Jeff Lemire teamed up with Gord Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip, last year for a multimedia project that told the story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, an Ojibwa boy who died of exposure and hunger back in the 1960s. The Secret Path included poems, songs and a graphic novel, with proceeds from sales going to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund.
“He would visit every couple weeks and I would show him my drawings. We would laugh and talk and somewhere in there, there was even a 400km snowmobile ride in arctic temperatures, a hockey game in a hotel room in Timmins, and because of him I finally got to fulfill my teenaged dream of joining a rock band, even though I can’t play any instruments,” Lemire wrote. “He had a way about him that made it feel like we’d known each other for years. I miss him now and I will always miss him.”
In honor of his friend, Lemire has created a print that’s now available on The Pushpin. Proceeds from the sale of the print will benefit the Downie Wenjack fund, which supports cross-cultural education between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in Canada.