APTN National News
Ailing Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie is scheduled to hold two concerts in Ottawa and Toronto to coincide with the release of a solo album, film and graphic novel based on the life of Chanie Wenjack, a First Nation boy from Marten Falls First Nation who was found dead on railroad tracks after fleeing a residential school.
Downie’s first concert will be held in Ottawa on Oct. 18 and then in Toronto on Oct. 21.
Downie was inspired by Wenjack’s story after his brother Mike Downie shared a 1967 story in Maclean’s magazine about the boy titled, The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack.
The title of the new album and graphic novel, based on Wenjack’s story, is called Secret Path.
Downie, who is dying from terminal brain cancer, released a statement earlier this month announcing the album, book and concert series saying that Wenjack’s story is the story of a Canada hidden from the general public.
“We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable,” said Downie, in the statement. “All those governments and all of those churches, for all of those years, misused themselves. They hurt many children. They broke up many families. They erased entire communities.”
Wenjack was found dead on railroad tracks near Kenora, Ont., after fleeing the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in October 1966.
During his band’s final show in Kingston, Ont., this August, which was watched live across the country by millions of people, Downie raised the plight of First Nations twice.
Wenjack’s story has been told in the past in short Canadian history vignette.
And Willie Dunn wrote a song in the 1970’s called Charlie Wenjack for his album Akwesasne Notes.