He is lying on his back and his thin cotton clothing is obviously soaked. There is news today that this story is the inspiration for a new project from Gord Downie that will be released next month. His own parents kept him out of school for two years because another boy in the family died much the same way Charlie did. The arm turned gangrenous and was amputated. Downie performed “Secret Path” and “Here, Here and Here” from Secret Path at the Basement Revue show on December 18, 2014. He died trying to walk 400 miles home to his father, who lives and works on an isolated reservation in northern Ontario. Chanie runs away from the school in the dead of winter with two other boys. Charlie was 12, and Indigenous. If the teacher in the class made a joke, a play on words, he was always the first to catch on.”. We have seen other adults in the school throughout the film. Chanie’s home was 400 miles away. The frontman of the Tragically Hip worked with Toronto illustrator Jeff Lemire on Secret Path, which includes an album, graphic novel and animated film. In his 50s, he is known as a good man who doesn’t drink and provides well for his family. That means he was a slow learner and had to be given special instruction in English and arithmetic. “The Lonely Death of Chanie Wenjack” Written By Ian Adams, MacLean’s Magazine, 1967 The kid behind the counter suddenly turned whitefaced and angry, “No, we did,” he said. And then at some point on Saturday night, Charlie fell backward in a faint and never got up again. The Sunday they went to pick up Charlie’s body, intermittent snow and sleet blew through Kenora’s streets. “I never seen him again,” said Clara Kelly. At 11:20 a.m. on Sunday, October 23, engineer Elwood Mclvor was bringing a freight train west through the rock cut near Farlane, 12 1/2 miles east of Redditt. Gord Downie began Secret Path as ten poems incited by the story of Chanie Wenjack, a twelve year-old boy who died fifty years ago on October 22, 1966, in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario, walking home to the family he was taken from over 400 miles away. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations. A somber tone. But there was nothing stupid about Charlie. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! October 2, 2017. His article, “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack,” was published in Maclean’s magazine in 1967. The village he came from, Ogoki Post on the Martin Falls reservation, didn’t have a day school. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Canadian self-described (but disputed) Aboriginal author Joseph Boyden and Tragic Hipster Gord Downie took the sad story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Ojibway boy who froze to death in northern Ontario in 1966, and turned it into a book, songs and videos that grotesquely distort the truth in order to demonize the … When they found Charlie he didn’t have any identification. They circled the Kenora airfield and struck out north through the bush over a “secret trail” children at the school like to use. Credit: Macleans Secret Path Week is a national week to remember the death of Chanie Wenjack, a young Anishinaabe boy who died trying to run away from residential school and reunite with his … One man at the counter turned and looked at the woman. Chanie Wenjack, an Anishinaabe boy from Ontario, ran away from his residential school near Kenora at age 12, and subsequently died from hunger and exposure to the harsh weather. Just two blocks west at Second and Matheson I walked into a hamburger joint called the Salisbury House. He spent last year in what is called a junior opportunity class. Gord was introduced to Chanie Wenjack (miscalled “Charlie” by his teachers) by Mike Downie, his brother, … An Indian woman in an alcoholic stupor was on her hands and knees on the floor, trying to get out the door. And the jury was obviously moved. He, too, had run away from the school. Wasacase, in his early 30s, is a Cree from Broadview, Sask. So I let them stay. Eddie is also a nephew of Kelly’s. There are few areas in the country that are more forbidding. The wind whines through the jackpines and spruce, breaking off rotten branches, which fall with sudden crashes. Chanie (misnamed Charlie by his teachers) was a 12-year-old Anishinaabe boy who, along with two other classmates, ran away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ontario in October 1966. No, they didn’t understand why they had to be at the school. “I just work here part-time,” he said. Charlie had more than half of northern Ontario to cross. Wenjack is a historical fiction novella based on the story of Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack by Canadian author Joseph Boyden. His principal of last year, Velda MacMillan, believed she got to know him well. So it must have been with a defiant attempt to assert his own trail existence that he would take out his map and show it to his friend Eddie Cameron, and together they would try to make sense out of it. That night all there was to eat were two potatoes. Click here to view this article in the Maclean’s archive. It is even doubtful if his father really understood either. He didn’t start school until he was nine. Charlie wasn’t a strong boy. Chanie, misnamed Charlie by his teachers, was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to walk home. Charlie only knew “his dad lived a long way away. Simply browse this site on your smart phone. Downie was introduced to the story by his brother Mike, who shared with him Ian Adams' Maclean's story from February 6, 1967, "The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack." There are five police pictures of Charlie, though. But the most poignant suggestion was the one that reflected their own bewilderment: “A study be made of the present Indian education and philosophy. The crushed-rock ballast, so hard to walk on, is a pale-yellow supporting ribbon for the dark steel tracks. “I never said nothing to that,” says Kelly. When he left Kelly and his nephews and set out to walk home to his father. Chanie Wenjack died 50 years ago this month: The Ojibwa boy froze by the side of Northern Ontario train tracks after running away from a residential school. The coroner, Dr. R. G. Davidson, a thin-lipped and testy man, mumbled his own evidence when he read the pathologist’s report, then kept telling the boys who ran away with Charlie to speak up when answering the Crown attorney’s questions. That same morning Charlie’s best friend, Eddie Cameron, showed up at the Kelly cabin. Their story was forgotten. A disappointed tone. Because Canada is a haunted house." Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack was an Ojibwe First Nations boy who ran away from Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School where he boarded for three years while attending residential school in Kenora, Ontario, Canada. After spending more than two hours deliberating, they produced a written verdict and recommendations that covered one, long, closely written page of the official form. in northern Ontario. The sad truth about Chanie Wenjack. He died while trying to walk 600 km back home. He knows what Indian residential schools are all about. Read More: http://www.macleans.ca/society/the-lonely-death-of-chanie-wenjack/, This article comes from NationTalk: The 2010s The 2000s The 1990s The 1980s The 1970s The 1960s Two boys escaping a residential school followed tragically in the footsteps of Chanie Wenjack. And though he stayed alive for the next 36 hours, nobody saw him alive again. Chanie Wenjack died 50 years ago this month: The Ojibwa boy froze by the side of Northern Ontario train tracks after running away from a residential school. Visit Macleans.ca/service For questions regarding your subscription, call 1-888-622-5326 or e-mail us. "Chanie haunts me. I Will Not be Struck 1. THE LONELY DEATH OF CHARLIE WENJACK Charlie was 12. An hour later a section crew and two police officers went out to bring Charlie’s body back. That might have saved Charlie’s life. “That’s what they do to themselves,” he said in a tone of amused contempt. “No,” insisted the kid, “it was you, me, and everybody else. It meant that in early childhood his chest had been opened. Gord Downie had explained that this story is the inspiration for his Secret Path project. In their own way they tried to do their duty. “We tell this man he has to send his son to one of our schools, then we bring his boy back on a luggage car.”. https://nationtalk.ca/story/the-lonely-death-of-chanie-wenjack-macleans. Then he left. Son 1. He died as the white world's rules had forced him to live—cut off from his people. St. Joseph Communications uses cookies for personalization, to customize its online advertisements, and for other purposes. Today, 23 October, is the 52nd anniversary of Chanie Wenjack’s death. The Secret Path is an animated film from Gord Downie that tells the true story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who died while trying to escape from a residential school and travel back home. Because nothing ever really changes around here.”. The lonely death of Chanie Wenjack - Macleans.ca From www .macleans .ca - September 30, 2016 3:08 PM October 20, 2016 The runaway project: In 1967, Maclean’s told the heartbreaking story of Chanie Wenjack and his lonely death near a railway track outside Kenora, Ont. Chanie lights his final match. There were two housewives, a railroad worker, a service-station operator, and Robinson, who is a teacher at the Beaverbrae School in Kenora. He didn’t eat anything himself but he drank some tea with the others. The lonely death of Chanie Wenjack – Macleans, Nunatsiavut Government: President extends congratulations to respected Inuit elders on receipt on honorary degrees from MUN, The Confederacy of Treaty No. 2054 Views. The runaway project: In 1967, Maclean’s told the heartbreaking story of Chanie Wenjack and his lonely death near a railway track outside Kenora, Ont. “I told the boys they would have to go back to school. Robert MacBain. He carried an enormous, livid scar that ran in a loop from high on his right chest, down and up over his back. Gord was introduced to Chanie Wenjack (miscalled “Charlie” by his teachers) by Mike Downie, his brother, who shared with him Ian Adams’ Maclean’s story from February 6, 1967, “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack.” TRENT UNIVERSITY CHANIE WENJACK SCHOOL FOR INDIGENOUS STUDIES. It was published by Hamish Hamilton of Penguin Books in 2016 and features illustrations by Cree artist Kent Monkman. The author says that Chanie Wenjack would have been 13 years old on January 19. The story is also available in The Maclean’s Archives. I never seen a kid before who was so quiet like that.”, Nobody told Charlie to go. Because Charlie wasn’t as strong as the others, they had to wait often while he rested and regained his strength. Today, 23 October, is the 52nd anniversary of Chanie Wenjack’s death. The sudden drop in temperature can leave a man dressed in a warm parka shaking with cold. (That same day nine other children ran away. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. They said if I sent them back they would run away again. He was an Indian. He died as the white world's rules had forced him to live — cut off from his people. Wasacase understands that, too. MACLEANS In 1967, a Maclean’s cover story told the tragic tale of Chanie Wenjack, an Indigenous boy who died after running away from his residential school in … All Charlie had was a cotton windbreaker. The Wenjack and Downie families officially founded The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund in 2016 to support reconciliation between Indigenous and … But if a snap was taken, nobody knows where it is now. Yes, they were lonesome. In the three years he had been at the school Charlie had never run away. 642 talking about this. It was a terrible mistake.”. Davidson let Burton deal with the boys after that. None of the half-dozen whites sitting at the counter even looked at her. The lonely death of Chanie Wenjack - Macleans.ca From www .macleans .ca - September 30, 2016 3:08 PM There’s not much else to say about Charlie Wenjack, except that on November 17 an inquest was held in the Kenora Magistrate’s Court. And Charlie would tell Eddie that he was going to leave soon to go home to his father. February 1, 1967. Jackie, only 11, often played hooky. It is unlikely that Charlie ever understood why he had to go to school and why it had to be such a long way from home. Chanie attended the school for two years and ran away on October 16, 1966. CHARLIE WENJACK would have been 13 years old on January 19, and it’s possible that during his short and disturbed life someone may have taken a snapshot of him — one of those laughing, open-faced, blurred little pictures one so often sees of children. The bush undulates back from the railroad tracks like a bleak and desolate carpet. Burton was gentle enough, but the boys were withdrawn and for the most part monosyllabic in their answers. 3. “It was too dangerous for five in the canoe.” said Kelly, “so I told the stranger he would have to stay behind.”. Maclean’s Articles: The lonely death of Chanie Wenjack (2016) & (1967) Historica Canada, Heritage Minutes: Chanie Wenjack Statement of Apology Calls to Action Using the Lesson Plans The 50 minute Secret Path video can be overwhelming for students to watch in its entirety. “Do you think it was because he wanted to see his parents?”, Before the boys were questioned, the constable in charge of the investigation, Gerald Lucas, had given the jury a matter-of-fact account of finding Charlie’s body. By Ian Adams Slipping away was simple. Nobody told him to stay either. Home » Newswire » The lonely death of Chanie Wenjack – Macleans, by ahnationtalk on September 20, 20162207 Views, Charlie was 12, and Indigenous. . Charlie Wenjack was an Ojibway Indian attending Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ont. Gord Downie began Secret Path as ten poems incited by the story of Chanie Wenjack, a twelve year-old boy who died fifty years ago on October 22, 1966, in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario, walking home to the family he was taken from over 400 miles away. Although his death resulted in … We made them that way.”, The men at the counter looked at him with closed, sullen faces. Eddie later broke down on the stand and had to be excused. The kid wouldn’t give me his name. She was taking tests for a suspected case of TB. And that’s all he had. The temperature was between –1° and –6° C. It is not hard to imagine the hopelessness of his thoughts. Kelly told Charlie he would have to walk back because there was no room in the canoe. Maclean’s Articles: The lonely death of Chanie Wenjack (2016) & (1967) Historica Canada, Heritage Minutes: Chanie Wenjack Statement of Apology Calls to Action Using the Lesson Plans The 50 minute Secret Path video can be overwhelming for students to watch in its entirety. The lonely death of Chanie Wenjack – Macleans. It was a sunny afternoon and they were wearing only light clothing. Gord was introduced to Chanie Wenjack (miscalled “Charlie” by his teachers) by Mike Downie, his brother, … The earth and rocks are a cold brown and black. Consequently, Cecilia Jeffrey is, for 10 months in the year, really nothing more than an enormous dormitory. Joseph Boyden's plea for Canadians, on behalf of an Indigenous boy who died fleeing residential school. We have decided to include one song in each lesson plan. Charlie arrived at the Cecilia Jeffrey School, which is run by the Presbyterian Church and paid for by the federal government, in the fall of 1963. Joseph Boyden's plea for Canadians, on behalf of an Indigenous boy who died fleeing residential school. . © Copyright 2021 St. Joseph Communications. Canadian self-described (but disputed) Aboriginal author Joseph Boyden and Tragic Hipster Gord Downie took the sad story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Ojibway boy who froze to death in northern Ontario in 1966, and turned it into a book, songs and videos that grotesquely distort the truth in order to demonize the … Charlie replied that he was leaving to go home to his father. No, it was the higher-ups, the government,” replied the man. When he talks he has a nervous habit of raking his fingers through his grey, shoulder-length hair. Inside were half a dozen wooden matches. 6 First Nations affirm that Health Canada did not consult with the Nations to address the COVID-19 vaccine implementation plan, Outstanding service recognized by Premier Sandy Silver, MKO – Webinar on February 3: Moving Towards Enforceable Rights for Victims of Crime, Niagara Region: Regional Chair Bradley announces membership of Community Coordination Task Force for COVID-19 Vaccination, http://www.macleans.ca/society/the-lonely-death-of-chanie-wenjack/. Charlie must have fallen several times because bruises were found later on his shins, forehead and over his left eye. And perhaps because they are Indians, no one seems to care very much. through the stumbling testimony of the boys, and in the bewildered silences behind those soft one-word answers, the full horror began to come out. The girl bought a pack of cigarettes, and then on the way out held the door open for the woman, who crawled out on her hands and knees and collapsed on the sidewalk. They won’t stay at the school. Is it right?”. He saw Charlie’s body lying beside the track. We have decided to include one song in each lesson plan. When Eddie Cameron began to cry on the stand, the jury foreman, J. R. Robinson, said later, “I wanted to go and put my arms around that little boy and hold him, and tell him not to cry.”. Silence. “I work for the highways department . They put him in a coffin and took him back to Redditt and put him on the train with his three little sisters, who were also at the Cecilia Jeffrey School. The book follows Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Ojibwe boy, as he escapes from a … Mrs. Kelly gave him some wooden matches and put them in a little glass jar with a screw cap so they would keep dry. His feet, encased in ankle-high leather boots, are oddly turned inward. The boy, Chanie, is even based on a real boy named Charlie. What do you think will happen? Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack (January 19, 1954 – October 23, 1966) was an Ojibwe boy who was famous for running away from a residential school. His ordeal and his death brought attention to the treatment of … “If you swear on that book to tell the truth, and you tell lies, you will be punished.” Which seemed unnecessary because, as Crown Attorney E. C. Burton pointed out, a juvenile doesn’t have to be sworn in at an inquest. That’s the position they found him in. This is clearly shown right from the topic of the written material, "The lonely death of Chanie Wenjack". In fact, he was thin and sickly. Kelly is their uncle and favorite relative. When Eddie Cameron, Charlie’s best friend, entered the witness box, Davidson unnerved Eddie with warnings about telling the truth and swearing on the Bible. In one of the photographs an Ontario Provincial Police sergeant is pointing down at Charlie’s body, where it lies beside the CNR track. Like most of the Indians in the area, he leads a hard life and is often desperately hungry. His death in 1966 sparked national attention and the first inquest into the treatment of Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools. Nobody knows exactly when. Gord Downie was introduced to Chanie’s life and death by the Maclean’s magazine article “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack” and was inspired to create a concept album, Secret Path, about Chanie’s story. All were caught within 24 hours.). It was late at night when the three boys got to Redditt: it had taken them more than eight hours. Kelly is a small man in his 50s. I couldn’t let them run around in the bush. The church services were over, and the congregations from Knox United Church and the First Presbyterian Church, which face each other at Second Street and Fifth Avenue, were spilling out onto the sidewalks. Because Canada is a haunted house." His article, “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack,” was published in Maclean’s magazine in 1967. The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund is part of Gord Downie’s legacy. Downie performed “Secret Path” and “Here, Here and Here” from Secret Path at the Basement Revue show on December 18, 2014. Learn more or sign up now for a 30-day free trial. We see the image of Chanie’s teacher in the classroom. “We? The sad truth about Chanie Wenjack. All they got out of his pockets was a little glass jar with a screw top. It’s the only way you can get to Charlie’s home. Why do you think the artist chose to never show the faces of the adults in the school? You can use your smart phone to browse stories in the comfort of your hand. He died as the white world's rules had forced him to live—cut off from his people. The mother of Chanie Wenjack, the 12-year-old boy who froze to death while on the run from a residential school and who later inspired a generation of … If the worst comes to the worst you can always light a fire to keep warm. 3. At that time the staff were all new and still trying to match names to faces. Colin Wasacase, the principal, went along with them, too. He has lived in them since he was a child, and taught in them. He attended Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora. “Indian children’s early medical records are practically impossible to track down,” explains Kenora’s public-health doctor, P. F. Playfair. This gathering of relations subtly put Charlie Wenjack out in the cold. He died as the white world’s rules had forced him to live—cut off from his people. The school, a bleak institutional building, stands on a few acres on the northeast outskirts of Kenora. Chanie Wenjack Chanie was born January 19, 1954. After Wenjack's death, the Canadian government started to investigate residential schools. In 1967, Maclean’s told the tragic tale of Chanie Wenjack, an Indigenous boy who died after running away from his residential school in northern Ontario. In telling it simply, he had underlined the stark grimness of Charlie’s death. Sometimes they lose a leg or an arm trying to climb aboard freight trains. So this, then, is the story of how a little boy met a terrible and lonely death, of the handful of people who became involved, and of a town that hardly noticed. He became lonely and ran away. From Nakina they all flew 110 miles north to Ogoki. Most of the people who have been mentioned in this story were there. It’s not so unusual that Indian children run away from the residential schools they are sent to. This originally was published in the February 1967 issue of Maclean’s magazine. Gord Downie was introduced to Chanie’s life and death by the Maclean’s magazine article “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack” and was inspired to create a concept album, Secret Path, about Chanie’s story. "Why Chanie Wenjack, you might still ask? “He was always looking at this map,” said Mrs. Kelly, “and you couldn’t get nothing out of him. Chanie Wenjack was a young Anishinaabe boy from Ogoki Post in Marten Falls . Occasionally, one of them dies. IAN ADAMS February 1 1967 He had played hooky for one afternoon a week earlier, and for that he had been spanked by the principal, Colin Wasacase. The jury found that “the Indian education system causes tremendous emotional and adjustment problems.” They suggested that the school be staffed adequately so that the children could develop personal relationships with the staff, and that more effort be given to boarding children in private homes. Robert MacBain. I told him to ask the sectionmen along the way for some food.”. 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