Gord Downie to Play Two Charity Concerts in Support of His Secret Path Reconciliation Project

By Aaron Brophy 9/20/16 | www.samaritanmag.com

Secret Path — photo via Arts & Crafts YouTube channel
Gord Downie's reconciliation music project the Secret Path is going live.

Downie's ambitious new Secret Path solo album, graphic novel and animated film project will now also include two live performances — one Oct. 16 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and another at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall on Oct. 21. Proceeds from these shows will be "directed to reconciliation" according to a Roy Thompson Hall release.

That reconciliation effort would be The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at The University of Manitoba. The NCTR is a project dedicated to preserving the often difficult history of the residential school system in Canada and its harmful effects on First Nations peoples.

The Secret Path project follows the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12 year-old boy who died while running away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario in 1966.

"Chanie haunts me," wrote Downie in a statement about the project. "His story is Canada’s story. This is about Canada. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be rewritten. 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.
"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, who's best known as the lead singer of The Tragically Hip, publicly revealed he'd been diagnosed with gioblastoma brain cancer in late May. The musician has not been spending his time idly since then. The Hip's recent tour across Canada helped raised more than $1 million for the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Watch the 'Secret Path' film trailer

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