Since May 2021: A Year of Grief, Action, and Change

This week marks one year since people throughout Canada and the world learned of the recovery of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. The past year has been a significant one for many reasons. During this time, we experienced profound grief as communities began the process of investigating the grounds of former residential schools. These processes have led to the identification of thousands of confirmed or suspected unmarked graves. Through this grief, however, we have also seen action from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working to appropriately address the legacy of harm. Canada has changed—it can never be the same.

 


 

A Year in Review

We want to thank you for your continued commitment to honouring the stories and truths of Indigenous people, communities, and all those affected by residential schools. No matter where you are on the path to reconciliation, there is always the opportunity to further your commitment through education, action, and connection.

As part of DWF’s efforts to help people in Canada educate themselves about reconciliation, here is a brief recap of some important developments from the past year:

May 27, 2021

Remains of 215 children found buried at former B.C. residential school, First Nation says

June 5, 2021

Royal assent given to bill creating national day for truth and reconciliation

July 1, 2021

Country reckons with horrific legacy of residential schools on Canada Day

Sept 24, 2021

Catholic bishops apologize for abuses at residential schools

Nov 2, 2021

Ontario to release death registrations of 1,800 Indigenous children

Dec 13, 2021

‘An important step’: Feds pledge up to $40B to compensate First Nations kids, reform child welfare

Jan 20, 2022

NCTR signs agreement with Ottawa to receive more residential schools records

Apr 2, 2022

Pope Francis apologizes to Indigenous delegates for ‘deplorable’ abuses at residential schools

Apr 29, 2022

Ottawa promises a national monument to survivors and victims of residential schools

May 18, 2022

One quarter of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools have grave searches underway

 

#215Pledge is a Commitment to Taking #reconciliACTION

As these truths continue to be told, it is our responsibility to continue learning about the longstanding history and impact residential schools continue to have today, and commit to taking action to move reconciliation forward. Share the 215+ Pledge today!

Share the Pledge

 


 

One Year Later Impact Report

The ongoing recoveries are a painful reality for many. We want to recognize and honour the lived experiences and truths of Indigenous people, communities, and all those affected by residential schools and the continued injustices experienced by Indigenous people and communities.

The recoveries were a turning point for truth and reconciliation in Canada as many people began their own journey towards reconciliation. Since last year, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund has received an outpouring of support from people who were searching for a way to contribute meaningfully to moving reconciliation forward. With your help, DWF has made significant strides; take a look at how we made change together through our One Year Later Impact Report.

One Year Later Impact Report

 


 

Indigenous History Month

To celebrate Indigenous History Month, DWF is hosting four virtual events throughout the month of June. In addition to celebrating Indigenous history, culture, and arts, we will also be raising awareness of the true history and impact of Canada’s residential school system. All people in Canada, from coast to coast to coast, are invited to tune in for each of the events.

The themes for this year’s program are reflection, honour, and commitment, and will feature Indigenous teachings, artist performances, and cultural presentations from the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick. Finally, the month will conclude with a special Canada-wide episode. The events can be viewed live on the dates and times listed above on DWF’s  Facebook page and YouTube channel. With so many incredible performances and guests, Indigenous History Month 2022 is shaping up to be an exciting celebration and we hope you will join us.

Register Today

 


 

Resources to Continue Your Learning Journey

Continued learning is critical for reconciliation. Continue your learning journey by taking a look at some of our recommended resources.

Educational Resources

 


 

Mental Health Resources

Mental Health Crisis Lines and Mental Health Resources for Indigenous Community Members

Hope for Wellness – Indigenous help line: 1-855-242-3310
Online chat: www.hopeforwellness.ca/
Indian Residential School Survivor 24 Hour Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
Canada Suicide Prevention Service 24 Hour Crisis Line: 1-833-456-4566
Text 45645 (4PM – 12AM EST)
Kids Help Phone: Indigenous Peoples can connect with an Indigenous volunteer crisis responder, when available, by texting FIRST NATIONS, INUIT, or METIS to: 686868 for youth 741741 for adults

 

National Mental Health Crisis Support

Canada Suicide Prevention Service 24 Hour Crisis Line: 1-833-456-4566
Text 45645 (4PM – 12AM EST)
Kids Help Phone 24- Hour Services: 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868

Legacy Schools: June is Indigenous History Month!

June is Indigenous History Month and we’ve got a ton of exciting events happening online and in-person all month long! Our DWF art workshops have been awarded and will be taking place virtually; meanwhile, in Toronto, there will be an in-person event for Legacy Schools at Scotiabank Arena! Finally, with the end of the school year fast approaching, we would love it if you could let us know how we are doing through our year-end survey. Your feedback helps inform our work and we greatly appreciate your opinion!

 


Legacy Schools Celebration

You’re Invited! DWF’s National Indigenous Peoples Day at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON.


Pearl, Daisy, and Evelyn, Chanie’s sisters, at Secret Path Live in 2016 – we’re getting ready for a similar celebration honouring National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21st at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON.

As a member of DWF’s Legacy Schools program, we’d like to invite you to a special event on June 21st for National Indigenous Peoples Day!

In partnership with Scotiabank and MLSE, we are inviting up to 1000 students from our Legacy Schools to join us for a half-day of education and celebration. The morning will kick off with a series of musical performances from local Indigenous artists and other special guests, followed by a Walk for Wenjack where youth can visit different learning stations and participate in meaningful discussions about Indigenous knowledge, language, and culture.

Date: June 21st, 2022
Time: 10:00am – 1:45pm EST
Location: Scotiabank Arena, 40 Bay St., Toronto, ON M5J 2X2

We are happy to offer an honorarium of $500 to support transportation to and from the arena. Lunch will also be provided. Space is limited, and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are interested in attending, please fill out this form.

If you are unable to join us in person, not to worry! This is a hybrid event. We are happy to provide you with a virtual link so that your class may enjoy the concert. We will also send you a special virtual toolkit so you can spend the afternoon learning alongside us. Keep your eyes open for more information!

 


Virtual Events for Indigenous History Month

Indigenous History Month is fast approaching, and to celebrate we’re hosting four virtual events throughout the month of June!

The themes for this year’s program are reflection, honour, and commitment, and will feature Indigenous teachings, artist performances, and cultural presentations from the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick. Finally, the month will conclude with a special Canada-wide episode.

Click here to view the full artist lineup and the dates that each episode will air.

 

PROUD COMMUNITY EVENT PARTNERS

 


Art Workshops for Indigenous History Month

​​​​​​Mimi O’Bonsawin kicks off the first art workshop at Whitney Public School, Whitney, ON.


Patrick Hunter does a virtual art workshop with Youth Ambassador’s school.

Congratulations to the 20 Legacy Schools groups who will be participating in Indigenous History Month Art Workshops! We were incredibly impressed by the submissions from schools and youth groups!

Schools that were selected are:

Lindsay Lickers – Beading and Treaties Workshops

  • J. Alcock – RD Parker Collegiate, Thompson, MB
  • S. Downing – Algonquin Public School, Woodstock, ON

Patrick Hunter – Painting and Grandfather Teachings

  • D. LeBlanc – Red Lake District High School, Red Lake, ON
  • J. Sheppard – Colonel Gray Senior High School, Charlottetown, PEI
  • J. Keefer – Cedar Elementary School, Campbell River, BC
  • J. Townsend – Range Lake North School, Yellowknife, NWT
  • C. Helin – Admiral Seymour Elementary, Vancouver, BC

Zoey Roy – Music – How to Rap Video Series

  • A. Whittle – Jonas Samson Middle School, Meadow Lake, SK
  • M. DeCoste – St. Matthew School, Calgary, AB
  • J. Henderson – Timmins High, Timmins, ON
  • J. Chabot – Ecole Dr Knox, Kelowna, BC

Mimi O’Bonsawin – Music Song Writing Workshops (FRENCH)

  • M. Gabrielle Samson – École acadienne de pomquet, Antigonish, NS
  • S. Sissons – Mamquam Elementary School, Squamish, BC
  • A. Schutt – Whitney Public School, Whitney, ON
  • A. Contrada – All Saints High School, Calgary, AB
  • S. Page – Nelson Rural School, Miramichi, NB

Destiny Hoostie – Beading and Cree Language Workshops

  • G. Cloutier – St. Michael’s High School, Low, QC
  • A. Whalen – Catalina Pathfinder Unit, Catalina, NL

Frances Nicholas & Rebecca Salmonson – Seal Skin Bracelets Workshops

  • J. Avery – Kullik Ilihakvik Elementary, Cambridge Bay, NU
  • G. Bourque – Yarmouth Elementary, Yarmouth, NS

 


Artist Ambassador Visits Starting Again


Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers/Secret Path Band) visited Ladysmith Secondary School’s amazing Land and Language classroom and spoke to several classes about working with Gord on Secret Path and how we can all do something to make change.

We’re happy to announce that in-person Artist Ambassador visits have started again. There will be more next year, so stay tuned!

Sandra Sutter visited with James Short Memorial’s Kindergarten and Grade 1 students to talk about Secret Path and the great work they have been doing walking for Wenjack. Sandra also performed for their first whole school assembly!

 


Tell Us How We’re Doing!

Has the Legacy Schools program inspired change in your students and the youth you work with? We would love to hear more about it! At the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF), we encourage self-reflection, and we like to explore the impact of Legacy Schools each year. To help facilitate this, we have designed an engaging tool for you to allow your students (either individually or as an entire class) to reflect on the most significant change they have experienced.

Most Significant Change Survey

Please take a moment and let us know how we are doing by completing this quick Legacy Schools year-end survey! Your feedback could win you a gift card!

Year End Survey

 


Update Your Mailing Address to get your Legacy School Booster Kit this Fall

We’re getting ready to send you updated materials and new DWF swag this September! The Legacy Schools program turns 5 years old and we will have exciting new resources for your classroom. Please remember to let us know if you have changed schools or are leaving and someone else is taking over for you.

Update Legacy Schools Contact Info

 


Send us your ReconciliACTIONs

We love seeing and sharing what Legacy Schools are doing! Send us your reconciliACTIONs for a chance to be featured in our ReconciliACTION Guidebook, as well as next year’s Legacy School materials and other DWF communications!

Submit Yours Here

 

Share your ReconciliACTIONs on social media

We love seeing the change you’re making – and so does the DWF community! Share your photos and tag us on social media @downiewenjack and we’ll try our best to share with our networks.

Spring has Sprung for DWF!

Spring has sprung for DWF, which means our Legacy Schools Poster Challenge is back, and Indigenous History Month is just around the corner. Take a look below for more information and an exciting update on our Legacy Spaces Program!

With so many exciting upcoming events, you won’t want to miss out! Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay connected and receive updates on our virtual events and video content.


Indigenous History Month 2022

June 2022: Indigenous History Month. Northwest Territories June 8. Saskatchewan June 15. New Brunswick June 22. Canada June 29.

Indigenous History Month is fast approaching, and to celebrate we’re hosting four virtual events throughout the month of June! In addition to celebrating Indigenous history, culture, and arts, we will also be raising awareness of the true history and impact of Canada’s residential school system. All peoples in Canada, from coast to coast to coast, are invited to tune in for each of the events.

The themes for this year’s program are reflection, honour, and commitment, and will feature Indigenous teachings, artist performances, and cultural presentations from the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick. Finally, the month will conclude with a special Canada-wide episode.

With so many incredible performances and guests, Indigenous History Month 2022 is shaping up to be an exciting celebration and we hope you will join us!

View Full Artist Lineup

 


Legacy Schools Poster Challenge Closing May 13


Taylor from Kelowna Secondary School in BC answered the question, “How does mental health influence our ties to the land, family, community, and relationships?” and won second place in last year’s Poster Contest.

Spring Poster Challenge 2022:

As part of the Legacy Schools Program, participants are encouraged to engage in reconciliACTIONs throughout the year. This year, students and youth are asked to create a poster that answers the question: what does reconciliACTION mean to you, your family, or your community?

View our Poster Challenge Details

Prizes:

  • Students will win an amazing prize pack including an Orange Shirt from DWF
  • Teachers with the most class participation will be entered into a draw to win a classroom set of DWF Orange Shirts

Six Categories:

  • Elementary Pre-K – Grade 5 (ages 4-10 years)
  • Middle Grade 6 – 8 (11-13 years)
  • Secondary/High School 9-12 (14-18 years)
  • Post-secondary education/Young Adult (18-25 years)
  • Youth Group or Club
  • Class/Group with most submissions (up to 25 Orange Shirts will be offered to leader/teacher in charge)

Deadline: Friday, May 13, 2022.

Winners Announced: Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Prizes will be mailed out to schools or homes based on safety and health measures in place in that region.

Submissions should be high quality artwork 8.5×11 inches, at 300 dpi resolution.

Submit PDF Files Here

 


Legacy Schools: Moving schools? Taking a leave of absence? Changing Clubs? Let us know! 

We’re getting ready to send you some updated materials in September’s Legacy School Booster Kits that you won’t want to miss! Please let us know if you’re changing positions so we can send your Legacy Schools Booster Kit to your new location or pass it along to someone who is taking over for you.

Update Contact Information

 


Legacy Spaces Updates


Established in the summer of 2018 by the Abbotsford Arts Council, the Kariton Art Gallery Legacy Space features an ongoing rotation of local Indigenous artwork and serves as an open community gathering space.

ReconciliACTIONs from Our Partners

Hydro One is preparing to launch a Legacy Space at their head office in Toronto later this year. The Legacy Space will be a safe place to build cultural understanding and a path towards truth and reconciliation with their team members and guests. Through their Power to Give initiative, which supports Hydro One employees in giving back through fundraising and volunteer opportunities, they have raised more than $34,000 in additional support for DWF this year!

Meet our Latest Partners

 

 

Learn more about Legacy Spaces

Legacy Schools: Spring Poster Challenge, Red Dress Day, and More

Thank you to those who applied to the Youth Ambassador program and for a free virtual art workshop – we had over 150 applicants for 20 spots! We will be in touch with selected applicants soon. As well, our Spring Poster Challenge is still open, we can’t wait to see what reconciliACTION means to youth, their family, and community! For details on this and more, check out all the exciting things we are getting up to below.


Indigenous History Month 2022

Indigenous History Month is fast approaching, and to celebrate we’re hosting four virtual events throughout the month of June! In addition to celebrating Indigenous history, culture, and arts, we will also be raising awareness of the true history and impact of Canada’s residential school system.  All peoples in Canada, from coast to coast to coast, are invited to tune in for each of the events.

The themes for this year’s program are reflection, honour, and commitment, and will feature Indigenous teachings, artist performances, and cultural presentations from the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick. Finally, the month will conclude with a special Canada-wide episode

Click here to view the full artist line up and dates that each episode will air.

With so many incredible performances and guests, Indigenous History Month 2022 is shaping up to be an exciting celebration and we hope you will join us!


Red Dress Day – May 5

Students at Ecole Catholique Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys in Woodstock, ON created a display with the names and photos of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit people to raise awareness and create change.

The National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people (MMIWG2S+) is coming up on May 5. This day is also known as Red Dress Day, as it began as an art installation by Jaime Black and as an “aesthetic response to more than 1000 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada”.

After obtaining permission to organize a ceremony, two Legacy Schools, Secondary Catholic Notre-Dame and École Catholique Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys in Woodstock, ON prepared a day of recognition for all MMIWG2S+ in our country. This day of mourning and recognition took place on October 22 as part of their Secret Path Week.


May 5: Resources for Schools

Georges P. Vanier Secondary in Courtenay, BC honoured the Red Dress Project.

Learn more about how to include Red Dress Day and the National Inquiry’s Final Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people in your lessons and activities with youth.

The Final Report of the National Inquiry into MMIWG, titled Reclaiming Power and Place, is comprised of the truths of more than 2,380 family members, survivors of violence, experts, and Knowledge Keepers who shared their experiences over two years of public hearings and evidence gathering. There are 231 Calls for Justice directed at governments, social service providers, schools, and all people in Canada.

Watch Theland Kicknosway’s previous DWF LIVE session where he discusses the importance of understanding MMIWG2S+ and their families.

Reclaiming Power and Place

Red Dress Project

Legacy Schools MMIWG2S+ Resources


Spring Poster Challenge

Liam, a student from Ecole James Nisbet Community School in Winnipeg, MB submitted this poster in response to the question, “What does allyship mean to you?” a few years ago.

Spring Poster Challenge 2022: What does reconciliACTION mean to you?

As part of the Legacy Schools Program, participants are encouraged to engage in reconciliACTIONs throughout the year. This year, students and youth are asked to create a poster that answers the question: what does reconciliACTION mean to you, your family, or your community?

View our Poster Challenge details

Prizes:

  • Students will win an amazing prize pack including an Orange Shirt from DWF.
  • Teachers with the most class participation will be entered into a draw to win a classroom set of DWF Orange Shirts.

Six Categories:

  • Elementary Pre-K – Grade 5 (ages 4-10 years)
  • Middle Grade 6 – 8 (11-13 years)
  • Secondary/High School 9-12 (14-18 years)
  • Post-secondary education/Young Adult (18-25 years)
  • Youth Group or Club

Class/Group with most submissions (up to 25 Orange Shirts will be offered to leader/teacher in charge)

Deadline: Friday, May 13, 2022.

Winners Announced: Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Prizes will be mailed out to schools or homes based on safety and health measures in place in that region.

Submissions should be high quality artwork 8.5×11 inches, at 300 dpi resolution.

Submit PDF files here


Tell us How we’re Doing!

It’s spring and the end of the school year is in slight! We want to hear about your experience with the Legacy Schools program and how we can improve our toolkits and booster packs coming in September. Please take a moment to complete our survey and a chance to win a DWF Prize pack!

Fill out the Survey


Moving schools? Taking a leave of absence? Changing Clubs? Let us know!

We’re getting ready to send you some amazing updated materials in September’s Booster Kits that you won’t want to miss! Please let us know if you’re changing positions so we can send your Legacy Schools Booster Kit to your new location or pass it along to someone who is taking over for you.

Update Contact Information


Upcoming DWF Live & Events

Each month, Indigenous artists and leaders will join Legacy Schools classrooms and youth groups for live performances, storytelling, and more as we continue to explore how we can all move reconciliation forward. Sign your Legacy School group up today for free to engage with our Artist Ambassadors each month.

Stephanie Harpe | Voice for Indigenous Peoples Rights

When: Monday, April 25th at 1:00pm EST

Stephanie is an International Advocate for Murdered or Missing and Exploited Indigenous Peoples (MMEIP), a murder attempt survivor, and a family member of MMEIP who was also a part of public testimony for the national inquiry. Harpe is an acclaimed Indigenous advocate whose notable achievements include being a keynote speaker for the United Nations, traveling to 45 Indigenous communities in western Canada, and hosting a MMEIP support group for three years.

Register Here


Legacy Schools: ReconciliACTIONS

Ms. Tenenbaum’s class at Thomas Lester Wells Public School in Toronto, ON has been unpacking Chanie’s residential school experience through the artwork of the ”Secret Path”.

Ms. Tenenbaum’s class at Thomas Lester Wells Public School in Toronto, ON has been examining the Secret Path using the art of Jeff Lemire to unpack Chanie’s residential school experience. After reading the “Secret Path”, students analyzed the imagery in two of the songs. Following their analysis, they selected a powerful image from the book and recreated the picture using the same watercolour and ink techniques Lemire uses in his illustrations. Thank you for sharing your students’ beautiful artwork, and inspiring others to take reconciliACTION, Ms. Tenenbaum!.

Send us your ReconciliACTIONS

We love seeing and sharing what our Legacy Schools are doing! Send us your reconciliACTIONs for a chance to be featured in our ReconciliACTION Guidebook, in next year’s Legacy School materials, and other DWF communications!

Submit Yours Here

Share your ReconciliACTIONs on social media

We love seeing the change you’re making – and so does the DWF community! Share your photos and tag us on social media @downiewenjack and we’ll try our best to share with our networks.

DWF Workshops, Live Events, and Last Call for Youth Ambassadors!

As summer approaches, we are gearing up for some exciting events you won’t want to miss out on! The deadline for applications for our Legacy Schools virtual art workshops as well as our Youth Ambassador Program are fast approaching so be sure to submit yours today! Also, don’t forget to check out our latest Legacy Space partner, Bimbo Canada, and join us for more DWF Live events with special guests, Theland Kicknosway and Stephanie Harpe. For more information on what we are up to this month, check out all the details below!


Legacy Schools Virtual Art Workshops

Frances Palliser-Nicholas and Rebecca Salmonson from Atelihai (Welcome) Inuit are some of the artists who will be holding workshops teaching Legacy Schools how to make their own seal skin bracelet.Do you know a teacher or youth group that would like to participate in an interactive artist workshop for Indigenous History Month in June? We’re providing free workshops to Legacy Schools throughout Canada!

20 Legacy Schools groups will be chosen based on region, and the selected groups will be contacted by DWF.

Apply Today


What is the Legacy Schools Program?

The Legacy Schools program began five years ago with 300 schools pledging to take reconciliACTION. Since that time, the program has grown to over 5600 schools, with representation in every province and territory. By signing up, teachers and youth group leaders will receive free resources, which include copies of the Secret Path book, educational resources (virtual & in class), a reconciliACTION Guide, a DWF school flag, and access to over 650 free online resources.

Apply Today


Upcoming DWF LIVE

Theland Kicknosway | Singer and Grass and Hoop Dancer

When: Monday, April 11th at 11:00am EST

Theland is a member of Wolf Clan, of the Potawatami and Cree Nation, from Walpole Island, Bkejwanong Territory in Southern Ontario. He is a singer, a grass and hoop dancer, and helps in ceremonies in many places. In November 2015, at just 12 years old, Theland led the incoming Prime Minister and cabinet into the swearing-in ceremony with a drum song.

Register Here

 

Stephanie Harpe | Voice for Indigenous Peoples Rights

When: Monday, April 25th at 1:00pm EST

Stephanie is an International Advocate for Murdered or Missing and Exploited Indigenous Peoples (MMEIP), a murder attempt survivor, and a family member of MMEIP who was also a part of public testimony for the national inquiry. Harpe is an acclaimed Indigenous advocate whose notable achievements include being a keynote speaker for the United Nations, traveling to 45 Indigenous communities in western Canada, and hosting a MMEIP support group for three years.

Register Here


Youth Ambassador: Last chance to apply!

DWF is recruiting 100 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth from throughout Canada to participate in an online, part-time summer program that will support them in becoming champions of reconciliation in their schools and communities. Youth will gain practical work experience, network, strengthen 21st-century skills, and gain leadership experience while learning about Canada’s true history of residential schools.

The Youth Ambassador program is open to Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth ages 16-25 years old from anywhere in Canada, including rural, remote, urban, and on reserve. Participants will receive an honorarium at the end of the program to honour their time, commitment, and participation.

“The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund Youth Ambassador program is filled with great cultural and educational content. The toolkit that we received as a part of the program is curated with incredible hands-on activities that were brought to life by relevant and inspiring guest speakers. I would highly recommend this program to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth as I was engaged and challenged through the full 4 weeks of the program.”
-Isabelle Bailey, past program participant

Applications close: Friday, April 15, 2022

Apply Now


Legacy Spaces Update

The Bimbo Canada Legacy Space features a mural by Artist Ambassador Blake Angeconeb inspired by artistic elements from the Seven Teachings and the company’s commitment to ‘Moving Forward, Together’

Meet our Latest Partners:

Canada’s oldest and largest bakery, Bimbo Canada, launched the Legacy Space inside their head office in Etobicoke, Ontario on March 23. “Bimbo Canada believes reconciliation is an important social issue for all Canadians, including our associates,” says Teresa Schoonings, Senior Director of Sustainability for Bimbo Canada. “We are committed to doing our part to create a safe, welcoming space that provides education and spreads awareness about Indigenous history and our journey towards reconciliation.”

In April, Accenture Canada will launch their first Legacy Space inside their office in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario. Their Legacy Space features a mural and art installations by Waab-Shki-Makoons (Clayton Samuel King) who was born and raised in Niagara and is a member of Beausoleil First Nation. They plan to open a total of six Legacy Spaces throughout Canada!

Learn more about Legacy Spaces

Legacy Schools: Spring is in the air!

We’ve got some exciting things coming up! In celebration of Indigenous History Month in June, we are offering Artist Ambassador workshops to 20 lucky Legacy School classes or youth groups. Also, our Youth Ambassador applications are still open, and we are now accepting submissions for our Spring Poster Challenge. We’ve got lots going on to help you on your reconciliation journey, check out all the details below for more information!


Offering Free Artist Workshops for Legacy Schools!

Lindsay Lickers and Patrick Hunter are just a couple of the many artists offering virtual workshops in beading and painting for Legacy Schools.Want to have your class learn to paint a beautiful original painting while learning about Anishinaabe culture? Or perhaps you’d like to undertake a beading project with youth while learning about treaties or language. Or maybe your students/youth are interested in making bracelets using seal skin and learning about traditional hunting practices. Wherever your interest lies, we have a workshop for you!

20 Legacy Schools groups will be chosen based on region, and the selected groups will be contacted by DWF.

Apply Today


Spring Poster Challenge: What does reconciliACTION mean to you?

Belfast School in Calgary Alberta have been taking reconciliACTION through art and learning about Chanie’s residential school experience through the ”Secret Path”.Submit a poster for a chance to win the DWF 2022 Spring Poster Challege. As part of the Legacy Schools Program, participants are encouraged to engage in reconciliACTIONs throughout the year. Students and youth are asked to create a poster that answers the question, what does reconciliACTION mean to you, your family, or your community?

View our poster challenge details

Prizes:

  • Students will win an amazing prize pack including an Orange Shirt from the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund.
  • Teachers with the most class participation will be entered into a draw to win a classroom set of DWF Orange Shirts.

Six Categories:

  • Elementary Pre-K – Grade 5 (ages 4-10 years)
  • Middle Grade 6 – 8 (11-13 years)
  • Secondary/High School 9-12 (14-18 years)
  • Post-secondary education/Young Adult (18-25 years)
  • Youth Group or Club

Class/Group with most submissions (up to 25 Orange Shirts will be offered to leader/teacher in charge)

Deadline: Friday, May 13, 2022.

Winners Announced:  Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Prizes will be mailed out to schools or homes based on safety and health measures in place in that region.

Submissions should be high quality artwork 8.5×11 inches, at 300 dpi resolution.

Submit PDF files here


Youth Ambassador Applications are OPEN!

Youth Ambassadors will learn about Indigenous cultures and exchange ideas with a variety of special guests. Above, Classic Roots presents to Legacy Schools during Secret Path Week on DWF LIVE.We are accepting applications for our Youth Ambassador Program, which takes place this summer. This program offers youth (16-25 years old) the opportunity to gain practical work and leadership experience, network, and strengthen 21st-century skills, all while learning about Canada’s true history of residential school system.

Throughout the 4-week paid leadership program, 100 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth from across Canada will engage in online, part-time work that will turn them into champions of reconciliation in their schools and communities.

At the end of the program, the youth participants will have the chance to make lasting change through our volunteer Youth Advisory Council, which will help guide our programming and champion our work.

Applications close April 15 so make sure to share with your students and youth groups!

Apply Today


Upcoming DWF Live & Events

Mimi O’Bonsawin | Artiste musical canadien-français (Événement français)

Quand: Le 5 avril @ 13h
Événement français

Si vous êtes attirés par la beauté et la puissance des paysages Boréales, on vous invite à embrasser la musique de Mimi O’Bonsawin. À travers sa musique, elle incarne les paysages à la fois bruts et magnétiques des eaux du nord de l’Ontario, tout en rendant un hommage vibrant à ses riches racines abénaki et canadiennes-françaises. Ses créations musicales empruntent d’amour, ont la ferme intention de transmettre et de sensibiliser.

Son album ELLE DANSE, fut nominee au prix Trille Of et se veut une suite convaincante à ses trois albums précédents. Suivez Mimi sur www.mimi.ca.

Inscrire ici


Tell us How we’re Doing!

It’s spring and the end of the school year is in slight! We want to hear about your experience with the Legacy Schools program and how we can improve our toolkits and booster packs coming in September. Please take a moment to complete our survey and a chance to win a DWF Prize pack!

Fill out the Survey

March 2022 Newsletter

With talented new Artist Ambassadors, exciting performances, and stories of incredible reconciliACTIONS, March is shaping up to be an exciting month! Take a look at just a few of the things we are looking forward to and don’t forget to check out our careers page for some exciting new opportunities with the expanding DWF team.


New Artist Ambassadors

Above: The North Sound, Fawn Wood and Handsome Tiger are just a few of our newest Artist Ambassadors.We’re excited to announce a few new additions to our Artist Ambassador Program! With new names like Fawn Wood, Handsome Tiger, The North Sound, and the legendary Willie Thrasher, we are looking forward to some wonderful performances during Indigenous History Month, Legacy School visits, and our DWF LIVE sessions. Be sure to check out our full list of talented artists here.


Upcoming DWF Live & Events

Cody Coyote | Hip-Hop / Electronic Artist

Cody Coyote was born in Ottawa, Ontario and is of Ojibwe/Irish descent with ancestry from Matachewan First Nation. With his fusion of profound lyricism accompanied by influential sound, this multi-award-award winning Hip-Hop/Electronic artist grasps listeners’ attention and delivers a mesmerizing performance.When: Wednesday, March 9, 10:00 am ET

Register here

Phillip Lewitski and Joshua Odjick | Stars of Film WILDHOOD

Stars of the landmark 2-spirit film WILDHOOD Phillip Lewitski (Vikings, Utopia Falls) and Joshua Odjick (The Swarm, Unsettled) join DWF LIVE! to discuss their experiences as young Indigenous actors, and their time working on the beautiful coming-of-age film written and directed by Bretten Hannam.In a rural east-coast trailer park, Link lives with his toxic father and younger half-brother Travis. When Link discovers his Mi’kmaw mother could still be alive, it lights a flame and they make a run for a better life. On the road they meet Pasmay, a pow wow dancer drawn to Link. As the boys journey across Mi’kma’ki, Link finds community, identity, and love in the land where he belongs. WILDHOOD is released theatrically on March 11, 2022 in Canada. For more details visit: wildhoodmovie.comWhen: Friday, March 11, 1:00pm ET

Register here

Mimi O’Bonsawin | Musician | FRENCH SESSION

Mimi O’Bonsawin epitomizes the powerful scenery of Northern Ontario and the beauty of its waters through her music, all the while yielding to her French Canadian and Abenaki roots. Her musical creations flow through a centre of love, with the intention of giving back and spreading awareness.Her album, ELLE DANSE, is a self-produced French EP that has been gaining momentum with placements on Spotify, Amazon, and Apple Music curated playlists. ELLE DANSE was in ELMNT FM’s top 10 Best Albums of 2020, and it was recently nominated for two prizes at the TRILLE OR Awards.When: Tuesday, April 5, 1:00pm ET

Register here


Legacy Schools: ReconciliACTIONs

Students and staff at Argyle Alternative High School in Winnipeg, MB sharing stories and participating in a Walk for Wenjack with special guests, Lorraine Daniels and Patricia Myran.After becoming a Legacy School in May of 2021, Kathryn Foley-Licandro and the staff at Argyle Alternative High School were excited to use their resources and toolkits to engage with their community in the journey towards reconciliation. With an incredible visit to the National Indigenous Residential School Museum of Canada with the members of the Long Plains First Nation, and an unforgettable Walk for Wenjack they did just that! Read all about their reconciliACTION experience by clicking here.


Legacy Spaces Update

Artist Ambassador Blake Angeconeb works on a mural for one of our latest Legacy Spaces partners in Toronto.Since Secret Path Week 2021, we have welcomed 11 new partners to the Legacy Spaces Program, and we look forward to revealing which organizations are taking reconciliACTION with us! We now have over 50 open or planned Legacy Spaces in 26 cities throughout the country!For more information on creating a Legacy Space within your organization, please visit LegacySpaces.ca.


Youth Ambassador Applications are OPEN!

Spread the word! We are happy to announce that the DWF Youth Ambassador Program will be taking place in July and August of 2022. The program allows individuals to gain practical work experience and develop leadership skills by connecting two groups of 50 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth ages 16 – 25 throughout Canada. While learning about Canada’s true history, youth will develop their understanding of what reconciliation means to them, how to apply it in their communities, and become leaders of positive change. Learn more about the program and how to apply here.


We’re Hiring!

We’re hiring! Join a passionate team working to move reconciliation forward throughout Canada. Please share widely with folks you know who may be interested!

Finance and Operations Assistant

The Finance and Operations Assistant will work closely with provide support to the President & CEO and Director of Programs & Operations along with the organization as a whole. The successful candidate will provide timely, accurate, and actionable coordination to support executive operations, including financial and HR administration and other duties as required.

Education Program Assistant

The Education Program Assistant will provide support to the Education and Activation department and is responsible for performing various administrative functions. The successful candidate will be responsible for providing operational support, assisting with the coordination and execution of the Legacy Schools program, and providing ongoing support to the leadership team as required.

DWF Careers Page

ReconciliACTIONs from Argyle Alternative High School in Winnipeg, MB

By: Kathryn Foley-Licandro

Argyle Alternative High School staff and students at the Residential School Museum in Portage La Prairie, MB with special guests, Lorraine Daniels and Patricia Myran.

Argyle Alternative High School became a Legacy School in May 2021. As an alternative high school, located in the heart of the North End of Winnipeg, on Treaty One Territory and home of the Metis Nation, our student body identifies as mostly Indigenous. Indigenous education is a core value at our school and included in all our programming. Becoming a Legacy School allowed us to engage our community in the journey towards Reconciliation. Becoming a Legacy School has provided the resources and toolkits toward ReconciliACTIONS.

When school started in 2021, our intention was to take our students and staff to the Cecile Jeffery Residential School in early October. With the pandemic restrictions and with many of our students in the care of Child and Family Services, we were not able to cross the provincial border. We put our thinking caps on and headed out to explore new options. Pat Mainville, our principal, suggested that we explore the Residential School Museum in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

Argyle Alternative High School staff and students participating in a sharing circle.

On September 28th, 2021, with our masks on and residents of Long Plains First Nation ready for our arrival, we headed out to Portage La Prairie to visit the National Indigenous Residential School Museum of Canada. Our students and staff were deeply honored to meet with survivors, Lorraine Daniels and Patricia Myran. The ladies shared their stories before we toured the museum, and then shared a meal on the land together where a great bald eagle watched over us! During our sharing circle, the eagle actually flew over us several times to remind us that we are loved and that the Eagle carries our prayers to the Creator. It was an amazing day of hard work and learning together as a community.

Students and staff from Argyle Alternative High School sharing stories and participating in a Walk for Wenjack with Lorraine Daniels and Patricia Myran.

Our second big ReconciliACTION was during the Secret Path Week. Again, we were honored to have Lorraine and Patricia join us all the way from Portage La Prairie and walk for Chanie. We decided to walk to the site of the “Muddy Waters” at the Forks where the Canadian Human Rights Museum is located. We gathered on the steps and heard stories about courage and forgiveness. After, we walked back to our school along the Red River, had Tacos in a bag to fill our bellies, and we said, “until we meet again” to the women who have changed us forever and reached our hearts with their kindness and words; we will never forget them. We look forward to participating in many more experiences like this as we move forward on this journey.

Legacy Schools: We’ve got lots going on!

It’s been a challenging year to teach and lead youth, but the good news is that spring is in sight! Our annual spring poster contest, Youth Ambassador program, and Artist Ambassador programs are in full swing, and we want you to get involved!


Youth Ambassador Applications are OPEN!

We are happy to announce that the DWF Youth Ambassador Program will be taking place in July and August of 2022. The program allows individuals to gain practical work experience and develop leadership skills by connecting two groups of 50 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth ages 16 – 25 throughout Canada. While learning about Canada’s true history, youth will develop their understanding of what reconciliation means to them, how to apply it in their communities, and become leaders of positive change. Learn more about the program and how to apply below.

Apply to the 2022 Youth Ambassador Program


Upcoming DWF Live & Events

Cody Coyote | Hip-Hop / Electronic Artist

Cody Coyote was born in Ottawa, Ontario and is of Ojibwe/Irish descent with ancestry from Matachewan First Nation. With his fusion of profound lyricism accompanied by influential sound, this multi-award-award winning Hip-Hop/Electronic artist grasps listeners’ attention and delivers a mesmerizing performance.

When: Wednesday, March 9, 10:00 am ET

Register Here

Mimi O’Bonsawin | Musician | FRENCH SESSION

Mimi O’Bonsawin epitomizes the powerful scenery of Northern Ontario and the beauty of its waters through her music, all the while yielding to her French Canadian and Abenaki roots. Her musical creations flow through a centre of love, with the intention of giving back and spreading awareness.

Her album, ELLE DANSE, is a self-produced French EP that has been gaining momentum with placements on Spotify, Amazon, and Apple Music curated playlists. ELLE DANSE was in ELMNT FM’s top 10 Best Albums of 2020, and it was recently nominated for two prizes at the TRILLE OR Awards.

When: Tuesday, April 5, 1:00pm ET

Register Here


Highlighting your ReconciliACTIONS


James Morden Elementary School students created art and reflection pieces on residential schools and Chanie’s story.

Students at James Morden Elementary in Niagara Falls, Ontario took part in an Ask, Imagine, Design, Build, Reflect, and Share project where they were asked “what do we know about residential schools?” while viewing The Secret Path. Students then communicated their ideas and understanding surrounding Chanie’s story and residential schools through an art piece and a written reflection. Once completed, a display was created to share their learnings with the rest of the school.


Join your Regional Educator Advisor Committee

Our Educator Advisory Committees meet four times throughout the school year to help improve the Legacy Schools program and guide the work DWF is doing. To apply, please complete the form below:

Apply Here


June events are happening! Send us your ReconciliACTIONs


We are busy planning our Indigenous History Month (IHM) digital programming for June. This year we are highlighting regions in Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick, and centering the programming on the themes of reflection, honour, and commitment. The month will end with our National Celebration Special!

We would like to invite Legacy Schools to participate in this year’s programming and to celebrate your reconciliACTIONs. We love to share what our Legacy Schools are doing, so submit your reconciliACTION by March 15, 2022 for a chance to be featured!

Submit Yours Here


Share your ReconciliACTIONs on social media

We love seeing the change you’re making – and so does the DWF community! Share your photos and tag us on social media @downiewenjack and we’ll try our best to share with our networks.

February 2022 Newsletter

From applications opening up to the 2022 Youth Ambassador Program to exciting employment opportunities, here are just a few of the things we are working on at DWF!


Youth Ambassador Program: Coming this summer!

Youth Ambassador Program hosted virtual meetings in August 2021.We are happy to announce that the DWF Youth Ambassador Program will be taking place July and August of 2022. The program will engage and connect two groups of 50 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth throughout Canada, aged 16-25, and is an opportunity to gain practical work experience, and develop leadership skills. While learning about Canada’s true history, youth will develop their understanding of what reconciliation means to them, how to apply it in their communities, and become leaders of positive change. Learn more about the program and how to apply below.

Apply to the 2022 Youth Ambassador Program


Legacy Schools: ReconciliACTIONs

Dot paintings created by students at Eastglen High School, inspired by Métis beadwork and dot painting.Art students from Eastglen High School in Edmonton, Alberta explored the tradition and history of Métis beadwork by examining the unique features found in traditional and contemporary Métis beaded art. The Floral Stories Project was created by two Edmonton Public School First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Cultural Consultants Rebecca Pickard, from Lac La Biche Metis Community, and Athena McKenzie, from Lac Ste Anne Métis Community. The project was then led by Kristen Miller, a member of Nacho Nyak Dun First Nation.They each created dot paintings — an emerging Métis artform based on the principles and aesthetic of beading. Their compositions were inspired by their own connection to the land through memory, exploring plants that they are familiar with or that had a personal narrative attached to them. Additionally, students were gifted with the teaching of Grandfather Rock before being given their rocks to paint on.


We’re hiring! Artist Ambassador Coordinator & Event Associate

We’re hiring! Join a passionate team working to move reconciliation forward throughout Canada. Please share widely with folks you know who may be interested!

Artist Ambassador Coordinator

The Artist Ambassador Coordinator will build relationships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, along with athletes, speakers, ambassadors, educators, and partners, and have a meaningful impact in schools throughout Canada. This role will work closely with Artist Ambassadors and act as a representative of DWF in public facing events and engagements.

Read More

Events Associate

We are also hiring an Events Associate! This person will get to plan and launch virtual, in-person, and hybrid events at DWF. The Events Associate will also be responsible for liaising with key internal and external stakeholders and speakers, producing and reviewing marketing and promotional collateral, and ensuring smooth run-of-show on an exciting and growing portfolio of events that move reconciliation forward at both a national and local level.

Read More