Comparable to the (official denial) trade value in progress sewing actions I wrote about last week, Project of Heart is a commemoration project which combines an artistic activity with history education. Project of Heart aims to educate Canadians about the lasting impact of the Indian Residential School system. The project places an emphasis remembering those students who passed away while at Residential School.
Participants in Project of Heart learn about Residential Schools and are then asked to decorate a small wooden title to represent the death of one child at Residential School. The education component of Project of Heart focuses on learning through oral history and experiential learning. Residential Schools Survivors are invited by school and community groups to tell their personal experiences, and give voice to language and traditions that were suppressed by Residential Schools. The Project of Heart website also offers a great list of educational resources and discussion questions for those facilitating education activities.
Project of Heart also requests that each group focus on a specific Residential School. Focusing on a particular school and on the students who attended that specific school held make the topic more tangible and less abstract. The name of the school studied is written on the back of each title decorated by participants.
The artistic activity of the project, decorating a small wooden tile using sharpie markers, emphasizes creating something to remember and commemorate a child who died at Residential School. Allowing students to express what they have learned through a creative medium makes this project appealing to many educators and the hands on component helps make the history lesson increasingly memorable.