Choice: Learn or Get Schooled

December 5, 2016


Not far from here, up into the granite and forest and lakes of the shield, is the location for the school above. The brick and mortar is no longer there, but the memories of what went on inside its walls (and inside the walls of countless other residential schools) will last generations.

Gord Downie, collaborating with Jeff Lemire, created  The Secret Path,  which brings us the story of one child, Chanie Wenjack, who tried to escape the shackles of Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School (the school above) and walk back to his home in the natural and undisturbed lake country hundreds of kilometers north. The story of the error in our ways.

Acts of love:

It doesn’t provide us with a solution. It attempts to draw our collective attention to the issue of the indigenous “degenerative state” and absolute “reconciliation”. It simply points out that we must chart a new course. We must learn from our mistakes. Things must improve for our indigenous peoples. We have to find our way home. Words don’t make the rain fall.

The issue is (there are numerous issues concerning indigenous people and) we’d be wise to concentrate on them rather than diverting our attention to fighting wars in Iraq in order to protect the interests of wealthy oil vultures. Or spending millions building pipelines (and even more money pretending to monitor and create “world class response to oil spills”). Or buying stealth bombers. Or writing off senate expenses or….

We seem to have lost our way.

Gord Downie’s – The Secret Path – 2016

CBC – movie length, one hour plus a “panel discussion”. Personally, the atmosphere of the “discussion” is part of the problem we have to overcome. The “go to” solutions and methods don’t work. Period. I’d rather see them in a filleting shack at Norway House or a sweat lodge in NWT. Then we can get meaningful talk. Followed not by a glossy 40 pound, 2000 page report destined for some judges bookcase, but by corrective action. Accompanied with acts of love.

The Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Foundation link


There’s no point in going to school if we don’t learn. Hudson Bay University or North End College will teach you much more valuable and positive life skills than a corporate Ivy League School.
This song is from Supertramp’s 1974 LP Crime of the Century. When it was first released my close friend, Richard and I would play it over and over and over. He was an excellent piano player and loved the Rick Davies solo mid-song. He’d break into “air piano” to play the riffs no matter where we were. Shortly after, at 22 years old, Richard was killed by a drunk driver.

Forty years later, drunk driving (and distracted driving) still exists.
The tragedy is we only learn if we truly want to. In most cases (not involving making cash), we ignore the obvious evidence that should cause us to learn. Time to break on through to the other side of the bars.

Live and learn.

This is exceptionally well done (he brought his tour to town last month). I love playing this on my 12 string….but my band needs a quality piano player:

School – Roger Hodgson – Live in São Paulo

The crime of our existence.



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