On December 2nd at 9:30 p.m., North Park Theatre will present Secret Path, a new animation short film released by singer Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.
Secret Path tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Native boy who ran away from his residential school in 1966 and died 6 days later on the side of the tracks trying to get home. Downie launched the Secret Path album and animated short film to promote greater understanding between Native and non-Native communities, and to raise awareness about the historic impact of the residential school system, which continues to affect Native American and Canadian communities. After the showing, Cody McCormick of the Buffalo Sabres will discuss his Native heritage and a former student of Thomas Indian School will also share his story. Signed memorabilia by Downie, the Sabres, the Bills and the Bandits will be auctioned in support of the Downie & Wenjack Fund created by Gord and Mike Downie, as well as the Wenjack family, to promote reconciliation. Tickets to this event are $10 and on sale now at the North Park Theatre at 1428 Hertel Avenue in Buffalo or at the theatre website: www.northparktheatre.org.
On December 3rdt, when the Bruins visit Buffalo, the Sabres will feature a video presentation about Downie and Secret Path, and Downie’s brother Mike will be in attendance. Live performance photos of Gord Downie by photographer Bill Wippert will also be featured.
This initiative came at the request of Josée Lusignan, president of I Love First Peoples: “As a non-Native, I want to honour those who have died in residential schools and help improve relationships between our communities.”
I Love First Peoples is a Canadian charity that empowers Native youth to succeed through education and the motivation to stay in school. In support of the high suicide rates affecting Native youth, I Love First Peoples started a celebrity campaign that features over 100 actors, recording artists and athletes, including American celebrities such as Evanescence, Zahn McClarnon, Forrest Goodluck, Irene Bedard, among others.