This is what Gord was talking about when he said “what is happening up north” at the Hip show.
A 12-year-old Ojibway boy who died from hunger and exposure after trying to find his way home from a residential school is the inspiration behind a new project from Gord Downie.
In 1966, Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack’s body was found by the railway tracks near Kenora, Ont. It’s a story that so affected Tragically Hip lead singer Gord Downie, he created a solo album, a graphic novel and an animated film to honour Wenjack’s memory and educate other Canadians about the tragedy.
“I never knew Chanie, but I will always love him,” Downie said announcing plans to release the package in October.
Downie is using his celebrity to draw attention to the legacy of residential schools and what he sees as the need for all Canadians to be involved in reconciliation.
“Chanie haunts me. His story is Canada’s story,” Downie said. “We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable.”
The release of the album coincides with the 50th anniversary of Wenjack’s death.