The outpouring of sympathy from across the nation for the family, friends and fans of Gord Downie since his passing last week has been truly remarkable. Impromptu gatherings of fans getting together to sing Tragically Hip songs in different parts of the country, a growing memorial in the band’s hometown, the calls for a state or public funeral, tribute’s on television featuring Gord and the band over the last week have all been very touching.
Last night, the CBC broadcast The Secret Path concert, Gord Downie’s tribute to Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack has become the Tragically Hip’s front man’s most important and most powerful work of his lifetime.
Downie had been shedding light on the disconnect between the rest of Canada and the plight of our aboriginal residents and their descendants through telling the story of Charlie. A boy who tried to escape Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ont., by attempting to walk home some 600 km along railway tracks and ultimately froze to death in the process.
Gord Downie has brought national attention to the story to of Charlie’s life through Charlie’s sister together with a book that’s been produced, a 10 track-album, and the animated film with help from illustrator Jeff Lemire.
Ultimately, Downie’s mission for us all is to look forward to the next 150 years in how Canada’s relationship with our indigenous people can improve, and that reconciliation might actually happen.
Proceeds from Secret Path are being donated to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation through The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. Gord’s hopes were to raise 100 million dollars through the fund.