Sunday marks the premiere of Gord Downie’s animated film “The Secret Path.” The film tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, 12, who died trying to run away from a residential school in 1966.
It’s a dark chapter of Canadian history, but one Leanne Mazza and Treena Wynes want people in Saskatoon to know about.
Wynes was born in La Ronge and is the director of the Agency Chiefs Child and Family Services.
“We feel like this is something that needs to be brought forth in regards to awareness and education,” Wynes said.
The two organized a special screening of the animated film at Capitol Music Club on Sunday evening, which has been funded by the Saskatoon Community Foundation.
“I don’t think a lot of people truly understand the systemic problems of residential schools and what cultural assimilation did to our First Nations, indigenous people here in Canada,” said Leanne Mazza, who is studying indigenous social work.
Wynes and Mazza hope to bridge the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous communities in Saskatchewan using Downie’s work to create support and reconciliation.
“If you understand the damage that was imposed on our indigenous people by the government then you’ll certainly have a deeper understanding of why our society is the way it is today,” Mazza said.
“I think we’re in a place in Canada where we no longer accept the distance of the two cultures. We’re now open to bridging the gap,” Wynes said.
“We’re also at a time where we’re more open-minded, Canadians are more willing to hear about the history.”
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