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

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 2019-2020 Annual Report

Our 2019-2020 Annual Report has been released, filled with information on our programs, what we’ve achieved in our second year, and much more! View it here.

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!

Chippewa students raise money for Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund

My North Bay Now – Art was on display, dancers dazzled, and short films were shown at Chippewa Secondary School Tuesday evening…read more.

Celebrating Gord Downie’s Birthday with Acoustic Hip from Starpainters

A Journal of Musical Things – Gord Downie would’ve celebrated his 56th birthday on February 6.

As has become tradition, Buffalo’s Strictly Hip is throwing a party to benefit the Gord Downie & Wenjack Fund, inviting along some friends to help keep Downie’s spirit alive and to answer his call to Do Something in the name of reconciliation…read more.

Thunder Bay elementary school unveils mural as ‘one small piece in larger mosaic’ of reconciliation

CBC – A mural unveiled at an elementary school in Thunder Bay on Wednesday represents one small step on the path to reconciliation, said Eric Fredrickson, the principal of Westmount Public School in the northwestern Ontario city…read more.

Mike Downie visiting U of R to talk Secret Path, importance of reconciliation

Regina Leader-Post – Seven years ago Mike and Gord Downie’s knowledge of Canada’s residential school system was close to nothing…read more.

Maverick School holds a Walk for Wenjack to promote reconciliation

Prarie Post – Students and staff from Maverick High School held a reconciliation walk in downtown Swift Current on Oct. 23 to raise awareness about Chanie Wenjack and the legacy of residential schools…read more.