If anyone ever needed proof that Gord Downie is a wonderful human being who cares about real problems in society, they don’t have to look any further than the newly announced Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. Mike and Gord Downie, along with the family of Chanie Wenjack have teamed up to create this fund that focuses on creating new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The fund is part of Downie’s legacy, commitment, and recognition of wounds that will take decades to heal.
Downie commented: “Generations grew up not hearing about what’s happening in the North and in Indigenous communities everywhere. The next generation can’t be raised the same way. It is my hope that the Fund will do its part in starting to bridge some of the gaps that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities”.
At the end of the Hip’s Man Machine Poem tour, the frontman called on his fellow Canucks to do something about the situation that indigenous people face up north. Since then, he has travelled to Ogoki Post in northern Ontario to meet with Chanie Wenjack’s family. Chanie died at the age of 12 from hunger and exposure to harsh weather while running away from Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School. His story will be told by Downie through Secret Path, an album and graphic novel that will be released on October 18. An animated film adaptation will be released on October 23.
Chanie Wenjack’s family has expressed their gratitude for Downie’s voice in this important story. Several members will be present at Secret Path’s inaugural performance on October 18 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. There will also be a concert on October 21 at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto.
The first full song and chapter of Secret Path, called “The Stranger” has also been released. Watch it:
To find out more information and to pre-order Secret Path, go here.