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Mike Downie

November 17, 2017 by Speakers' Spotlight

Moving Forward on Indigenous Education

The weeks following his brother Gord’s passing have been hard on Mike Downie, but they’ve also been busy. The pair co-created Secret Path—a multi-media project consisting of an album and a graphic novel and film (with artist Jeff Lemire) that captured the hearts and minds of Canadians. That evolved into the Chanie Wenjack Fund, a cause Gord passionately championed in his final time with us and his brother hasn’t stopped fighting for what the pair saw as a critical issue in Canada.

The CBC recently spoke to Mike about what progress he’s seen since the creation of this project and about some positive steps he’s already seen from the Province of Ontario around making curriculum changes to reflect more of the Indigenous story.

In the article, excerpted below, we learn Mike Downie’s three steps to reconciliation:

Helping solve the legacy of pain between Canada and its Indigenous peoples starts with three steps, he explained.

The first is awareness, the second education and the third is taking action. Downie said that final step offers every Canadian an opportunity to share their skills in a special way.

“I think a lot of people shy away from it because they maybe feel some guilt or just don’t know enough about it, but that’s where we all start,” he added.

Gord may have passed on, but Downie said his brother’s legacy can live on through the fund and the actions of everyday Canadians.

“I hope my brother has played a small role in that. I know he reached a lot of people when he stood on the stage in Kingston at his last show and said ‘We need to look to these people we’ve been trained to ignore,'” he said. “I think Gord being Gord, put a spark to quite a big pile of kindling, but a lot of people have been working on these issues for a long time.”

Read the full CBC story here.