Our Team and Partners

Our Team

We are a group of community members who mostly live and work on the unceded, unsurrendered lands of the Algonquin peoples. We are former/current educators , activists, authors, academics, grand/parents and students working in various walks of life.

Our group's intentions are to honour children and youth, and to stand up, speak out, and invite others to join us. We aspire to help others, including ourselves, learn accurate narratives and unlearn the ones many of us have been taught throughout our lives. The lessons taught in Canadian schools, media, and culture have perpetuated myths and created divisions between First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples and non-Indigenous people living in Canada. This has created a colonial culture that we must now unlearn. Importantly, we must then take action, by standing with, and listening to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples.

We acknowledge, appreciate, and honour the cultural guidance and support from

Survivor and Elder Irene Barbeau and Spiritual Advisor Albert Dumont.

Charlene Bearhead

Charlene Bearhead is a mother, grandmother, educator, Indigenous education advocate and author with over 30 years of regional, national and international experience. Charlene is the co-author of the children’s book series, Siha Tooskin Knows. She is currently the Director of Reconciliation at Canadian Geographic, and member of the Indigenous Education Advisory Circle for National Film Board.

Jacinthe Bergeron

My name is Jacinthe Bergeron and since learning about the children of the Kamloops IRS, for me, doing nothing is no longer an option. I’m not an “activist", but my utter disbelief, disgust, outrage, profound shame and sadness fuelled my decision to support Indigenous peoples in their generations-long struggle for justice. This project has become my first step towards doing something significant that successfully contributes to catalyzing lasting change. I have since come to see myself as a granddaughter of colonizing settlers of French-Canadian descent, whose grandparents were granted their homesteads by the Government on stolen Treaty 4 Territory. For the last 30 years, Ottawa has been my home, with my partner and son — on the beautiful, un-surrendered Algonquin Territory.

Albert Dumont, Algonquin, Kitigan Zibi

Presently, Albert is on the Grandparents Counsel for Well Living House, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto. For ten years he worked as Spiritual Advisor for the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Parole Board of Canada and Correctional Services Canada. Albert is an activist, a volunteer and a poet who has published 5 books of poetry and short stories. In recognition for his work as an activist and volunteer on his ancestral lands (Ottawa and Region) Albert received the DreamKEEPERS Citation for Outstanding Leadership.

Teresa Edwards

Teresa Edwards is a member of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq First Nation in Quebec. Her ceremonial name is Young Fire Woman, a name that she strives to fulfill through her work as an International Human Rights Lawyer. Teresa is a mother to three amazing souls – Ashley, Dakota and Derek, and the grandmother (Giju) to Alivia and Avery, who all inspire her to work towards bringing equity to Indigenous Peoples by improving socio-economic conditions and their overall well-being. For over 30 years, she has been a strong advocate for Indigenous Peoples by championing changes in programs, policy and legislation from within government and while working with National Indigenous Organizations such as the Assembly of First Nations, Native Women’s Association of Canada and from within her own legal practice. Teresa has been the Executive Director and In-House Legal Counsel for the Legacy of Hope Foundation (LHF) for over 4 years.

Lisa Howell

Lisa (she/her) is a Canadian of Northern European Descent, living on the unceded land of the Algonquin Nation. She is a partner, mother, aunt, sister, teacher, part-time professor, and PhD Candidate at the University of Ottawa. She is also a very honoured recipient of an Indspire Award for Partner in Indigenous Education, and a Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching. Lisa's favourite place is the forest and the lake where her family has a cabin.

Jane Hubbard

Jane Hubbard is a settler and an ally who has been working alongside Indigenous Peoples for many years. She started as a Researcher at the Aboriginal Healing Foundation and while there, gained a deeper understanding of the Residential School System in Canada, its history and ongoing impacts. She is currently the Director of Education at the Legacy of Hope foundation where she continues to learn.

Ellen Long

Ellen Long (she/her) is a settler of British Descent living on the unceded land of the Algonquin Nation. She is a proud mother of two young children and a passionate educator. When not on maternity leave, she is the Lead, Engagement and Knowledge Mobilization at Physical and Health Education Canada.

Luca Ortolani

Luca Ortolani is an oboist studying Music Performance at the University of Toronto, situated on the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and the Mississaugas of the Credit. Like many other Canadians, Luca seeks out opportunities to act on reconciliation, and was drawn to this project subsequent to the graves of the children recently found at Kamloops IRS. He feels that it is important for his generation to be active and fully engaged in social justice actions that support Indigenous peoples.

Sylvia Smith

Sylvia Smith is one of 5 granddaughters of Original Settlers on Treaty 6 Territory now living on unceded Algonquin Territory. She is a partner, mom of 2 wonderful young women, and proud granny who can't get enough of her (almost) 3 year old grandson. Sylvia is proud to have been the teacher of high school students who were passionate enough about justice, and angry enough with *education* that didn't teach the truth. From this passion and anger, Sylvia and her students created Project of Heart.

Bruce Tate

Bruce Tate is a settler descendant of unknown Northern European ancestry, and lives on unceded Algonquin Territory. Bruce is a very proud dad, godfather and mentor to youth, and has worked and volunteered to advance social justice and inclusion for over forty-five years, and currently works developing learning for adults on disability inclusion.

Evan Thornton

Evan Thornton is a Settler of European descent and has been volunteering with Project of Heart since 2007 . He works with web content and social media

Nicola Whitehouse

Nicola Whitehouse (she/her/elle) is a settler descendant of Northern European ancestry who lives on unceded Algonquin Territory. She is a wife and mother to two beautiful kiddos. Nicola is an educator and vice-principal committed to reconciliation through education and the power of change through the voice of youth.

Thank you !Miigwetch! Merci!

We would like to thank and appreciate all of the students, educators, families, and individuals who contributed to the Heart Garden at 50 Sussex or in their own communities. We would also like to thank those who participated in the Virtual Heart Garden, as well as the team at Canadian Geographic for their dedication to the Heart Garden.

All Covid-19 Protocols were followed during the development of this tour, and we ask that all participants follow suit for the safety of themselves and others.

Our Partners

This work would not be possible without our partners. We thank them and honour their work.

Justice for Indigenous Women

The University of Ottawa Faculty of Education

The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

Legacy of Hope Foundation

Project of Heart

Royal Canadian Geographic Society.