TORONTO, Ont. (CelebrityAccess) — Artists Against Racism announced that the late Gordon Downie has been selected to receive the organization’s 2017 Humanitarian Award.
Downie, who was a founding member and instrumental to the AAR’s growth, also played a large role in campaigning for the rights of Canada’s Indigenous People.
“At a pretty early age, although I probably couldn’t articulate it, I probably believed that to contribute to racist tendencies–to tolerate it–would be to somehow aid in my own annihilation,” Downie said in a public service announcement he recorded for AAR before he passed.
In the final year of his life, Downie created a multi-media project called Secret Path pairing original music with a graphic novel to tell the story of Chanie Wenjack, an Ojibwe boy who was separated from his family at the age of nine and sent to Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in the 1960s.
Wenjack escaped from the school in 1966 but died of exposure as he attempted the 600km walk to his home at the at Ogoki Post, on the Marten Falls Reserve.