October 17th marked the 2nd anniversary of the passing of Canadian music legend, Gord Downie. While the world still mourns the loss of this incredible creator and activist, Downie’s mission lives on in the Downie Wenjack Fund, a not for profit organization whose goal is to build cultural understanding and create a path towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. This week also mark the beginning of the 2nd annual Secret Path Week, taking place between October 17th and October 22nd. The goal of Secret Path Week is to answer Gord Downie’s call to “do something” by creating reconciliACTIONs and furthering the conversation about the history of residential schools.
“Secret Path Week is about creating a national platform to have safe conversations, learn more about Indigenous culture and create awareness about the true history regarding residential schools. We encourage Canadians to take action, do something, to be part of the reconciliation movement,” said Sarah Midanik, CEO of the DWF.
“Gord felt Chanie’s story so deeply and intimately,” said Mike Downie. “When he spoke about Secret Path and his journey of becoming more aware of the impact of residential schools and the present treatment of Indigenous people, you could feel it had changed him. His passion emanated in every interview and performance. For Gord, changing the way Canadians studied and focused on our shared history was key to ensuring the learning and awareness continued – he insisted, “We have to get into the schools.””
DWF has implemented Legacy School programs in over 1300 schools. Legacy Schools exist in every province and territory in Canada and will also be activating reconciliACTIONs for Secret Path Week.
Secret Path week includes educational events, Walk for Wenjack, and tributes to Chanie Wenjack and Gord Downie. The highlight of the week is the much anticipated benefit concert at Toronto’s Roy Thomson hall, taking place tomorrow, October 19 at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. The concert is a re-creation of the original 2016 performances that brought together renowned musicians to share Chanie Wenjack’s story through an immersive multimedia performance. Chanie was a 12-year-old Ojibwe boy who died while trying to escape an Ontario residential school in 1966. Secret Path Live will raise money to support essential programming at the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund.
The project, conceived by Gord and Mike Downie, intertwines the music from the Juno award-winning album, graphic novel by Jeff Lemire, and the animated film Secret Path to bring to light the painful legacy of Canada’s residential school system, and the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families, to the national stage. The hope was to start a national conversation and further reconciliation.
Tomorrow, acclaimed Canadian musical guests, dancers, and artists will come together to create a fully immersive and cultural experience that celebrates Indigenous history and commemorates the lives of Gord and Chanie. Some of Canadian music’s best and brightest will take the stage, backed by the original Secret Path band, which performed with Downie at the benefit concert three years ago, along with special guest appearances by:
This will be an event for the ages, and there are still tickets available! Use promo code DWFFANS to get a discount when you purchase. Click here for tickets and to learn more.