Special Presentation
A Night for Chanie

Featuring Joseph Boyden, Senator Murray Sinclair, Terril Calder, Kent Monkman, Digging Roots & Special Guests

Event Sponsor

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Saturday October 22
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 1
5:30pm - 7:00pm

Join us for a remarkable night in remembrance of Chanie Wenjack, a young Anishinaabe boy from the Marten Falls First Nation in northern Ontario.

Chanie was born in 1954 and at the age of nine was taken to the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School, over 600 kilometres away near Kenora. Known there as “Charlie”, Chanie endured the horrors of residential school. At the age of 12, Chanie fled the school and, on foot, tried to return to his family. On the night of October 22, 1966, Chanie died alone next to the railroad, over 60 kilometres from the school, but still hundreds of kilometres away from home.

His death prompted a coroner’s inquest – the first for a student of a residential school – which recognized that the “Indian education system causes tremendous emotional and adjustment problems” for the Indigenous children. Since his death, Chanie’s story has become a symbol of resistance, survival and strength. Trent University named the Wenjack Theatre in his honour and the late Willie Dunn wrote the tribute song Charlie Wenjack (1978). More recently, Chanie’s story has been brought to a broader public via a new Heritage Minute and through new work by Gord Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip.

On the 50th anniversary of his death, imagineNATIVE presents a special event honouring his memory and honouring all former students of residential schools. A Night for Chanie features a roster of acclaimed Indigenous leaders and artists who will share words, songs, and images inspired by Chanie Wenjack.

Introductory Words by Senator Murray Sinclair, Chief Commissioner of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.



Reading by Joseph Boyden from his new novella Wenjack, illustrated by Kent Monkman. Copies of Wenjack will be available for sale at the TIFF Shop. Joseph Boyden will be available for a book signing following the event. 


Canada | 2016 | 15 min | Short Animation
Director & Animator: Terril Calder
Writer & Narrator: Joseph Boyden



Performance by Terril Calder
A new performance art work inspired by a new, forthcoming short animated film by Terril Calder and Joseph Boyden, supported through the {Re}conciliation initiative.

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Musical Performance by Digging Roots

Digging Roots are part of the new wave of Indigenous artists redefining Canada's musical and cultural landscape. Their music is a genre blurring kaleidoscope of post-psychedelic blues, rocksteady roots, and old school Indigenous influences. Lead by husband and wife collaborators Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish.