October 13, 2016

Introducing The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund


Mike and Gord Downie and the family of Chanie Wenjack announced the creation of a new Fund focused on creating new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund is part of Gord’s commitment and recognition of the wounds that will take generations to heal.

“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,” said Gord Downie. “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 closing concert of The Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem Tour on August 20, Gord Downie called upon Canadians to look North and “do something”. He since travelled to Ogoki Post to meet with the family of Chanie Wenjack. Chanie was a young boy who died in October 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School. Chanie’s story will be told through an album and a graphic novel that will be released on October 18, and an animated film adaptation on October 23. Both the album and graphic novel are available for pre-order on the Merchandise page.

“It’s time for us to acknowledge and help the people we were trained to ignore. It’s time to do something,” said Mike Downie. “This Fund will help make this a reality and will act as a catalyst to forge relationships for reconciliation.”

“Our family and community are grateful that Gord is lending his voice to this important story,” the Wenjack Family said in a statement. Several members of the Wenjack Family will be present at the inaugural Secret Path performance at the National Arts Centre on October 18. For more show details visit the shows page.

The Fund is currently operating out of the Toronto Foundation, with a majority of Indigenous peoples on its Board of Directors. It is being guided by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

Donations to the Fund are now being accepted at downiewenjack.ca. The Fund is also on Twitter and Facebook.

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