2007: The Beginning
2010: TRC’S FIRST NATIONAL EVENT SHOWCASE
POH was showcased at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s first national event, held in Winnipeg in June, 2010.
2011: A BANNER YEAR
2011 was a banner year for POH in another important way. The Native Counselling Service of Alberta (NCSA) partnered with the project, and through the resourcefulness and dedication of their Education Coordinator, the NCSA attracted funding to take Project of Heart from coast to coast to coast, which, incredibly, would see POH taken up by Ministries of Education and/or school boards in all provinces and territories in the space of less than a year. This new period of a national profile for the initiative was called “Project of Heart Phase 2” and was spearheaded by Charlene Bearhead, then of the NCSA and now the Education Lead with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
2011: THE GOVERNOR GENERAL’S AWARD
In December 2011, Sylvia Smith received the Governor General’s Award for Project of Heart.
2012-2013: POH NATIONAL COMMEMORATION EXHIBITS
Project of Heart – Commemorating the Children for Future Generations was selected as a National Commemoration Project by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada in 2012-13. During this period of time over 600 schools, along with numerous church groups, community organizations, corrections agencies and government departments participated in the POH, contributing tiles for inclusion in the regional commemoration exhibits. This process resulted in over 3800 teachers, 55,000 students and an estimated 185,000 Canadian learners participating in POH and the National Commemoration Project. The tiles from each of these groups were collected and curated in to memorial and commemoration exhibits honoring former students of Indian Residential Schools in every province and territory in Canada. Read More about the exhibits and take the virtual tour.
2015: AN HONOURARY WITNESS TO TRC
Seven years after the creation of POH — and hundred of thousands of decorated tiles later – Sylvia was made an Honourary Witness to the Truth and Reconcilation Commission at the TRC’s closing event in June of 2015.
PRESENT: THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
Thousands of schools across Canada have now taught the POH module, and partner organizations include the British Columbia Teachers Federation, The University of Regina Faculty of Education, The Shingwauk Centre at Algoma University, and the Community Learning Centres of Québec. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba has the leadership role in delivering the POH curriculum across Canada, through their Education program. A key objective of the program is to encourage “ownership” of this historic injustice by enacting gestures of reconciliation for the past and continued oppression of Aboriginal people in Canada. Project of Heart continues to be shared with elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools in other regions of Canada. Start your POH journey here.