Chanie Wenjack's Story -- Inspired by Gord Downie's Secret PathBy Finnoula O'Neill King
In 1963, 9 year old Chanie Wenjack of the Ojibwe First Nation was sent to a residential school in Kenora, Ontario
At the Residential School, Chanie faced physical and verbal abuse and lost his indigenous identity
In 1966, Chanie escaped the school, heading for Ogoki Post, 600 km from Kenora
He walked for 31 km through freezing weather, with nothing but the clothes on his back
Chanie died alone and in the cold, more than 50 km from the school he was imprisoned in. He died having had his First Nations identity sstripped from him by oppressive colonialism.
Sadly, Chanie's hardships were and still is shared by thousands of other indigenous youth throughout Canada. His journey has been immortalized through Gord Downie's Secret Path project, and by author Joseph Boyden in Wenjack. His story will live on forever.