The legacies of Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack live on through the third annual Secret Path Week
TORONTO, Oct. 15, 2020 – The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) is proud to announce the launch of the third annual Secret Path Week. Taking place between October 17-22, Secret Path Week includes over 15 events which raise awareness of the history and legacy of Residential Schools and pays tribute to Chanie Wenjack; a 12-year-old Ojibwe boy who died while trying to escape an Ontario Residential School in 1966.
Leading into the week, October 16th marks the release of the new Gord Downie album, Away is Mine. Josh Finlayson, who was part of the original Secret Path band, collaborated with Gord on his final project. On the eve of the anniversary of Gord’s passing and the beginning of Secret Path Week, Canadians are invited to remember Gord’s legacy and his call to “Do Something” to forward reconciliation. DWF encourages fans to remember the work Gord did in the final years of his life to bring to light the painful legacy of Canada’s Residential School system, and the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families.
“My family is so grateful to Gord Downie for telling the story of my uncle, Chanie.” says Harriet Visitor, DWF Board Member and Chanie Wenjack’s niece. “We have seen a great impact and increased awareness through DWF’s programs such as Legacy Schools, and events like Walk for Wenjack.”
This year the majority of events have moved online. The week will be highlighted by Walk for Wenjack and a special broadcast of last year’s hugely successful Secret Path Live benefit concert, which was held at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall in partnership with Bell Media. Dubbed “Return to Secret Path Live”, the broadcast will feature the original Secret Path band, special guests, and an incredible line-up of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists. The show features a re-creation of Gord Downie’s original 2016 performances, alongside a fully immersive and cultural experience to honour Indigenous history and commemorate the lives of Gord and Chanie. Return to Secret Path Live begins airing on October 17 at 7pm ET and will be available to watch throughout Secret Path Week. Guests can register here by donation and details regarding how to view the broadcast will be emailed following registration.
Walk for Wenjack is an opportunity for people across Canada to honour the life of Chanie Wenjack and walk wherever they are at anytime during Secret Path Week. This year, DWF hopes to raise $60,000 in donations – one hundred dollars for every kilometer Chanie would have needed to walk to make it all the way home. Individuals and teams can sign up for Walk for Wenjack at DownieWenjack.ca.
Sarah Midanik, President & CEO of DWF, believes the events this year are as important as ever:
“DWF wants to bring people across Canada together for Secret Path Week, creating a sense of connection and raising awareness of our collective responsibility to help move reconciliation forward.” says Midanik. “This important work needs to remain at the forefront of conversation and action.”
For more about all Secret Path Week events, visit SecretPathWeek.ca.
About the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund
Inspired by Chanie’s story and Gord’s call to build a better Canada, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) aims to build cultural understanding and create a path towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
DWF’s work centres around improving the lives of Indigenous people by building awareness, education, and connections between all Canadians. For more information, visit DownieWenjack.ca.
About Secret Path
Gord Downie began Secret Path as a collection of 10 poems inspired by the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who died of exposure on October 22, 1966. He was attempting to walk home from Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario, to return to family he was taken from over 600km away. The poems inspired the full-length album, graphic novel, and award-winning film trilogy.
Supporting the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund
Donations contribute to reconciliation in Canada by supporting the development of resources for DWF programs such as Legacy Spaces, Legacy Schools, reconciliACTIONs and events that serve to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities together.
To support DWF please visit: https://downiewenjack.ca/support-us/
For further information: Media inquiries: Audra Santa, [email protected]