THUNDER BAY – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, on behalf of the Executive Council, applauds the Order of Canada investiture of musician Gord Downie and activist Sylvia Maracle, who were honoured in recognition of outstanding Indigenous leadership at a special presentation of Canadian honours at Rideau Hall today:
“I am pleased to congratulate and celebrate the much-deserved Order of Canada appointments of Gord and Sylvia for their tremendous contributions to this country. Gord’s personal journey has brought the tragic history of the Indian Residential School system to a national audience, and we are deeply moved by his commitment to foster understanding and create awareness. Sylvia is a long-serving advocate for Indigenous and women’s issues, and was instrumental in the development of many programs and policies. Together, their accomplishments have helped improve the lives of our people and move Canada along the path to reconciliation.”
Tragically Hip members Rob Baker, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois and Gord Sinclair, were invested with Downie as Members of the Order of Canada for their contribution to Canadian music and for their support of social and environmental causes.
Maracle, Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, is recognized for pioneering work with internationally renowned organizations including the National Association of Friendship Centres, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Assembly of First Nations, and National Aboriginal Head Start.
Downie’s “Secret Path” multimedia project was launched last year around the 50th anniversary of the death of 12-year-old Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, who died on October 22, 1966 after fleeing Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in northwestern Ontario.
The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund was established with Wenjack family members as a catalyst to jumpstart reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples. For more information: www.secretpath.ca, www.downiewenjack.ca