The Secret Path
After hearing about Chanie Wenjack’s life and death, Gord Downie began a personal project to tell the story of Chanie Wenjack and share it with other Canadians. The project began as ten poems written by Gord as he imagined what it would be like to be Chanie. These poems later became the lyrics to the Juno award-winning album, Secret Path.
In 2014, Gord and Mike brought Secret Path to comic artist Jeff Lemire and asked for help in illustrating Chanie’s story, bringing him and the many children like him to life. Despite his busy schedule, Jeff saw the merit in committing time to this project and together with Gord created Secret Path illustrated book.
Illustrations from Secret Path later formed the basis of the documentary, The Secret Path, co-produced by Mike Downie & Stuart Coxe, animating Chanie’s story and threading in footage of Gord’s northern Ontario visit to the Wenjack sisters.
The Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history—the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the Residential School system—with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation.
To learn more about the Secret Path project, visit www.secretpath.ca.
Impact of the Secret Path
The Secret Path has had a tremendous impact on people across the country and around the globe. To honour Chanie's short life, many have been inspired to create artwork and write letters the Downie and Wenjack families.