Downie, Nishnawbe Aski Nation offer condolences after mother of Chanie Wenjack dies | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Downie, Nishnawbe Aski Nation offer condolences after mother of Chanie Wenjack dies

September 05, 2017 - 5:12 PM

GERALDTON, Ont. - The mother of Chanie Wenjack, the 12-year-old boy who died while trying to escape an Ontario residential school in 1966, has died.

The Nishnawbe Aski Nation says Agnes Wenjack, 89, died on Sept. 1 at the Geraldton District Hospital in northern Ontario.

An obituary describes her as the matriarch of the family, someone who loved nature and always helped others.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler expressed condolences to the Wenjack family and the Marten Falls First Nation, as did the family of singer Gord Downie, who told the story of Chanie Wenjack in his multimedia project "Secret Path."

The project won two Juno Awards, for adult alternative album and recording package of the year.

Downie wrote the songs which were released alongside a graphic novel and a CBC-TV special.

"On behalf of my brothers Gord and Pat, and the entire Downie family, I send our condolences and love to the Wenjack family on the recent passing of Agnes Wenjack," Mike Downie, the project's co-creator, said in a statement. "May her strength, love and devotion help guide and comfort you on your life’s long journey."

Fiddler said that like many who lost children to residential schools, Wenjack waited a lifetime for someone to explain why her son's life was cut short.

"She never received an answer, but we pray that she found some comfort having lived to see Chanie’s story immortalized as a catalyst for reconciliation, and a lasting tribute to all residential school students who never made it home," he said.

Visitation was scheduled for Tuesday evening, with a funeral service planned for Wednesday morning in Geraldton, Ont.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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