Nishnawbe Aski Nation

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THUNDER BAY, ON (October 13): Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, on behalf of the Executive Council, expressed support and appreciation of a new fund launched by Canadian musician Gord Downie and the family of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack focused on creating new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.

“The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund is a fitting and lasting tribute to the legacy of Chanie’s memory and all of the youth from the Indian Residential School era who never made it home,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “We are deeply moved by Gord Downie’s personal journey to bring the tragic story of Chanie Wenjack to a national audience through his Secret Path project and we are pleased to support the establishment of this fund in his honour. “We are hopeful that all Canadians will be inspired by Gord’s determination to shed light on this dark chapter of our shared history and will embrace Chanie’s story as their own.”

The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund is a catalyst to jumpstart reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples, part of Gord Downie’s legacy, commitment and recognition of the wounds that will take generations to heal.

Donations to the Fund are now being accepted at

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the death of 12-year-old Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, who died on October 22, 1966 after fleeing Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in northwestern Ontario. Travelling on foot in an attempt to make the 1,000-kilometre journey home to Ogoki Post, his body was found on October 23 along railroad tracks approximately 60 kilometres from the school near Kenora, Ontario.

“The Secret Path” is a multimedia project by Gord Downie, lead singer for The Tragically Hip, including an album, graphic novel and animated film depicting Chanie’s short life.

For more information please contact: Michael Heintzman, Director of Communications – (807) 625-4965 or
cell (807) 621-2790 or by email

news release