Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie was honoured by the Assembly of First Nations for his work in raising awareness for victims of residential schools Tuesday.
Downie’s The Secret Path project told the story of Chanie Wenjack, an Indigenous boy who died in 1966 escaping Cecilia Jeffery Indian Residential School outside Kenora, Ontario.
A visibly emotional Downie was presented with an eagle feather and given an Indigenous spirit name by National Chief Perry Bellegarde. Downie’s spirit name translates to “Man who walks among the stars.”
Downie went public that he has terminal brain cancer in May. The iconic Canadian rocker has been very active in reconciliation efforts this year.
“Soon, in a few days, a couple of weeks, there’s 150 years that Canada wants to celebrate, and I will personally then celebrate the birth of our country, celebrate the next 150 years,” Downie said in the Tuesday. “It will take 150 years or seven generations to heal the wound of the residential school.
“To become a country, that can truly call ourselves Canada, it means we must become one, we must walk down a path of reconciliation for now on. Together, and forever. This is the first day of forever, the greatest day of my life, the greatest day of all of our lives. Thank you.”