From the Board of Directors and the Wenjack Family
The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund was founded to improve the lives of Indigenous people by building awareness, education, and connections between all peoples in Canada. We work to build a path toward reconciliation by providing everyone, including companies and organizations, with opportunities to take reconciliACTION (meaningful actions that move reconciliation forward). In partnership with the Hudson’s Bay Company and Hudson’s Bay Foundation, we are proud to announce the launch of Oshki Wupoowane | The Blanket Fund. The Blanket Fund will support local grassroots organizations with capacity-building grants throughout First Nation, Métis, and Inuit communities.
There is no denying the role that Hudson’s Bay Company played in the colonization of Canada. Its 350-year history includes countless examples of how it directly contributed to the systems of oppression and assimilation meant to eradicate Indigenous people, communities, cultures, and traditions.
This partnership provides the opportunity to acknowledge the longstanding history and harm caused by Canada’s most iconic company, while also creating a path forward by directing significant financial support to Indigenous people, organizations, and initiatives through Oshki Wupoowane | The Blanket Fund.
The Point Blankets are symbolic for many. They too have a complex history in Canada – an essential trade item, an enduring emblem of Canada, a carrier of diseases, and a symbol of colonialism. By creating Oshki Wupoowane | The Blanket Fund, where 100 per cent of net proceeds from the sale of the Point Blankets will go to Indigenous Peoples, Hudson’s Bay Company is demonstrating its strong commitment to moving reconciliation forward in Canada.
Oshki Wupoowane | The Blanket Fund will provide opportunities for artistic, educational, and cultural activities. Through Oshki Wupoowane | The Blanket Fund, Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous-led organizations and initiatives will have the opportunity to access meaningful capacity-building support to realize creative and community initiatives.
Gord challenged all of us to “Do Something” to move reconciliation forward and build a better Canada. Hudson’s Bay Company is answering Gord’s call and honouring Chanie by working collaboratively with Indigenous people, organizations, communities, and initiatives.
This partnership does not erase the past but shows us that we all have a role to play in reconciliation in Canada. The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund’s Board of Directors, as well as the Wenjack family, is hopeful that this partnership provides other companies in Canada with an example of meaningful contribution toward Indigenous people, organizations, and initiatives, and what can be achieved when Indigenous people inform every step of process.
We look forward to what will be achieved through this partnership and the positive impact that can result from meaningful investment in Indigenous-led artistic, educational, and cultural initiatives. More information will be released in the coming months on the granting and application process. We encourage you to visit www.downiewenjack.ca/The-Blanket-Fund to learn more and sign up to get the latest information.
Chair, Mohawk and Ojibway, Six Nations
On behalf of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund Board of Directors and the Wenjack Family:
Wenjack Family Member, Anishinaabekwe
Downie Family Member, Ally
President & CEO of DWF, Métis Nation of Alberta
Treasurer, Inuit, Qamani’tuaq
Dr. Alika Lafontaine
Anishinaabe, Cree, Métis and Pacific Islander, Treaty 4 Territory
Cree, Piapot First Nation
We Wai Kai Nation