‘Canada is not Canada. We are not the country we think we are,’ says Gord Downie - APTN NewsAPTN News

‘Canada is not Canada. We are not the country we think we are,’ says Gord Downie



APTN National News
Canada is not the country many think it is, says ailing Tragically Hit singer Gord Downie who is releasing a solo album based on the story of Chanie Wenjack, a First Nation boy from Marten Falls First Nation who was found dead on railroad tracks near Kenora, Ont., after fleeing the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in October 1966.

Downie visited Wenjack’s home in Marten Falls on Thursday with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief Sheila North-Wilson and Ry Moran, the director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, CBC News reported.

The Hip frontman, who is suffering from terminal brain cancer, released a statement following the visit saying most Canadians had a misconception of the country. He said they were never told about the dark reality the country is built on the broken bodies of First Nation children and communities.

“We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable, but this begins in the late 1800s and goes to 1996. ‘White’ Canada knew – on somebody’s purpose – nothing about this. We weren’t taught it in school; it was hardly ever mentioned,” said Downie, in the statement. “All of 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. It will take seven generations to fix this. Seven. Seven is not arbitrary. This is far from over. Things up north have never been harder. Canada is not Canada. We are not the country we think we are.”

“All of 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. It will take seven generations to fix this. Seven. Seven is not arbitrary. This is far from over. Things up north have never been harder. Canada is not Canada. We are not the country we think we are.”

Downie said Wenjack’s story touched him deeply and his upcoming solo release, The Secret Path, is based entirely on the lost boy’s story.

“I never knew Chanie, but I will always love him. Chanie haunts me. His story is Canada’s story,” said Downie.

The singer said his project also aims to spread the former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Murray Sinclair who said that “this is not an Aboriginal problem. It’s a Canadian problem.”

Downie’s album will be accompanied by a graphic novel written by novelist Joseph Boyden and a film.

Proceeds from the project will go to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation which is now a repository for the files, photos and records of the Indian residential school era which lasted for over a century.

At least 3,000 children died in the schools, but the number is believed to be much higher as a result of poor record keeping along with lost and destroyed files.

news@aptn.ca

@APTNNews

Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to “‘Canada is not Canada. We are not the country we think we are,’ says Gord Downie”

  1. sheetoga370@hotmail.com'
    Nunachic Jenz September 9, 2016 at 5:04 pm #

    I’m from a residential school era as well. I had to leave my home community to attend high school grade 10-12. 1993-1996 Nunavut.
    The high school teachers were very supportive to all students that were from the 7 communities in the region. But having to live at a residence that had two dorms for the ladies and men. A mix t.v. Lounge meaning for both genders and we also had individual TV lounge for the women n men.
    All of us students were told to do chores by literally dusting, vacuuming , pick up garbages, in the lounges, wash the dishes in the kitchen with dish washers, mop and swept floors around the residence. Also to clean our rooms and we were my marked if we all did well or not with the chores. We were told of we don’t do well that we wouldn’t get our weekly allowance of $10 every Friday’s. And some of the supervisors were mean to a point where one would call me names. This residence was more of a physcological abuse but never ever heard of sexual abuse nor physical abuse.

    I also worked for a law firm in Winnipeg and interviewed some survivors from Saskatchewan , Manitoba , Ontario & Nunavut. Some of the stories were so bad I couldn’t erase most stories until a new day started for me.

    So I’m very grateful that all true Canadians are recognizing this history of all Indegineous people of Canada.

    My mother too was a survivor of the Churchill Vacational Center and she had told me stories of being slapped on her palms with rubber or sent to the corner of a wall. She was bullied by other women as well.
    My mother is a widow now and is sent to a senior home in Ottawa, Ontario all the way from the west coast of Hudsons Bay. She was sent by the social workers and doctors in our region and the health authorities in Manitoba. She was sent to Ottawa because the authorities said she has
    Dimentia. She was very broken hearted again that she had to be relocated even farther away from home. It’s like a relapse of her being relocated by the Ferderal and Nunavut government.

    It’s the year 2016 and all of the Nunavut elders are being sent away from their family and homes. Scattered all over Nunavut and out of the territory as far as Ontario because the senior homes in Nunavut have no beds available for elders or that this senior homes don’t have proper homes like locked door security doors for elders that might wander out there.

    So people of Canada I want you all to be aware that the elders of Nunavut are still being relocated due to poor home care facilities.

    Thank you Gord for making this era of all Indigenous people be known again. Much love and support to you for your kind heart. God bless you

  2. gabbys35@yahoo.com'
    Dani Kline September 10, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

    I am astounded at the comments I see on mainstream White Canadian social media from non-Native Canadians who are saying “I never knew”. I am a White American who has been following Canadian news from Albany, NY for years and I have seen plenty of stories calling attention to all this by Native Canadians. But, suddenly, White Canadians can see it because a famous White man they love says it? This is what it will probably take in my own country, as well, for White Americans to care about the situation of non-Whites here. I don’t mean to disparage Gord Downie’s efforts, because his heart is full of love and also, apparently this is what it takes. Just sad, sad about all of it.