The Reconciliation Art Project is designed to inspire people (children, youth and adults), in an artistic and engaging way, to consider what reconciliation means to them and begin to imagine a future of togetherness among Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians, regardless of race, culture or religion.

Painted rocks created by participants in this art project will be handed out to others as gifts to participants of the Walk for Reconciliation taking place September 24th, 2017 in Vancouver. Some of the rocks created may also be used in an art installation to commemorate our personal commitment to reconciliation. Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend. This gifting is consistent with the tradition in certain First Nations cultures whereby witnesses of an important ceremony are given a gift as a reminder to share their experience with others. The gift will inspire people to continue taking action and carry forward the message of reconciliation in their own lives, communities and workplaces.  Rocks that can’t make it to Vancouver will be photographed and shared on social media to ensure everyone across Canada has the opportunity to participate.

Lesson Plan

2017 is a year of significant reflection and Canadian society is on the verge of transformational change. This year marks 150 years of Canadian confederation, and it is important to acknowledge that Indigenous People have lived on this land for thousands of years. On reflection of this fact people are asked to find 3-5 small rocks, a symbol of Indigenous identity, permanence, strength and resiliency.

Rocks can be collected at schools, on beaches, on excursion with families, friends or alone.

The ideal rocks

  • Need to be small – can fit easily in the palm of the hand, in a pocket
  • Are a light colour – dark rocks are more difficult to paint


Rock painting inspirations

Once you have collected your rocks, use the attached interview and video recordings of Chief Robert Joseph, ambassador to Reconciliation Canada as inspiration for decorating your rocks. The interviews focus on what reconciliation means to Chief Joseph and why the walk is so important. There are two versions of the interview, one in its original format and another more simplified version for younger children. The interviews can be used as a conversation starter on what reconciliation might mean to you and your family/friends/community.

At the Walk for Reconciliation, your painted rock will be given out as a gift for participants and will act as a powerful reminder for people to bring reconciliation home with them and into their everyday lives.  Ideas for painting your rocks:

  • Write a hopeful/inspiring word on the rock as a message to the receiver
  • Choose a colour or symbol that is meaningful to you, inspired by this lesson plan
  • Use paint or coloured markers to decorate your rock


Share a picture of your rock on social media

Before sending in your rocks, take a picture of it and post it to social media on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Use the following hashtags to link to the larger project:

  • #ReconciliationArtProject
  • #WalkForRec
  • #ArtForRec

Follow Reconciliation Canada on social media to see what others are doing and get updates on this art project and the walk:

Facebook: – tag @reconciliationcanada
Twitter: – tag @Rec_Can
Instagram: –  tag @reconciliationcanada


Instructions for sending in your rocks

  1. Once you are ready to send in or deliver your rocks, please contact us at
  2. If you are unable to get your rocks to Vancouver, please feel free to use this material and share your participation on social media instead.


Downloadable Resources

Reconciliation Art Project

Reconciliation Art Project – Social Media Supplemental

An Interview with Chief Robert Joseph, OBC

An Interview with Chief Robert Joseph, OBC (edited for younger audiences)

Video Resources

  1. A video series produced by SFU, interviewing Chief Joseph about Reconciliation
    1. Part 1: Culture and Ancestry
    2. Part 2: Residential School Experience
    3. Part 3: Reconciliation
  2. 2013 Walk Video