Category Archives: British Columbia

Remembering the 215 children who died at the Kamloops IRS

Kamloops Indian Residential School – photo credit APTN

Canadians from coast-to-coast have been shocked at the news coming from Kamloops this past week. The unmarked graves of 215 children have been discovered at the site of the Kamloops IRS, validating the memories of survivors and confirming the oral history they have passed down to their children and grandchildren and demonstrating once again that far from being “isolated cases”, the cruel mistreatment of child captives was too often the norm in Canada’s IRS era, rather than the exception.

In recent years, the Kamloops IRS and has been the focus of meaningful historical teaching both in BC and across Canada, and resources have been created that give educators the tools to address this incredibly disturbing chapter of Canada’s colonial history.

  • The BCTF and BC’s Project of Heart – ebook – this amazing resource tells the hidden stories behind BC’s residential schools, and gives learners practical ways to include their new knowledge in meaningful gestures or reconcilation.
  • Hidden history – links and resources prepared by the BCTF, including videos, presentations, online resourcesm and teacher’s kits.

To find out how your classroom or learning group can honour the memory of the children who died at the Kamloops IRS and at residential schools across Canada, Project of Heart has prepared a 6-step learning module that has been used by educators in thousands of classrooms from coast to coast. And to see how educators in your province or school board have worked with Project of Heart, there are links to provincial Project of Heart sites at the top of this page.

It’s spring – have you planted *your* Heart Garden?

The Caring Society have just released their PSAs for this spring’s Heart Garden campaign. You’ll be impressed with just how articulate the young learners participating are; it’s been said so often before but it’s still so true — nobody *gets* injustice like young people do.

For proof, here’s gorgeous Heart Garden recently created in Spuzzum, BC, through BCTF’s “Remembering Gladys” initiative. More of the amazing images can be seen here.

BCTF’s Project of Heart ebook launch: coverage in Vancouver Sun



As the Truth and Reconciliation Commision has released its findings this past June — and published 94 calls to action — the timing of the BCTF’s initiative couldn’t have been better. The book is available free online.

The existence of this amazing resource is down to the commitment and inspiration of editor Gail Stromquist, the Assistant Director for Aboriginal Education and project lead for BCTF. Click here for the Sun’s story.

Many thanks going out to the BCTF teachers for their efforts in moving along the truth and reconciliation movement!

Salmon Arm Secondary remembers the lost children of Anahim and St. George’s


Under the leadership of teacher Chelsea Prince, Salmon Arm Secondary completed Project of Heart by commemorating the students who attended Anahim IRS and St. George’s IRS, both in British Columbia.

Teaching this painful part of Canadian history was taken to heart by Salmon Arm students, as their heart-felt reflections (below the bump) so aptly demonstrate.

Project of Heart is grateful to the students and Ms. Prince for the effort that was taken to learn about this under-taught part of our shared history.  Meegwetch. Continue reading Salmon Arm Secondary remembers the lost children of Anahim and St. George’s

Project of Heart, decorated canoe in the spotlight at TRC National Event in Vancouver

Photo by Vancouver Observer

Education Day at the recent TRC National Event in Vancouver was the scene as a Tsleil-Waututh racing canoe was unveiled that was made from over 9000 Project of Heart tiles decorated by students from over 250 schools in British Columbia. Continue reading Project of Heart, decorated canoe in the spotlight at TRC National Event in Vancouver

Langley Meadows elementary students’ response: “Powerful and Compassionate”

Thanks to teacher Jean Moir and Aboriginal Support Worker Tara Helps, learners from Grade 4 through Grade 6 at Langley Meadows Community School (BC) had the chance to partner with Project of Heart this past term. They responded by giving heartfelt responses to their new knowledge of a what it meant for generations of young learners like themselves to be forced to attend the Residential Schools, now infamous for their “lasting and damaging impact on aboriginal culture, heritage and language”, in the words of Prime Minister Harper. The following document is a sample of those student responses: Continue reading Langley Meadows elementary students’ response: “Powerful and Compassionate”

Tamanawis Secondary Garners National Attention with Project of Heart

The students in Social Justice 12 at Tamanawis Secondary in Surrey, BC, have garnered National attention with their recent Project of Heart commemoration efforts. The Student’s learned about the history of the Indian Residential School System in Canada before embarking on in-depth research into the Coqualeetza Lake Indian Residential School in Sardis, British Columbia. The class examined the history of the school as well the traditions and customs of the Sto: lo First Nation who mostly attended the school. We uploaded our research to as well as registered our class as 1 of 1000 Conversations.

The Unit culminated in the designing of our 50 commemoration tiles and 6 survivor cards as well as a brief look at the current funding issues concerning Reserve Schools. The Students wrote letters to their local Member of Parliament, Jinny Sims, outlining their understanding of the current conditions at Reserve Schools such as the one on the Attawapiskat First Nations Reserve. Ms. Sims was so impressed by their concerns and will be meeting with the students in the new year before making a statement in the House of Commons; using their letters in her statement. The entire experience has been a phenomenal one for the students, the level of their inquiry and engagement was inspiring. As a student teacher the success of this unit was tremendous and has been replicated with other classes within the school already.