Poster Contest Highlight

The Legacy School Program is proud to announce that there were over 100 submissions to this year’s Legacy Schools Spring Poster Contest, which closed on May 14th. Students were asked to illustrate how mental health influences their relationships with the land, their families and communities. We want to thank all the students who submitted their beautiful posters, and we hope they apply again next year. The teachers with the highest classroom participation were put into a draw, and the winner was Tyler Ernst from Kelowna Secondary. They won a DWF hoodie, and a classroom set of T-shirts for their students. Congratulations Tyler! Here are the winning students/posters from this year’s poster contest:  


Elementary School Category: 


1st Place: Kash at Ecole Puntledge Park in Courtenay, BC 



2nd Place:  Bella at Saint Martha’s School in Fort McMurray, AB 



3rd Place: Nevaeh at West Beach Elementary in Penticton, BC 



Middle School Category: 


1st Place: Mia at Ecole Dr. Knox Middle School in Kelowna, BC  



2nd Place: Joshua Castro, VIRTUAL LEARNING ACADEMY, St. Gabriel School, Ft. McMurray, AB 


High School Category: 

1st Place: Janelle at Cochrane High School in Cochrane, AB



2nd Place: Taylor at Kelowna Secondary in Kelowna, BC 



3rd Place: Julia from Kelowna Secondary in Kelowna, BC  


A statement from DWF

On May 28, we learned about the heartbreaking discovery of 215 children buried at a former residential school on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory in Kamloops, BC. We stand with the Secwépemc community, all the families and communities of these young children, and all those impacted by residential schools in their grief. “It’s really hard when we know what they are going through. We always knew findings would come out one day.” said Daisy Munroe, Chanie Wenjack’s eldest sister.

Together, we can honour the lives of each child by learning about the longstanding impact residential schools continue to have today and committing to reconciliation. To move towards reconciliation, we need to understand the truth. There were 139 residential schools open in Canada between 1831 and 1996. An estimated 150,000 Indigenous children went through these schools and some reports claim a mortality rate of 60%. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission stated over 3,200 children died in the residential school system, but we know this number is much higher.

 Chanie’s sisters, Daisy, Pearl and Evelyn who have all attended residential schools have reflected on their own experiences after this finding. “We have shared our stories of unmarked graves, and many more lost children not documented in official records. Now everyone knows we weren’t lying” says Pearl Achneepineskum. Evelyn Baxter commented, “We have always said that there was a lot of children who went missing. There has never been an answer to what has happened to them.”  

There is work to be done at all levels to acknowledge and honour all the lost children of the residential school system. This work will bring pain and grief but is a necessary step to begin the healing process. Gord is quoted, “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.”

Some communities will remain silent as part of traditional protocols. Please be respectful, please hold space, please check-in where appropriate. It is important to recognize the refreshed pain, trauma, and grief that comes with this devastating news.

For immediate assistance for those who need it, 24/7 crisis lines are available:

  • The Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419
  • Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or text 686868
  • Or call your local mental health crisis line.

For inquiries to DWF, please contact


Déclaration du Fond Gord Downie et Chanie Wenjack


Le 28 mai, nous avons appris de la découverte de 215 enfants sans tombes dans un ancien pensionnat sur le territoire de Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc à Kamloops, Colombie-Britannique. Nous sommes en solidarité avec la communauté de Secwépemc, avec les familles et communautés de ces jeunes enfants, et de tous ceux qui sont endeuiller par les pensionnats.

« C’est vraiment difficile quand on sait ce qu’ils vivent. Nous avons toujours su que la vérité sortiraient un jour » déclare Daisy Munroe, la sœur aînée de Chanie Wenjack.


La réconciliation doit être un effort collectif.  En premier lieu, ça commence avec la vérité.  De 1831 à 1996, il y avait 139 pensionnats ouverts au Canada et environ 150 000 enfants autochtones les ont fréquenté, plusieurs d’entre eux n’ont pas survécu.  Les rapports montrent que dans certains pensionnats, le taux de mortalité était plus de 60%.  Même si la Commission sur la vérité et la réconciliation a confirmé que plus de 3 200 enfants sont morts dans le système des pensionnats, le nombre réel est beaucoup plus élevé.


Les sœurs de Chanie, Daisy, Pearl et Evelyn ont aussi fréquenté des pensionnats, sauf qu’elles ont survécu afin d’ en parler.  Après la découverte, elles réfléchissent à leurs propres expériences. « Nous avons partagé nos histoires de tombes non-marqués et de nombreux enfants disparus et non-documentés dans les registres officiels. Maintenant, tout le monde sait que nous n’avons pas menti », exprime Pearl Achneepineskum.  Evelyn Baxter a commenté : « Nous avons toujours dit qu’il y avait beaucoup d’enfants qui avaient disparu. Il n’y a jamais eu de réponse à ce qui leur est arrivé. »


Il y a du travail à faire à tous les niveaux pour reconnaître et honorer tous les enfants qui ont été portés disparus dans le système des pensionnats. Ce travail apportera de la douleur et du chagrin mais c’est une étape nécessaire pour commencer le processus de guérison. Gord a cité : « Les cent prochaines années vont être douloureuses alors que nous connaîtrons Chanie Wenjack et des milliers comme lui – alors que nous découvrons nous-mêmes, nous tous – mais ce n’est que lorsque nous le faisons que nous pouvons vraiment nous appeler, le « Canada. »


Durant ce temps de deuil, certaines communautés resteront silencieuses dans le cadre des protocoles traditionnels. S’il vous plaît soyez respectueux, garder de l’espace, et faites un check-in avec ceux qui vivent le deuil.  Il est important de reconnaître que les émotions de douleur, de traumatisme et de chagrin renouvelés accompagnent cette nouvelle dévastatrice.


Pour accéder à l’assistance immédiate pour ceux qui en ont besoin, il y a des lignes de crise 24h/24 et 7j/7 de disponibles :

– La ligne de crise pour les survivants des pensionnats indiens et les familles au 1-866-925-4419

– Jeunesse, J’écoute au 1-800-668-6868 ou texto 686868

– Ou appelez votre ligne de crise en santé mentale locale.


Pour toute demande de renseignements à DWF, veuillez contacter

I Will Not Be Struck Song Challenge

“Music is the ultimate medium for expressions of love, and those expressions find a beautiful backdrop in the environment. Music is also a popular rallying point — at its central core, it’s a way for people to get in touch with the best parts of themselves and to voice the love in their hearts.” – Gord Downie  


I Will Not Be Struck chords

I Will Not Be Struck piano and vocal sheet music

I Will Not Be Struck music – instrumental

Submission Form

Download Poster here

School Song Challenge:

We want you to sing, play, dance or perform “I WILL NOT BE STRUCK” from the Secret Path. 

Help us honor the 5th anniversary of the Secret Path by participating in our #legacyschoolsongchallenge. We are asking students, individuals, and artists to record a video of themselves performing “I Will Not Be Struck” from the Secret Path. Sing, dance, perform with a variety of attire and musical instruments, and consider incorporating a local Indigenous language into your performance. Be creative in expressing yourselves  

If your video is selected, it will be put into a video montage with other submissions from all over Canada, including submissions from some amazing artists like Kevin Hearn from the Secret Path Band and the Barenaked LadiesCreate a video performance and show us your spirit, your connection, your creativity and your commitment to “Do Something.”   

Challenge details: 

  1. Please start your video with an introduction. Tell us your name, your schools name, your city, then your province or territory. Be sure to acknowledge the traditional Indigenous territory of the land you are on.  

  2. Sing, dance, perform and video tape your interpretation of “I Will Not BStruck”. It can be a solo performance or with a group.  

  3. End your video submission by saying, “All My Relations” *pause* “Do Something” 

  4. Submit your video by June 30, 2021. SUBMIT HERE  

We welcome and encourage submissions from all of our relations in all languages and from all regions (remote, rural, urban) in Canada 

All my relations,” means all. When a speaker makes this statement, it’s meant as recognition of the principles of harmony, unity and equality. – R. Wagamese  

Please note: We are hoping to include as many submissions as possible but due to limited space, some submissions may not make the final edit.  


In this earth-like world  
In this earth-like world  
Before they arrived  

Under this sun-like star  
Under the sun-like star  
They civilized  

Run along the river  
On the Secret Path  
I will not be struck  
I’m not going back  

I can see my father’s face  
Warming his feet by the stove  
We used to have each other  
Now we only have ourselves  

Then I put my ear  
Then I put my ear  
Right against the rail  

So what I couldn’t hear  
What I couldn’t hear  
I would feel  

Run along the river  
On the Secret Path  
I will not be struck  
I’m not going back  

I been staring into space  
Forever or else  
Enter the wilderness  
And we only have ourselves  

What are Legacy Schools? 

The Legacy School Program at the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund is a free national initiative to engage, empower and connect students and educators to further reconciliation in Canada through awareness, education and action – #reconciliACTION. 

All schools throughout Canada are encouraged to join the program by signing up through the registration form. We provide Legacy Schools with free educational resources and program development to help ensure that the unique interests, rights, and perspectives of Indigenous peoples are recognized and taught about in schools and communities all over the country. 

Join us! 



Artist Ambassador Program  

The Artist Ambassador program brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous musicians and other artists into high schools across Canada to inspire student leadership and forward the journey of reconciliation in school communities.

Artists share their art, music and stories through workshops and/or performances, and engage students in learning and conversations about reconciliation. High schools hosting Artist Ambassadors are also encouraged to have students share their own stories, art, and reconciliACTIONs with their guests.

#legacyschoolsongchallenge    @DownieWenjack    #DoSomething

The 2021 Spring Poster Contest is here!

For many Indigenous communities, creating balance among the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional aspects of life are equally important. This year we’re asking students to reflect on how they can balance their studies and stresses while remaining healthy.

For this year’s Spring Poster Contest, students should create a poster that answers:

How does mental health influence our ties to the land, family, community, and relationships?

How does this influence their holistic wellness (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being)?

Winning selections may appear in our Legacy School ReconciliACTION Guidebook, and the students will win an amazing prize pack from the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund including an autographed copy of Secret Path, signed by Jeff Lemire.
Teachers with the most class participation will be entered into a draw to win a classroom set of t-shirts as well as a DWF hoodie for the teacher!
Deadline: Friday, May 14, 2021
Winners Announced: May 21, 2021 (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. Please submit PDF files digitally to
DWF recommends engagement with Indigenous communities at the local regional level within your district.

Here are some possible examples of resources. Please use resources that are relevant to the First Nation, Métis, and/or Inuit communities in your area:

Note: If you have difficulty obtaining resources at the local or regional level you may contact your local Friendship Centre (urban) and/or the host First Nation, Métis, Inuit community within your area (urban, rural, remote). Contact your school’s Indigenous Education Department or search online for the corresponding community contact details.

The Educator Advisory Committee Welcomes New Members

Following a successful meeting on Dec. 5, 2020, the Educator Advisory Committee will meet again in March. Despite the difficult and unusual school year, our Legacy Schools have done great work in their efforts towards reconciliation. Their hard work and dedication has inspired our committee to continue to work as hard as possible – despite the circumstances – to improve and add to our Legacy Schools Program.  

We’re extremely proud to introduce two new members to our committee. Our new committee members join us from the East Coast, where they have been actively supporting and participating in our Legacy Schools Program. Joy Skanes from Newfoundland and Christina Sylliboy from Nova Scotia will be bringing their fresh perspectives into our discussions, and we thank them for their dedication to our Fund.  

Educator Advisory Committee Members for 2019-2021 

Harriet Visitor
Anishinaabe First Nation, Teacher, Chanie Wenjack’s niece, DWF Board Member, Ontario

Christina Sylliboy
Vice Principal, We’koqma’q Mikmaw School, Nova Scotia

Joy Skanes
Teacher, Leary’s Brook Junior High, Newfoundland

Krista Sherman
Dakota Sioux – Standing Buffalo Saskatchewan, Teacher, Winston Knoll Collegiate, Saskatchewan

Sharon Shadow
Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Department of Education, Yukon

Buffy Sainte-Marie
Piapot First Nation, Teacher, Activist, Musician, Hawaii

Danielle Root
Listuguj First Nation, Mi’kmaq Education Coordinator at Conseil Scolaire Acadien Provincial (CSAP), Mi’kma’ki

Lisa Prinn
Manager, Education & Activation, Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, Ontario

Jon Patry
Assistant Principal, James Short Memorial (Early Development Centre, K-2), Alberta

Jessica Madiratta
Piapot First Nation, Teacher, Kitchener Community School (K-6), Saskatchewan

Jen Karpiuk
Métis, Teacher, Crescent Heights High School, Alberta

Jonah Hupfield
Anishinaabekwe, Martin Clan, Wasauksing First Nation
Indigenous Studies and Anishinabemowin   9-12, Near North District School Board, Ontario

Greg Halcrow
Pimicikamak Cree Nation, Director of Education, Cross Lake Education Authority, Manitoba

James Groat
Tuscarora, Consultant Indigenous Education (K-8), District School Board of Niagara, Ontario

Sheila Francis
Mi’kmaq, Director of Education, Pictou Landing First Nation School, Nova Scotia

Kelly Fontaine
Sagkeeng First Nation, Teacher, Sagkeeng Anicinabe High School, Manitoba

Andrea Eby
Teacher, St. Bonaventure School (K-6), Ontario

Corinne Chappell
Lennox Island First Nations, Colonel Gray High School 9-12, Prince Edward Island

Brad Baker
Squamish Nation, District Principal, Indigenous Education, Safe Schools and Careers, North Vancouver School District K-12, British Columbia

Trina Allinotte
Teacher, Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate Institute 9-12, Ontario

Pearl Achneepineskum
Anishinaabe First Nation, Chanie Wenjack’s sister, Ontario

We are currently still seeking members from Nunavut, Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Labrador. If you are from these regions you can apply here. 

Appointment to the Committee is one two-year term, and when applicable, a second term may be added. Meetings will typically be held virtually four times per year. 

The Educator Advisory Committee for Legacy Schools will advise current and future programs and participate in their development and quality assurance as needed. Committee members will also assist in identifying resources, including guest speakers, field placement, partnerships and various opportunities to further Legacy Schools programming. 

Educator Advisory Committee members are ambassadors and liaisons between DWF, schools, students, educators and the community. 

The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund Educator Advisory Committee for Legacy Schools consists of members of First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and non-Indigenous educators. They advise on educational resources and program development for Legacy Schools to help ensure that the unique interests, rights and perspectives of Indigenous peoples are recognized and implemented in schools and communities throughout Canada. Members will also help assess and evaluate the impact of Legacy Schools, furthering DWF’s mission to improve the lives of Indigenous people by building awareness, education, and connections between all people in Canada.



ReconciliACTIONs At Legacy Schools

This past week many of our Legacy Schools took part in Secret Path Week, a week-long event that is held from October 17th to October 22nd to honour the passing of Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack. Throughout the school year, and especially during Secret Path Week, we encourage our Legacy School educators and students to take part in reconciliACTIONs. These are meaningful actions that work towards reconciliation, creating awareness, learning and sharing to create strong relationships among all Canadians.

We would love to acknowledge some of the great reconciliACTIONs that have been led by  Legacy Schools not only during Secret Path Week but throughout the 2020 school year. We hope their powerful actions  inspire you and those around you to get involved and #DoSomething.

Range Lake North School

Thanks to Ms. Townsend for sharing what the students at Range Lake North School in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories have been up to during Secret Path Week. They started their week with a Zoom visit from author Monique Gray Smith who read her books When We Are Kind and You Hold Me Up to students followed by a discussion period. As well, all Phys Ed. classes were visited by the Aboriginal Sports Circle who taught them Northern Dene games. Throughout the week classes watched performances and met up with various artists such as Leela Gilday, Robyn Scott, and Diana Rockwell – a local student who created an original song about Chanie’s life.


Range Lake North School students and staff part took in Walk for Wenjack and held a toonie drive fundraiser. They reached their goal of raising $600 to represent the 600km that Chanie set out to walk. Their donation progression was documented on a map of the Northwest Territories, that enabled students to grasp a better understanding of the distance Chanie was trying to walk.

Lastly, for Orange Shirt Day students created fantastic posters that were displayed at the front of the school for their community to see.





Westmount Public School

At Westmount Public School in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Ms. Murdoch shared the reconciliACTIONs her class conducted in their second year as a Legacy School.

As part of their first Walk for Wenjack, her grade 6 class took great initiative in leading fundraising in order to create awareness and to take their part in making a kinder, and more understanding Canada. They created their own donation system where if you donated $1 you got your name written on a footprint, a feather when you donated $5 and a hat when you donated $10 or more. To track their donations, they created a beautiful display in their hallway for the whole school to see.

Students at Westmount School are continuing to further their education and understanding of Canada’s true history through Secret Path and many other great resources.










Sheppard Public School

Lastly, we would like to recognize Ms. Lukezich and the grade 4 and 5 students from Sheppard Public School in Kitchener, Ontario. Ms. Lukezich’s grade 4 and 5 French immersion students have been doing some amazing work in their class and school by learning about Indigenous history and culture through books. They have also found a passion about learning and bringing awareness to Indigenous rights issues through their current events unit.

During Secret Path Week, students watched several DWF LIVE sessions, such as the musical performance Leela Gilday. Ms. Lukezich’s students created some incredible posters for their Walk for Wenjack and were shown great support from community members while out on their walk. Most students wore purple during their Walk, and some even wore funky hats in honour of Gord.

To all our Legacy School educators and students, we would like to thank you for taking part in so many creative forms of reconciliACTION. Keep up the great work, and keep your passion for learning alive as you all are making a meaningful impact to making a better Canada that is greatly appreciated by all! We leave you with quotes from Ms. Lukezich and Ms. Murdoch that we should all follow;

“We continue learning all year. It’ not just for this week. Although we do a lot this week, it is not just a unit that happens one time in my class.”

“From our youngest to our oldest learners, we hope to educate each other as we look at the history of residential schools and the long-lasting impact they had and continue to have on families. The conversations are being had not only at school but at the dinner table as well.”

Congratulations to the Legacy Schools Poster Contest Winners!

Early in May, we challenged our Legacy Schools students to design posters that answer the question “What does it mean to be an Indigenous Ally? They definitely rose to the occasion! We loved all of the posters that were submitted, and it was certainly difficult to select the winners from elementary, middle, and secondary schools. Winners will receive a prize pack from DWF and appear in our Legacy Schools calendar for 2020-2021.

Our elementary school winner, from École James Nisbet Community School, was Liam! Congratulations, Liam!

Our middle school winner, from Lillian Berg Public School, was Darius! Congratulations!

Finally, our high school winner! From St. Pius X High School, congratulations to Pippa!

We want to give a few special shout outs to some of the other participants. Firstly, we award Ms. Bhathal-Paz at École James Nisbet Community School, Seven Oaks School Division as her class had the highest number of students participate in the contest! We will be providing this amazing teacher with a copy of Canadian Geographic’s Indigenous Atlas for her outstanding commitment. Here are some of the great posters that came from their school:








Close behind them was St. Pius X High School, Ignace Public School, Waterford Public School, and École Confédération. We appreciate the participation and enthusiasm of your students! Here are some of our amazing submissions from these schools:


We love to see the creativity of Legacy School students! We received a ton of submissions from students, and they clearly put a lot of time and effort into their work! Here are some of our favourite posters:


Congratulations to all of our winners! We were so pleased with your submissions. Many of these will be displayed in our new Legacy School calendar for 2020-2021. Keep an eye out for information about your prize pack, and be sure to follow us on social media, where we will be posting your beautiful posters! A big thank you to these three students, as well as all of the students who participated in this year’s contest. Also, thank you to the teachers who helped their students coordinate their submissions! We couldn’t have done it without you, and we are already excited to see what next year’s contest will bring. Miigwech, and have a great summer!

DWF Legacy Schools Poster Contest is Now Open!

Show us what you can do Legacy School students – even from home! We are calling on all Legacy School students to create a poster that answers the question

“What does it mean to be an Indigenous Ally?”


Winning selections will appear on our social media channels and in our Legacy School calendar  for 2020-2021 – a great addition to any student portfolio! Winners will also receive an amazing prize pack from the  Gord Downie  &  Chanie Wenjack  Fund (prizes will be mailed out when health recommendations allow).  

Winners of the 2019 Legacy Schools Poster Contest

Participation is open to all students currently enrolled at a registered Legacy School. If you don’t see your school on our map you can still enter! Just let your teacher know about our Legacy Schools program and once they register we’ll send them a free toolkit in the fall.

Submission: Submissions should be high-quality artwork 8.5″x11″ at 300 DPI resolution (photos/scans or original artwork are acceptable). Please submit PDF files digitally to

Deadline: Friday, June 19, 2020

Winners Announced:  June 24, 2020. Students from elementary, middle, and secondary schools will be judged separately.

Educators – feel free to share the poster with your students to let them know about the contest!

“Being an ally is about disrupting oppressive spaces by educating others on the realities and histories of marginalized people.”

Indigenous Ally Toolkit by the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network 

Here are some great resources to help you define what it means to be an Indigenous Ally;

Treaty 7 Indigenous Ally Toolkit by the Calgary Foundation

Indigenous Ally Toolkit by the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network

Build Together: Indigenous Peoples of the Building Trades – Indigenous Allyship by Canada’s Building Trades Unions

Indigenous Allyship: An Overview by the Office of Aboriginal Initiatives, Wilfred Laurier University

Indigenous Allyship Toolkit by Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Indigenous Health Network

How To Be An Ally To Indigenous People by the Indigenous Perspectives Society

“Being An Ally” from Pulling Together: A Guide For Curriculum Developers

In Solidarity by Living Hyphen

Dear Qallunaat (White People) by Sandra Inutiq, CBC News

Indigenous Canada – MOOC provided by the University of Alberta

We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

30 Books by Indigenous Authors to Read With Your Kids!

Looking for a way to keep your kids engaged while schools are closed? Below is a list of books by Indigenous authors for children of various ages, all of which are available digitally!



Whitehorse visits James Bay for Artist Ambassador Program

Several communities along the James Bay Ice Road were treated with a special visit to their high schools by musicians Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet of Whitehorse in early March. Students at Vezina Secondary School in Attawapiskat, ON; Francine J. Wesley Secondary School in Kashechewan, ON and Delores D. Echum Composite School in Moose Factory, ON were able to hear the band perform and ask questions of them and their involvement with the Gord Downie & Chaine Wenjack Fund Artist Ambassador program. The Legacy Schools High School Artist Ambassador program brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous musicians and other artists into high schools across Canada to inspire student leadership and forward the journey of reconciliation in school communities.

Once landed in Attawapiskat, the band and DWF staff went for a delicious lunch at Adrian Sutherland’s (of the band Midnight Shine, another Artist Ambassador) restaurant “The Moose Takeout”.

Students interviewed Whitehorse and took videos and photos for their art class, and were encouraged to ask questions. Two of the most popular questions by students for Whitehorse were, “Who is older?” and “How much money do you make as musicians?”.


In the afternoon, Whitehorse played a schoolwide concert in the gym. Following this, students got to try out Luke’s white Falcon guitar and take photos with the band. That evening, Whitehorse put on a community show at Kattawapiskat Elementary School, a school that was built after Shannen Koostachin and her peers launched the Students Helping Students campaign. The campaign was created in response to the government backing away from building a new elementary school in Attawapiskat for the third time in 2007.

Following an incredible day in Attawapiskat, Clarence Carpenter of the Attawapiskat First Nation Education Authority, drove Whitehorse and DWF along the James Bay Ice Road to Kashechewan to visit students at Francine J. Wesley Secondary School.

Students from music, English, and art classes met in the library to participate in the Artist Ambassador visit. Whitehorse had two sessions with students, during which they performed a rendition of “I Will Not Be Struck” – the same song they performed at Secret Path Live in October 2019 in Toronto. They chatted with students about what it meant to them to be part of that night and to be part of building Gord and Chanie’s legacy. Students got to check out the guitars and play a few chords, while other students took photos and videos as part of a workshop.

While driving down the James Bay Ice Road, the band encountered a group of people walking. Jasmine Koostachin, a member of Fort Albany First Nation, was walking a 150 km protest of the escalating drug problems within the northern communities.



Jasmine shared that she had a spiritual awakening, and felt the need to do the walk for her own healing and pray for her people who are struggling. She shared that each community has a need for local facilities rather than having to travel to urban areas where they may be at risk or exposed to harder drugs. Each day someone walked with her; Elders, relatives and community members.

In Moose Factory, a visit to Delores D. Echum High School started with a tour through the school with Principal Don Cheechoo. He showed us the robotics lab, woodworking shop (where students were making a canoe), and the mechanics shop where snowmobiles, cars and small engines get worked on. The school has an attendance program where students make Mahekum dollars when they maintain good attendance. The dollars can be used at the school store to buy things such as water bottles, school shirts, school supplies and if you save enough, a new computer or a bicycle. It’s made a noticeable increase in attendance and students learn the power of saving. Local Elders teach beading and cooking in the school, and the school’s freezer was filled with game such as goose, beaver and moose.


During the Artist Ambassador session, grade 8 students heard more about Chanie’s story, Gord’s passion and how Whitehorse became involved. This time students were able to contribute to the songs playing drums and egg shakers. Check the LIVE session Whitehorse shared on Facebook to hear the amazing rhythm section by students. Some of the students took part in a video workshop and were able to film the session for their school.

Whitehorse performed a community concert that evening at the JBEC auditorium which is attached to Moosonee Public School. Curry Gray’s grade 9 students at Northern Lights High School (and DWF Legacy School) had made all of the community concert posters for the event. Luke and Melissa were happy to be able to sign the posters and return them to the talented students who made them. Tameira, a student at Northern Lights High School also took photographs throughout the evening as the concert photographer. Grade 8 students also took part, selling delicious baked goods to raise money for their school trip during the show. Rob Faries of Relic Kings opened for Whitehorse along with Toxic Bay (a local band that played covers of Metallica and Alice in Chains), Curry Gray and the Poets (a Tragically Hip cover band that translates songs into Cree). After the show, Whitehorse signed autographs and took photos with community members.

Stan Kapashesit, Director of Economic Development for the Moose Cree First Nation treated DWF and Whitehorse to a tour of the community. He took the group to Hudson Bay House, the Cree Cultural Centre, the old Cold War military base and to the grounds where the residential school once stood. The fence remains at the site, and at the top of the fence you can see where the barbed wire once ran, but instead of turned out, it’s turned in to ensure children didn’t try to escape.

The trip ended with some of the group attending one of the James Bay Community Cup Tournament hockey games. It was a close game between Attawapiskat and Moose Factory, and the group was able to reunite with some of the students from the previous school visits.

Overall, it was an extraordinary experience. We are grateful for the journey and all the wonderful people who welcomed us into their schools and community. Chi miigwetch, thank you!