This spring, the Embassy incorporated a new addition to our Chancery rooftop: a Heart Garden, located on the south side of the 6th floor terrace near the Ambassador’s office and overlooking the National Museum of the American Indian.
Hearts made of seed paper are placed in the earth, and when the paper decomposes, the seeds fall to the ground, germinate, and start to grow into a garden of beautiful flowers. Each heart represents the memory of a child lost to the residential school system, and the act of planting represents a commitment to reconciliation. Heart Gardens serve as a memorial to all Indigenous children lost to Canada’s residential school system, recognize those who survived, and honour the families of both.
The Embassy has been participating in the Embassy Adoption Program (EAP) for over 40 years, and this school year we had a special visit from Ms. Anderson’s fifth grade students at Brightwood Education Campus to help plant our Heart Garden. The EAP is an academic year global education program that allows fifth and sixth grade students the unique opportunity to expand their global awareness through direct interaction with diplomats from around the world. During the school visit, Embassy officials shared information on Canada’s Indigenous peoples and their history with the students, and provided an explanation of the meaning of a Heart Garden. The students were then invited to decorate the seed paper hearts with their dreams and wishes before visiting the rooftop to plant the hearts in the soil. Together, through initiatives like the Heart Garden, we learn about the history and reality of Indigenous communities – an important part of the reconciliation journey.