Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Chanie Wenjack

Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack was born on January 19,1954; he died 23 October 1966. His story is one of the saddest in Canadian history. At age 12, Wenjack, an Anishinaabe boy, ran away from his residential school, and subsequently died from hunger and exposure while trying to walk back to his home 600km away. His death sparked national attention and the first inquest into the treatment of Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools.

His story is the inspiration for a new project by Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip. Downie worked with Toronto illustrator Jeff Lemire on Secret Path, which includes an album, graphic novel and animated film.

Willie Dunn was Canadian film maker, folk musician, playwright and politician. In 1978 he wrote a song about the boy that brings tears to my eyes.

Walk on, little CharlieWalk on through the snow.Heading down the railway line,Trying to make it home.Well, he's made it forty miles,Six hundred left to go.It's a long old lonesome journey,Shufflin' through the snow.
Listen to Willie Dunn sing Charlie Wenjack

And I want to read Joseph Boyden's novel Wenjack

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