Category Archives: _Alberta

Sherwood Park turns vision into reality

Big Project of Heart thanks go out to Courtney Richard, music teacher at Westboro Elementary School in Sherwood Park, Alberta, for this excellent report!

Our journey with Project of Heart has left us feeling excited, grateful, wondering…what is the word to describe a project like this? It is a project of truth. It is a project of reconciliation. We have learned, we have grown, we have been inspired; we took our time to ensure that we put our very best effort into a project that meant so much.

It started with a full day teacher professional development session with Charlene Bearhead. I, the music teacher for Westboro Elementary, attended this meeting to learn about incorporating more Indigenous teachings and ways of knowing into our classrooms. Charlene showed a video of a song that students at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary had created with N’we Jinan artists called “Important to Us.” She also shared Project of Heart. It was the first time I had heard of this project and I knew that I had been called to action and that we, as a school body, needed to do something.

The following year we began intentionally working with our students to teach about residential schools. What were they? Why did they exist? How were Indigenous peoples affected? How has our Canadian society been impacted as a result of these schools? We, both staff and parents, learned alongside the children. Our students saw the injustices that had occurred, but also saw that one step in moving forward is for all of us to come together to stand as one. And so began our Project of Heart. Not through tiles, or through video, but through song.

We began our process brainstorming with Elder Wilson Bearhead what message we wanted for our song. It was our students’ talent, hard work, and creativity that took our vision and turned it into reality. Our song speaks of the past, the present, and the future. It encourages all cultures to come together to “Stand As One.” I am so proud of what our students were able to achieve. We hope that it inspires others to recognize no matter what age they are, we all have a voice and we all can make a difference in our country’s road to reconciliation. Our song and accompanying music video can be seen above this post.

It took a full school year to complete steps 1-3 of Project of Heart, but we made sure the following school year that we would fulfill all components of this project. It is true that we must apply what we have learned. Our project was a learning journey in and of itself, but what we do with this project extends the learning and takes it to a higher level. We listened to Rev. Mary Battaja’s survivor story ( and are grateful to Where Are The Children for filming so many stories that we can learn from. We chose to use the project we created as our social justice action. How can we continue to share our message? How can we take action by sharing our song through many different avenues so the message does not become lost or forgotten? We: posted it to our school website, shared on our district website, shared with friends and family, invited media to attend its release, shared with other teachers across the province, and promoted its use at conferences. Our job has not ended and in the years to come we hope to continue to work towards sharing our message of strength in unity. In doing so, it is our hope that it may spark a few others to do the same. Maybe one day we will all be able to look back at our past and see that we all did come together to Stand. As. One.

Langdon School gets the POH habit


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.

Teacher Susanne Moskal shares this report: Continue reading Langdon School gets the POH habit

University of Alberta Medical Students Learn About IRS era


This past term at the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine saw first and second year students participate in a 12-hour Aboriginal health elective course. As a part of their course, students learned about the role of culture in health care, visited the Edmonton Native Healing Centre to learn about smudging, and attended a workshop on residential schools and inter-generational trauma. Continue reading University of Alberta Medical Students Learn About IRS era

Chestermere Lake remembers: Alberta middle school students have hope for a better future


Our thanks to teacher Dana Witte who sent us this heart-warming report about Project of Heart and her Grade 9 students at Chestermere Lake Middle School:

Two classes of grade 9 students, 9W and 9N, participated in the Project of Heart in January, 2015. We were learning about collective rights in Canada and spent time exploring the impact of residential schools on the culture and identity of our First Nations people. Students were surprised at the fact that the Canadian government at the time had made such questionable choices. They expressed regret and empathy, and noted how our indigenous people had suffered as a result. The art that was produced on wooden tiles is reflective of their respect for our First Nations and is a symbol of their hope for a better future.

Chestermere Lake is the latest Alberta school to partner with Project of Heart; click here to see a listing of other schools and workplaces in the province that have partnered with POH.

Langdon School creates heartfelt Gesture of Reconciliation

This just in from Langdon, Alberta – classroom 9T:

My name is Susanne Moskal and I am a grade 9 teacher from Langdon School in Alberta. My students have spent the last few weeks working through Project of Heart. What an incredible project! This had a huge impact on myself and all of my students. We prepared our Gesture of Reconciliation and presented it an elder (residential school survivor) that visited our class. It was such a touching and powerful moment. My students put together the attached powerpoint to explain our project and showcase pictures of what we created.

Meegwetch Susanne – your classroom’s response is an inspiration to us all!

“Your culture is rich and beautiful, so I’m sorry you lost part of it in the school.”

Editor’s note: This report was submitted to us by Jeff Myck, Social 10-1 Teacher, Tofield School, Alberta.

31 students from Tofield School attended the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Education Day on Thursday, March 27 at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton.

The day was filled with information explaining to students the plight of those who attended Indian Residential Schools in Canada. Students listened and engaged in the sessions on “Stereotypes of Aboriginal Peoples” and a round-table talk with “Intergenerational Survivors of Residential Schools”. Some perceptions and comments from my grade 10 social studies class are mentioned below in postcards that are being sent to survivors. Tiles were also created as a gesture of reconciliation (see attached photos). Continue reading “Your culture is rich and beautiful, so I’m sorry you lost part of it in the school.”

Memorial Composite High School in Stony Plain, Alberta Joins Project of Heart

Social Studies teacher Steven Reid lead the charge as four Social Studies 10-1 classes at Memorial Composite High School took part in Project of Heart, which was a first for Parkland School Division. The group included three teachers and 120 students. There was a full week of research, discussion and education leading into the project of heart and it culminated with two wonderful guest speakers: a local Elder and a Survivor. Continue reading Memorial Composite High School in Stony Plain, Alberta Joins Project of Heart

Lethbridge students remember the students of St. Mary’s IRS, Alberta

Students from St. Mary’s Indian Residential School in Standoff, Alberta who did not live to be reunited with their families were remembered by the Winston Churchill High School students in Lethbridge this past spring. Mentored by teacher Erika Grintals with help from art teacher Jane Huson, students did an in-depth study of the local Blackfoot and Blood peoples. Continue reading Lethbridge students remember the students of St. Mary’s IRS, Alberta

Project of Heart washes over Wild Rose country

- Photo by Hussein Abdallah

Earlier this month Project of Heart’s Charlene Bearhead (National Manager for National Day of Healing and Reconciliation) teamed up with IRS survivor (and founder of National Day of Healing and Reconciliation) Maggie Hodson, as activists and and facilitators from seven organizations gathered to participate in a compressed version of Project of Heart that the two presented at a one day workshop in Calgary. Continue reading Project of Heart washes over Wild Rose country