Wenjack & Downie Families Celebrate Opening Of Chanie Wenjack School At Trent

The Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies at Trent University honours the life and history of Chanie Wenjack, a young Anishinaabe boy who died in his attempt to escape residential school in 1966.

The families of Chanie Wenjack and Gord Downie were at Trent University on Friday (March 2nd) to celebrate the official opening of the Chanie Wenjack School—a milestone development in the University’s longstanding leadership in Indigenous education and reconciliation.

 Wenjack and Downie families join celebration to launch Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies (Picture via Trent University)

Wenjack and Downie families join celebration to launch Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies (Picture via Trent University)

“The Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies works to create an environment of dignity, respect, understanding and a home for all students," says Professor David Newhouse, director of the School.

"It also provides a space for Indigenous students to understand their own culture and heritage better, while also cultivating greater understanding amongst non-Indigenous students."

Speaking on behalf of the Wenjack family, Pearl Achneepineskum, Chanie’s sister, had this to say:

“The people in Peterborough and at Trent have always had a spot in my heart. I would like to thank Trent for continuing to honour Chanie, and for their leadership in Indigenous education.”

 Photo via Trent University

Photo via Trent University

“I am so proud to attend the opening of the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies with Chanie’s sisters, Pearl, Daisy and Evelyn,” adds Mike Downie, co-founder of the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund, who also attended the launch event.

“Trent University has been, and continues to be, a leader in Indigenous education to break down barriers between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians through their programming, resources, and initiatives.”

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