The story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack


Historica Canada is shining a light into the story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, whose death sparked the first inquest into the treatment of Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools.

It is the 84th Heritage Minute in Historica Canada’s collection, and an excruciating reminder for all Canadians that the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was of paramount importance for First Nation voices to be heard.  It is up to Canadians to listen to those stories.

On this National Aboriginal Day, here is one story, from the over 6,500 witnesses who shared their truth with the TRC.

In the TRC’s Final Report,  Chief Justice (Anishinaabe) Murray Sinclair, now Senator said,  “We have described for you a Mountain. We have shown you a path to the top. It’s now up to you to climb that mountain.”

Between 2007 and 2015, the Government of Canada provided about $72 million to support the TRC’s work. The TRC spent six years travelling to all parts of Canada and heard from more than 6,500 witnesses. The TRC also hosted seven national events across Canada to engage the Canadian public, educate people about the history and legacy of the residential schools system, and share and honour the experiences of former students and their families.

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