system in great detail, many only hearing about this sad chapter in Canadian History for the first time. The students then prepared the tiles to commemorate the victims of Residential Schools. For our Social Justice Act we joined the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada’s “I am Witness” campaign. In 2007, the Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations filed a human rights complaint against the Federal government, alleging that Canada’s failure to provide equitable and culturally based child welfare services to First Nations children on-reserve amounts to discrimination on the basis of race and ethnic origin.
By attending the hearings we demonstrate our support for the claim, as well as let the Tribunal know that people are paying attention and people care. We followed that up with each student either writing a letter to their MP about the issue of funding for First Nations or by preparing a creative writing piece to submit to the FNCFSC publication dedicated to giving students a voice on important issues in the Aboriginal Community.
Finally, as the PoH is not collecting more tiles, we prepared a permanent display case for this year’s tiles, with room for future classes to add their tiles, along with a copy of the oficial Apology issued by the Federal Government and an explanation of the Residential School legacy.