[1][2], Chanie Wenjack was born in 1954 on the Ogoki Post on the Marten Falls Reserve. This originally was published in the February 1967 issue of Maclean’s magazine. “We tell this man he has to send his son to one of our schools, then we bring his boy back on a luggage car.”. On November 19, 2016, we set out from the former site of the Residential school and retraced the final journey of Chanie. The story being taught to Canadian children is littered with factual distortions and untruths. The bush undulates back from the railroad tracks like a bleak and desolate carpet. Chanie had frozen to death. An Indian woman in an alcoholic stupor was on her hands and knees on the floor, trying to get out the door. This month marks the 50th anniversary of the death of 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack, who died on October 22, 1966 after fleeing Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in northwestern Ontario. They said if I sent them back they would run away again. Eddie later broke down on the stand and had to be excused. He was at one such school at the age of six when he broke his left arm. Chanie was 12, and Indigenous. Chanie Wenjack was a young Anishinaabe boy from Ogoki Post in Marten Falls In Northern Ontario, Canada. Charlie was 12, and Indigenous. Chanie Wenjack, 12, died from exposure and hunger. Two years after his death, Gord Downie’s memorable concert performance of his Secret Path album, was recreated by performers in Toronto Saturday night. Chanie Wenjack and related information | Frankensaurus.com helping you find ideas, people, places and things to other similar topics. At that time the staff were all new and still trying to match names to faces. He didn’t eat anything himself but he drank some tea with the others. There are few areas in the country that are more forbidding. Fifty years ago this month, 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack ran away from a residential school. Kelly is a small man in his 50s. There’s not much else to say about Charlie Wenjack, except that on November 17 an inquest was held in the Kenora Magistrate’s Court. Bruises indicated that he fell several times. The first Walk for Wenjack took place in 2016 and retraced the steps of Chanie Wenjack. through the stumbling testimony of the boys, and in the bewildered silences behind those soft one-word answers, the full horror began to come out. View Full Article. Chanie (misnamed Charlie by his teachers) was a 12-year-old Anishinaabe boy who, along with two other classmates, ran away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ontario in October 1966. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com: accessed ), memorial page for Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack (19 Jan 1954–23 Oct 1966), Find a Grave Memorial no. He saw Charlie’s body lying beside the track. [1][2], On October 27, 1966, Wenjack was buried at the cemetery on the reserve beside the Albany River.[1][2]. When they found Charlie he didn’t have any identification. “The thing we remember most about him was his sense of humor. Today marks the 54th anniversary of the tragic death of Chanie Wenjack, an Anishinaabe boy, who at the tender age of 12, ran away from Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School run by The Presbyterian Church in Canada to return home, only to be found … This fall he wasn’t quite good enough to go back into the grade system, so he was placed in what is called a senior opportunity class. However, most of what is written and shown in these accounts about the tragic death of an Ojibway boy named Chanie Wenjack – an alleged victim of the residential school system whose frozen body was found curled up beside railway tracks in northwestern Ontario on the morning of October 23, 1966 several days after he ran away from a former Indian residential school where he was boarding – … Wikipedia. But Charlie didn’t ask anyone for anything. [1][2], On the morning of October 16, 1966, Wenjack and two school friends, orphaned brothers Ralph and Jackie MacDonald, ran away from the residential school, making it as far as Redditt, 31 km (19 mi) north of Kenora. 156087739, citing Ogoki Cemetery, Ogoki, Cochrane District, Ontario, Canada ; Maintained by … Chanie was born in 1954 and grew up in Ogoki Post on the Marten Falls Reserve in northern Ontario. On March 9, 2018 Trent University marked the official launch of the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies. Nobody goes into the bush without matches. The benefit concert is a recreation of the 2016 multimedia performance by the Tragically Hip lead singer on the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Ojibwe boy who died while escaping a residential school in 1966. In telling it simply, he had underlined the stark grimness of Charlie’s death. Just two blocks west at Second and Matheson I walked into a hamburger joint called the Salisbury House. He died as the white world’s rules had forced him to live—cut off from his people. They were all dry. Because Charlie wasn’t as strong as the others, they had to wait often while he rested and regained his strength. He collapsed and died sometime on the morning of October 23 in a rock cut near Farlane. His death… .I guess I’ll have to learn to keep my mouth shut. Nobody knows exactly when. Sometimes they lose a leg or an arm trying to climb aboard freight trains. The lonely death of Chanie Wenjack. The postmortem that was later performed on Charlie by Dr. Peter Pan. “That’s what they do to themselves,” he said in a tone of amused contempt. In one of the photographs an Ontario Provincial Police sergeant is pointing down at Charlie’s body, where it lies beside the CNR track. They won’t stay at the school. CHARLIE WENJACK would have been 13 years old on January 19, and it’s possible that during his short and disturbed life someone may have taken a snapshot of him — one of those laughing, open-faced, blurred little pictures one so often sees of children. And when a snow squall comes tunnelling through a rock cut it blots out everything in a blur of whiteness. Wenjack was 12 years old when he ran away from the Cecilia Jeffrey residential school in … That night all there was to eat were two potatoes. [1][2], His body was discovered beside the track at 11:20 am on October 23 by Elwood McIvor, a CN railway engineer on freight train number No. The story of Chanie "Charlie" Wenjack, whose death sparked the first inquest into the treatment of Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools. Joseph Boyden takes you to the heart of Chanie Wenjack and the agony and fear of the situation in which he finds himself. It was on the last part of this walk, probably by the tracks, that Charlie picked up a CNR schedule with a route map in it. The school, a bleak institutional building, stands on a few acres on the northeast outskirts of Kenora. Elwood contacted the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) who recovered the body an hour later with help from a CN section crew. And during those 36 hours that Charlie walked, there were snow squalls and freezing rain. The school was funded by the Canadian government and overseen by the Women’s Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church. The girl bought a pack of cigarettes, and then on the way out held the door open for the woman, who crawled out on her hands and knees and collapsed on the sidewalk. That same morning Charlie’s best friend, Eddie Cameron, showed up at the Kelly cabin. He was walking alone along a railway track, trying to make his way home to his father 600 kilometres away in northern Ontario. Nobody will know whether Charlie changed his mind about leaving or whether he wanted to see his friends one last time, but instead of striking out east along the railroad tracks, he walked north to Mud Lake, arriving at the cabin by the trapline before Kelly and his nephews got there in the canoe. A year after Wenjack's death an article written by journalist Ian Adams, "The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack," was published in February 1967 in Maclean's magazine. … And Charlie, who understood hardly any English, spent the first two years in grade one. The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Chanie’s death. “Chanie” was what his family called him.) Colin Wasacase, the principal, went along with them, too. He died while trying to walk 600 km back home. Charlie replied that he was leaving to go home to his father. On November 17 an inquest was begun and a report was commissioned and determined that: The Indian education system causes tremendous emotional & adjustment problems for these children. Fifty years after Chanie Wenjack's tragic death while running away from residential school, his sister says it's time every First Nation had its own school. The school was run by the Women’s Society of the Presbyterian Church. It was part of a collaborative effort to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Chanie's death. The coroner, Dr. R. G. Davidson, a thin-lipped and testy man, mumbled his own evidence when he read the pathologist’s report, then kept telling the boys who ran away with Charlie to speak up when answering the Crown attorney’s questions. When he left Kelly and his nephews and set out to walk home to his father. The frontman of the Tragically Hip worked with Toronto illustrator Jeff Lemire on Secret Path, which includes an album, graphic novel and animated film. Today, 23 October, is the 52nd anniversary of Chanie Wenjack’s death. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com: accessed ), memorial page for Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack (19 Jan 1954–23 Oct 1966), Find a Grave Memorial no. And Charlie would tell Eddie that he was going to leave soon to go home to his father. Topic. Because nothing ever really changes around here.”. Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack (born 19 January 1954; died 23 October 1966 near Redditt, ON). They are raising awareness and funds for the Walk for Chanie Wenjack. He has lived in them since he was a child, and taught in them. The story of the 12-year-old boy who froze to death beside the railway tracks while trying to walk 600 kilometres home is getting a very public retelling through Gord Downie's multi-media project, Secret Path. He probably spent hours, huddled behind rocks to escape the wind, gazing at the railroad tracks. Somewhere along the track he lost his map or threw it away. The sudden drop in temperature can leave a man dressed in a warm parka shaking with cold. That means he was a slow learner and had to be given special instruction in English and arithmetic. Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) First Nations boy who ran away from Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School where he boarded for three years while attending residential school in Kenora, Ontario, Canada. When the lights went down, the darkness felt overwhelming. Early the next morning the boys walked another half mile to the cabin of Charles Kells. They are large 8-by-10 prints, grey and underexposed, showing the thin, crumpled little body of a 12-year-old boy with a sharp-featured face. Comment Report abuse. He was an Indian. Wenjack had only a light windbreaker and walked for 36 hours in the wind as the temperature dropped to −6 °C (21 °F). Two years after his death, Gord Downie’s memorable concert performance of his Secret Path album, was recreated by performers in Toronto Saturday night. “It’s a story that should be told,” said the section foreman, Ed Beaudry. Anong Beam. Burton was gentle enough, but the boys were withdrawn and for the most part monosyllabic in their answers. He became lonely and ran away. Chanie Wenjack. Chanie Wenjack died 50 years ago this month: The Ojibwa boy froze by the side of Northern Ontario train tracks after running away from a residential school. It started at the Cecillia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, ON, and continued to Redditt, ON for a ceremony representing Chanie's final resting spot near Farlane, ON. Today the story of Wenjack has been seen as a symbol of resistance against the residential school system. It has been a true honour and a privilege to learn from and collaborate with the guest speakers who have shared their stories and ideas with Windsor students for this project. Travelling on foot in an attempt to make the 1,000-kilometre journey home to Ogoki Post, his body was found on October 23 along railroad tracks He didn’t start school until he was nine. HERITAGE MINUTES. Nobody told him to stay either. Chanie Wenjack, 12, died from exposure and hunger. He attended Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario. We did so with the blessing and support of the Wenjack family and Grand Council Treaty #3. Secret Path Week is a national week to remember the death of Chanie Wenjack, a young Anishinaabe boy who died trying to run away from residential school and reunite with his parents. He attended Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario. The Wenjack affair along with many other incidents would bring legislative reforms and class action lawsuits as well as the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Fifty years after Chanie Wenjack's tragic death while running away from residential school, his sister says it's time every First Nation had its own school. It meant that in early childhood his chest had been opened. The story of the 12-year-old boy who froze to death beside the railway tracks while trying to walk 600 kilometres home is getting a very public retelling through Gord Downie's multi-media project, Secret Path. The kid behind the counter suddenly turned whitefaced and angry, “No, we did,” he said. No, it was the higher-ups, the government,” replied the man. just four-and-a-half feet from the trains that carry the white world by in warm and well-fed comfort. Bruises indicated that he fell several times. “It was too dangerous for five in the canoe.” said Kelly, “so I told the stranger he would have to stay behind.”. Charlie’s father, grief-stricken, was bewildered and angry as well. “I showed him a good trail down to the railroad tracks. It is unlikely that Charlie ever understood why he had to go to school and why it had to be such a long way from home. I didn’t know what to do. The first Walk for Wenjack took place in 2016 and retraced the steps of Chanie Wenjack. © Copyright 2021 St. Joseph Communications. He had played hooky for one afternoon a week earlier, and for that he had been spanked by the principal, Colin Wasacase. None of the half-dozen whites sitting at the counter even looked at her. Wasacase understands that, too. The largest lecture hall on campus was subsequently named Wenjack Theatre in Wenjack's honour. The village he came from, Ogoki Post on the Martin Falls reservation, didn’t have a day school. Coroner Dr. Glenn Davidson determined the cause of the death was attributed to exposure and hunger. One person found this helpful. All Chanie wanted was to go home, which was over 600 km away in Ogoki Post on the Marten Falls First Nation reserve. Charlie had more than half of northern Ontario to cross. His article, “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack,” was published in Maclean’s magazine in 1967. If the worst comes to the worst you can always light a fire to keep warm. Today, 23 October, is the 52nd anniversary of Chanie Wenjack’s death. Share. Chanie had frozen to death. RELEASED 2016. We made them that way.”, The men at the counter looked at him with closed, sullen faces. An Anishinaabe boy, at age 12, he ran away from his residential school and subsequently died from hunger and exposure to the weather. “We? TORONTO -- Fifty years since the untimely death of Chanie Wenjack, Joseph Boyden is part of a collective of Canadian artists bringing renewed attention to the indigenous boy's tragic story. Occasionally, one of them dies. Animation on the screen above the band showed Chanie’s terrifying experience at … “I never seen him again,” said Clara Kelly. “Do you think it was because he wanted to see his parents?”, Before the boys were questioned, the constable in charge of the investigation, Gerald Lucas, had given the jury a matter-of-fact account of finding Charlie’s body. When Eddie Cameron, Charlie’s best friend, entered the witness box, Davidson unnerved Eddie with warnings about telling the truth and swearing on the Bible. And that’s all he had. Chanie’s attempt to return home and see his father led to his death on the side of railway tracks by hunger and exposure to harsh weather. The haunting lyrics sung in a deep voice that reminded me of my friend, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, stayed with me, and to this day, 30 some years later, I can still hear the song in my head. Chanie was born January 19, 1954. For more information about Chanie Wenjack visit The Canadian Encyclopedia. (That same day nine other children ran away. The wind whines through the jackpines and spruce, breaking off rotten branches, which fall with sudden crashes. For the 75 girls and 75 boys there are only six supervisors. 821. There is news today that this story is the inspiration for a new project from Gord Downie that will be released next month. The Kellys gave him some food and matches and suggested that he ask for help from the section maintenance crews stationed along the line. That the music was about the death of Chanie Wenjack was no surprise to some in the audience. We did so with the blessing and support of the Wenjack family and Grand Council Treaty #3. “I just work here part-time,” he said. Right there on the playground the three boys decided to run away. The Feburary 1967 Maclean's article "The lonely death of Chanie Wenjack" Reading that Maclean’s story now, the most unsettling fact is just how familiar it seems. When he talks he has a nervous habit of raking his fingers through his grey, shoulder-length hair. People similar to or like Chanie Wenjack. . I told him to ask the sectionmen along the way for some food.”. And it was beside a lot of water.’, On Thursday morning Kelly decided he would take his three nephews by canoe up to his trapline at Mud Lake, three miles north of Redditt. There were no Indians on the jury. He was found with no jacket, no food and only a couple of matchsticks. His feet, encased in ankle-high leather boots, are oddly turned inward. In 2016, Historica Canada released a Heritage Minute about the heart-breaking story of 12-year old Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, whose death sparked the first inquest into the treatment of Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools. From Nakina they all flew 110 miles north to Ogoki. He had found a CN passenger timetable which included a map and was using it as guide to get back home. Chanie (misnamed Charlie by his teachers) was a 12-year-old Anishinaabe boy who, along with two other classmates, ran away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ontario in October 1966. We did so with the blessing and support of the Wenjack family and Grand Council Treaty #3. Inside were half a dozen wooden matches. No, they didn’t understand why they couldn’t be with their relatives. Would they run away again? And during those 36 hours that Charlie walked, there were snow squalls and freezing rain. Read more. The Anishinaabe boy ran away from a local residential school at the age of 12 in an attempt to return to his home in Marten Falls and subsequently died from hunger and exposure to the weather. He died October 22, 1966, near Redditt, Ontario. [1][2], Wenjack had only a light windbreaker and walked for 36 hours in the wind as the temperature dropped to −6 °C (21 °F). "Wenjack" is a short novel by Joseph Boyden (winner of the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize) the tells the story of Chanie Wenjack (a native Canadian) who at the age of 13 died of hunger after fleeing the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School at age 13 in Kenora, Ontario, Canada. He buried Charlie, his only son, in the tiny cemetery on the north shore of the Albany River. Charlie must have fallen several times because bruises were found later on his shins, forehead and over his left eye. 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