The Reconciliation Art Project is designed to help children, in an artistic and engaging way, explore our shared history and begin to imagine a future of togetherness between Indigenous People and all Canadians. The project hopes to encourage children to consider what reconciliation means to them personally, through their own introspection, and to reflect their hopes for a future that includes everyone, regardless of race, culture or religion.

Some of the art objects children create will be handed out as gifts to Elders attending. Reconciliation Canada’s Walk for Reconciliation, taking place September 24th, 2017 in Vancouver. The majority of the rocks will be used in a large art installation in Strathcona Park which will greet participants where the walk ends. Building on previous years, this year, more than 70 000 people are expected to attend.
 


Lesson Plan

In this 150th year of Canada’s beginning, it is important to acknowledge that Indigenous People have lived on this land for thousands of years. On reflection of this fact, children are asked to find a few small rocks, symbols of Indigenous identity, permanence, strength and resiliency.

Rocks can be collected:

  • On recess or over lunch, if rocks can be easily found on the school ground
  • As a homework assignment – on their way home from school or on an excursion with their parents, guardians or siblings
  • As part of the lesson, the entire class can do a mini excursion to find rocks and possibly paint their rocks outside.

 
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
  • might need to be washed or cleaned in prep for painting

 

Once children have collected their rocks, an adult should read them the attached interview of Chief Robert Joseph, ambassador to Reconciliation Canada, which focuses on what reconciliation means to Indigenous People and why the walk is so important. There are two versions of the interview, one in its original form and another more simplified version for younger children. If deemed appropriate, teachers are encouraged to connect this content to any previous lessons on First Nations history that may have been covered.

After a brief discussion, children are encouraged to paint their rocks, understanding that they will be used as gifts or in an installation to commemorate the walk. Students can be encouraged to write a hopeful word on the rock that reflects what reconciliation means to them.

 
Materials Needed:

  • Sharpies/coloured felt markers (ideally) or
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Water for cleaning the brushes between colours
  • Paper towels

 
Instructions for sending your rocks

  1. Contact Debbie Douez the project producer by email at debbiedouez@gmail.comto let her know you are participating
  2. Deliver your rocks to Strathcona Park in Vancouver on Saturday, September 23rd between 12 and 2pm or (see 3).
  3. Bring your rocks with you to the Walk for Reconciliation on Sunday, September 24th and add them directly to the art installation in Strathcona Park, where the Walk ends.

 

Consider posting photographs of your rocks to social media. Use the following hashtag to link to the larger projectL #ReconciliationArtProject #WalkforRec

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ReconciliationCanada – tag @reconciliationcanada
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Rec_Can – tag @Rec_Can
 


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

For more information about how your community or school group can participate in this art project please contact the project producer, Debbie Douez at debbiedouez@gmail.com