Indigenous artists present works to Gord Downie 

WAYCOBAH: Indigenous artists from the region are proud to see their work presented to one of the country’s favourite musicians.

During an Assembly of First Nations Meeting in Gatineau, Quebec on December 6, Regional Chief Morley Googoo presented musician Gord Downie with gifts from Waycobah First Nations artists.

Googoo presented The Tragically Hip frontman with a painting from Loretta Gould and a beaded medallion from Lillian and Vivian Googoo.

“It meant a lot to me,” said Morley Googoo, who launched the Legacy Room project – which encourages companies to discuss First Nations rights and reconciliation – with Downie a week prior to the art presentation.

Morley Googoo, the former Waycobah Chief, said he wanted to make the presentation because of Downie’s work in bringing Canada’s interest and attention to First Nations’ rights.

“It’s opening the doors for people to know more about the residential school era and the reconciliation efforts that are required here in Canada by all Canadians.”

The painting, entitled “Legacy,” depicts a fictional meeting between Downie and Chanie Wenjack, the inspiration for Downie’s solo album and Secret Path. Wenjack died after escaping from a residential school in Ontario.

Gould said the painting meant a lot to her because both of her husband’s parents are residential school survivors.

“Knowing what [Downie’s] doing for Canada, it made me emotional to know that he’s going to have this,” said Gould, noting she understands prints of the painting are going to be made available.

As for the painting, Gould said the eagle represents love and the gold turtle represents truth.

“I wanted to point that out for residential schools survivors, where the truth needs to be known,” she said.

Lillian and Vivian Googoo’s beaded medalion depicts the hat Downie wore through most of the recent Tragically Hip tour.

Lillian Googoo said she and her sister do a lot of bead work and the medallion came together in a few days, despite losing power in their home. She and her sister take a lot of pride in their work.

“Morley was really proud that night,” she said. “He called me and said ‘I don’t know what to do, Lily. I’m so happy.’ He was so excited.”