YELLOWKNIFE, NT, Sept. 30, 2020 /CNW/ - In recognition of Orange Shirt Day, Scotiabank today unveiled its third Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) Legacy Space, further demonstrating its commitment to promoting education and discussion around reconciliation.
Chiefs Edward Sangris of Detah and Earnest Betsina of N'Dilo, both of Yellowknives Dene First Nation attended the opening, along with her Excellency, Yellowknife Mayor, Rebecca Alty and several local Scotiabankers.
Said Chief Edwad Sangris: "The Yellowknives Dene First Nation supports the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack legacy and its commitment to improving the lives of First Peoples in Canada. The goal of the DWF is to continue the conversation that began with residential schools, and to aid our collective reconciliation journey through a combination of awareness and education. To understand and reconcile the First Nations people of Canada, one must understand the culture, the tradition and spirituality of First Nations in order to complete the circle of reconciliation."
Continued Chief Ernest Betsina: "Scotiabank and the DWF's creation of this Legacy space is a true example of good corporate citizenship and Reconciliation in Action in Chief Drygeese territory. This space will showcase our culture, traditions, history, and the future of Indigenous Peoples and groups throughout our region and the Northwest territories. The Yellowknives Dene First Nation is proud and honoured to be a part of this program."
The Downie-Wenjack Legacy space is housed at the Scotiabank Yellowknife branch, located at 5102 50th Avenue, 27 Scotia Centre, Yellowknife, and is fully accessible for public viewing. It features two works of art by Indigenous artist, Angus Beaulieu – considered to be one of the finest landscape and wildlife painters living in the North West Territories – and also showcases a DWF plaque, a framed Legacy Room print featuring Gord Downie's call to action, an image of Chanie Wenjack and information about the Fund and creating acts of reconciliation.
"Providing opportunity to continue conversations in Canada about reconciliation is fundamental to remembering the pledge the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund initiated in 2016," says Tanja Perry, District Vice-President, Alberta North/NWT, Scotiabank. "We encourage the people of Yellowknife and tourists to the city to visit the Space to learn more about Chanie Wenjack's story, the importance of DWF, and how they can contribute to this important initiative."
A Legacy Space is a dedicated area in an office, school, or restaurant where people can learn Chanie Wenjack's story, see the history he represents, and be inspired to act in the name of reconciliation. The DWF was created to continue the conversation of reconciliation that began with Gord Downie's 2016 album The Secret Path. The album tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year old boy who died while fleeing a residential school.
"We are so grateful to continue our partnership with Scotiabank," says Sarah Midanik, President & CEO of The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. "The addition of the new Legacy Space in Yellowknife expands upon Scotiabank's deep commitment to reconciliation and is the first Legacy Space opened in the North!"
This is Scotiabank's third Downie-Wenjack Legacy Space; the others are in Toronto, at Scotiabank's head office at 40 King Street West (opened in 2017) and the Scotiabank branch at 392 Bay Street (opened in 2019).
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About the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund
The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund aims to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Our goal is to improve the lives of Indigenous people by building awareness, education, and connections between all Canadians. For more information, visit https://downiewenjack.ca/