gord downie chenie wenjack fund

The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund

Like many of you, I watched with amazement this past summer as Gord Downie performed a farewell tour across Canada with The Tragically Hip. Then we heard that he had been working on a solo project called Secret Path.

Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history—the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system—with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation.

Secret Path is an album, film and comic which tell the story of a young Chanie Wenjack who escaped from a residential school in an attempt to return to his family and home. As we now know, he never made it.

I was fortunate to watch Downie perform the first single from the album, The Stranger.

It was more emotional and heart wrenching than being at The Hip’s last show in Toronto this past summer. So much so that I haven’t been able to even watch Secret Path. Yet.

It is very sad that this place I call home, Canada, is responsible for taking children away from their homes for no other reason than they were indigenous. Canada did this for 100 years. Canada is still a place where you can find indigenous communities 30 minutes away from Toronto that live under a drinking water contamination alert. It’s fucking ridiculous.

If we care about people we should all be doing something (significant or otherwise) to make the lives of Canada’s First Peoples better. We must.

Write to your MP. Educate your children. Educate yourself. Challenge the Prime Minister and other Cabinet members on social media on what concrete steps are being taken to ensure than reconciliation truly happens. Support The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund. Do something. Because doing nothing is no longer an option.