Project of Heart would like to acknowledge the work of the students in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba for their Project of Heart learning experiences.
The students were taking Dr. Tracey Bone’s Feminist Perspectives in Social Work Practice and Social Welfare course, when they were introduced to Project of Heart through participating in a field trip to the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation in 2017. Since then, students in subsequent years have been doing adapted versions of Project of Heart in their course work. They attend a presentation on residential schools by one of the Center’s educators, then share their experiences of their learning with the first gesture of reconciliation. Decorating the small wooden tile, done in remembrance of a child who died as a result of attending the *school*, celebrating the resilience of the survivors, and explaining its significance to their peers is just one aspect of the learning/action they do.
Dr. Bone ensures that the student work is seen by both students and staff at the University of Manitoba through displays of the framed tiles on International Women’s Day (coming up on March 8th). As Bone states, “The exercise has been emotionally impactful for the students in my various courses as it moves the painful reality of Residential Schools beyond simple knowledge to application of learning.”
Miigwetch to the students and Dr. Bone for their investigating the horrific truths of Canada’s past and learning about the direct implications of that past to the present day. The forced separation of Indigenous children from their homes and communities was designed to eradicate the identity of thousands of children. These social work students are learning the tough work of supporting radical change in child welfare systems so that First Nations children can grow up in culturally supportive communities with loving family members to ensure their well-being. Keep up the good work!