I remember being in Kingston over a decade ago. Lovely city. The architecture and the university feel along with a lot of artsy places to visit make it perfect for a weekend getaway. All the while, I couldn’t get off of my mind that this was the home of all the members of The Tragically Hip, the greatest Canadian band ever and one of the most talented rock /blues /country groups I’d heard. Yes, I can hear the country riffs in the music. So perfectly disguised. The Hip were the ideal of success through hard work. They were kings, even Gods, in Canada, yet they couldn’t get much success in the states. Nothing more than a hip indie band. They were the quintessential Canadian band for reasons I can’t get into here without veering even further off in my story.
Canada is a great country, often the envy of the world in many respects. Yet there are things we need to make amends for. Things that can never be fixed but that can be improved and, in the least, recognized for a chance of reconciliation. Residential schools for indigenous youth is the ultimate attempt at genocide we as Canadians need to be ashamed of. Purposely separating children from their culture and families so that they wouldn’t be influenced by them is something that can never be forgiven. And it was systemic, which makes it everyone’s fault. The recognition of it this year by the government is sometimes that’s been a long time coming.
It often takes someone outside the oppressed community to take the fight to a new level. Gord Downie has taken it as his life’s goal to expose and educate people to the plight of the indigenous peoples and to open the door to reconciliation with not just special interest groups, but with Canadian society at large. Downie has been diagnosed with brain cancer and often forgets your name. He has had surgery and wakes up every day with a purpose, no matter how sick he may feel.
Below is the full exclusive interview with Gord on CBC conducted by Peter Mansbridge. Great and haunting to see a man talking of his physical shortcomings yet attaining his goals at the same time. Heartwarming and difficult to watch. http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/thenational/gord-downie-exclusive-interview-1.3804422
The above picture was taken during The Tragically Hip’s swan song tour this summer where Gord wanted to give a goodbye tour to his fans.
The Secret Path – http://wp.me/p5qr5K-4To is another story from a blogger about this.
Gord Downie wins person of the year hands down because he is accepting his disease and even overcoming it by helping others. At a time where we are living precariously and trying to fight the anomie and alienation caused by the events around us, we have an example of courage and the power of the human will to make us refrain from giving up and to accept our goals as attainable. At the same time, we can all start agreeing that the best thing to happen in a tumultuous 2016 is the acceptance and the end of our ignorance concerning the shameful chapter, or several chapters, in our history towards our near-destruction of the original inhabitants of this great land.