Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler has accepted the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program for Gord Downie’s Secret Path on behalf of producers Mike Downie and Stuart Coxe during the Canadian Screen Awards on Sunday.
“I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of the producers whose vision and creativity helped my dear friend Gord shine much-needed light on this dark chapter of our shared history.”
Secret Path was a milestone on the path to reconciliation, he said. Accepting the award with him was Patrick Downie, Harriet Visitor and Justin Stephenson.
“Gord’s artistry was matched by his determination to tell the story of Charlie Wenjack and all the youth who never made it home. Gord and Chanie’s lives are forever entwined, and we must honour their legacies by completing the journey they so bravely began.”
The Secret Path was a multi-media project launched by Gord Downie in 2016 around the 50th anniversary of the death of 12-year-old Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, who died on Oct. 22, 1966 after fleeing Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in northwestern Ontario.
Secret Path includes an album, graphic novel and animated film depicting Chanie’s short life. Proceeds are donated to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. The Wenjack family also helped launch the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund supporting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples.
The Secret Path album also won for ‘Best Original Music, Non-Fiction’ earlier that week.