Indigenous Leaders Applaud Tragically Hip Frontman ‘Gord Downie’ For First Nations Advocacy

The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie performs during the first stop of the Man Machine Poem Tour at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C., Friday, July 22, 2016. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie performs during the first stop of the Man Machine Poem Tour at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C., Friday, July 22, 2016. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Canadian Press, August 23, 2016

Leaders of Canada’s indigenous community say they feel stunned and grateful to Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie for training the spotlight on issues plaguing First Nations.

Downie spoke passionately of struggles in Canadian native communities during what was widely presumed to be the iconic band’s final performance on Saturday in Kingston, Ont.

Addressing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was in the audience to take in the show, Downie expressed fears that Canada’s beleaguered indigenous peoples are perhaps in more dire straits today than they have ever been.

The singer, who’s battling terminal brain cancer, said he believed Trudeau could help bring about meaningful change and called upon Canadians to be more mindful of northern affairs.

Indigenous leaders say Downie’s assessment is accurate and thanked him for taking time to speak up for their communities in the midst of his own struggle.

They say Downie’s words are yet another powerful call for change that they hope both politicians and regular citizens will heed.

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2 thoughts on “Indigenous Leaders Applaud Tragically Hip Frontman ‘Gord Downie’ For First Nations Advocacy

  1. Christine Heynen

    I’ve learned about History from the First Nations’ perspectives and have always had a passion for these topics (especially the Residential Schools). I’ve followed this story very closely and Downie’s spot on in his assessment. Good on him for writing songs like “Good Night, Attawapiskat”, “Now The Struggle Has A Name”, and “Looking for a Place to happen”. We need more artists and poets like Gord Downie to take our politicians to task on what’s happening in the 3rd world areas of our 1st world country. He’s absolutely right that what my European ancestors did to Peoples of First Nations descent “isn’t cool”. More people need to read about “what the hell went on up there” (and across Canada, really; I suggest Olive Patricia Dickason’s Canada’s First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples from Earliest Times for starters). The bottom line is we need to stop vilifying the victims and make things right. We need teachers to step up to the plate, also.

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