About Chanie Wenjack

Chanie Wenjack was a young Anishinaabe boy from Ogoki Post in Marten Falls In Northern Ontario, Canada. He attended Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario. The school was run by the Women’s Society of the Presbyterian Church. Chanie attended the school for two years and ran away on Oct 16, 1966. He was headed home when he died of exposure on October 23, 1966 on the railway tracks near Redditt, Ontario, the home of his uncle.

Indian residential schools were one of the main pillars of the long assault on Indigenous lands, cultures, languages and identities. The history and impact of these schools are presented in vivid detail in the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released in December 2015.

We honour the life of Chanie Wenjack through the work that we undertake to ensure the conditions that he and thousands of others lived in can never happen again. Our vision is to constantly advance the knowledge of and about Indigenous peoples with a view to the overall improvement of quality of life and to contribute to the creation of places of respect, dignity and power for Indigenous peoples.

Prior to the launch of the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies, Trent University paid tribute to Chanie and other residential school victims and survivors when students lobbied to name Wenjack Theatre, the largest lecture hall on campus, in his honour in 1973.