Secret Path

Secret Path

Comic Book - 2016
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Secret Path is a ten song digital download album by Gord Downie with a graphic novel by illustrator Jeff Lemire that tells the story of Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago.

Chanie, misnamed Charlie by his teachers, was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to return home. Chanie's home was 400 miles away. He didn't know that. He didn't know where it was, nor how to find it, but, like so many kids--more than anyone will be able to imagine--he tried.

Chanie's story is Canada's story. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable. 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. Every year as we remember Chanie Wenjack, the hope for Secret Path is that it educates all Canadians young and old on this omitted part of our history, urging our entire nation to play an active role in the preservation of Indigenous lives and culture in Canada.

The next hundred years are going to be painful as we come to know Chanie Wenjack and thousands like him--as we find out about ourselves, about all of us--but only when we do can we truly call ourselves, "Canada."

Proceeds from Secret Path will be donated to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at The University of Manitoba.
Publisher: Toronto : Simon & Schuster Canada, 2016
Edition: Simon & Schuster Canada edition
ISBN: 9781501155949
Branch Call Number: FIC
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations (some colour) ; 31 x 31 cm
Additional Contributors: Lemire, Jeff


From Library Staff

Musician, Gord Downie (6 February 1964 – 17 October 2017) was the lead singer and lyricist for the Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip. Downie spent his final months speaking out in support of Indigenous people. He created Secret Path, a multimedia project designed to highlight the horrors of t... Read More »

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Mar 02, 2018

Oct 29, 2017

Secret Path is a Jeff Lemire graphic novel with an accompanying Gord Downie soundtrack. Together they tell the true story of Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died while fleeing the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School fifty years ago.

SCL_Heather Jul 24, 2017

This is a tragic story but I don't think you would learn much about it from this work if you didn't already know it. I admire what Gord Downie is trying to do by raising awareness of the horror of residential schools but I think the execution is weak.

May 27, 2017

Chanie Wenjack and all the children should not be forgotten. We owe them their stories and more.

This is a beautifully done tribute to a brave, tortured, saddened young boy who only wanted to go home. I was surprised that Chanie's story ended in 1966. I thought the Residential schools had ended years before this.

These stories must come out. For years we've heard of the Residential Schools, yet in vague terms. The stories of those who lived the experience have yet to be told. Chanie's story is heart-breaking. He should have been a happy, healthy boy growing to adulthood. Instead, he was a scared, hungry, cold child who died while trying to get home.

This graphic novel with the lyrics of 10 dedicated songs is a lovely tribute. It brings out Chanie's fears and suffering. It also gives him the peace he deserves. I hope Chanie's real story ended with peace.

May 20, 2017

This is a very big book, but since the illustrations are simple and repetitive, the space is wasted. Their is no narration or dialogue, only the lyrics, which are okay. I was already familiar with the story (what's next: McDonald's plastic toys with your happy meal?) An example of cultural misappropriation, have a look before the thought police burn all the copies of this book.

Mar 07, 2017

Downie and Lemire craft a beautiful and heartbreaking take on Chanie Wenjack's story.

SquamishLibraryStaff Jan 07, 2017

Haunting and beautifully illustrated, 'The secret path" tells the tragic story of Chanie Wenjack, an Anishinaabe child, who escapes his residential school and attempts to walk back home.

Jan 05, 2017

Beautifully illustrated with Gord's songs throughout. I highly recommend reading while listening the the accompanying album.

Marlowe Dec 29, 2016

Jeff Lemire's ghostly illustrations perfectly compliment the stirring lyrics by Gord Downie, in this tragic graphic novel. Retelling isn't the right word, because I believe many Canadian's (including myself) had never before heard the story of Chanie Wenjack. Here, Downie and Lemire confront Canada's past, one which has been hidden and ignored, though so important. An aboriginal child, Chanie was taken from his family to a Residential School. This novel tells of his escape in an effort to find home. As mentioned, Downie offers the readers songs to accompany the illustrations. Downie has released these songs, and I highly suggest you listen n order to fully experience the story.

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