Konwenni Jacobs & Brian Williams – Taking control of health
Thirty years ago, diabetes was practically non-existent in Indigenous Communities. Now it’s an epidemic. Kahnawake health advocate Alex McComber inspires Konwenni Jacobs and Brian Williams to tackle this health crisis -rooted in colonial policies of land dispossession, starvation and disease -with awareness and confidence.
Shillene McNaughton –Birthing on her own terms
Shillene McNaughton is planning a traditional birth for her fourth child. Her first three kids were born with the support of the Six Nations Maternal and Child Centre, a pioneering midwifery program which has brought birth back to the community. But Shillene’s gestational diabetes may thwart her efforts to welcomeher baby into the world following Mohawk traditions.
Jamie Moses and Shawn Iserhoff –Stewards of the Land
Healthy land is the starting point for all health. Nowhere is this more evident than in EeyouIstchee, where hydro, mining and forestry continue to threaten the Crees’ close relationship to the land. We follow environmental advocates Jamie Moses and Shawn Iserhoff as they struggle to keep uranium mining out of their territory, and teach youth aboutthe health and wellness that comes from the land.
Babbeyjane Happyjack –Fostering positive change
With more indigenous children in care than at the height of residential school, advocate Cindy Blackstock is on a mission to reclaim healthy families and seek justice for indigenous children like Babbeyjane. Babbeyjane Happyjack is one of the thousands of children who grew up in a foster family. Now a mother, she is struggling to attain a healthier and happier life for herself and her three boys.
Bonnie Skye and Teri Morrow–Traditional food in a modern world
Bonnie Skye is waging a food revolution, one seed at a time. She’s a fourthgeneration corn planter and cooker, growing the ancestral corn of the Haudenosaunee that colonization tried to destroy. WithCayuga dietician Teri Morrow and local cultivators, she is bringing health and traditional food practices back to her community of Six Nations.
Conrad Mianscum –Staying grounded while moving ahead
Cree athlete Conrad Mianscumis a rising star on the cross-country snowmobiling circuit. But the unexpected death of his grandfather, a former snowmobile champion, threatens to derail Conrad’s career. Family and community, including Snocross champion Nathaniel Bosum, rally behind Conrad as he fights to advance in his sport, and honour his grandfather’s legacy.
Heather White –Rebel with a Cause
Heather White is on a mission to confront media misrepresentation while encouraging self-acceptance and a positive body image. Through her work as a plus-size actress on Mohawk Girls, Heather defies the “norms” of beauty on screen while challenging the Pocahontas archetype.Through her work as an educator,Heather empowers students to look at the media through a critical lens and challenge what they do and don’tsee.
Rene Meshak–Healing Arts
Art saved Rene Meshake. A residential school survivor, Rene Meshake fell into drugs and alcohol and lived on the streets of Torontobefore finding his way back to his Ojibwe and artistic roots. Today he is a prolific interdisciplinary artist who has reconciled with his past. He mentors Indigenous youth like Ziibiwan Rivers, a foster care survivor andtalented electronic musician.
Lucina Gordon-Inuk School Days
If Inuit students like Lucina Gordon want a higher education, they have to head south, leaving family and community behind. Twenty year-old Lucina hasmade it to her last semester at a Montreal college but homesickness and alcoholism may prevent her from graduating. Alternative college models like the Nunavut Sivuniksavutin Ottawa, offer built-in supports and Inuk centred culture and language instruction.
Robbie Masden and Pasha Partridge -Two-Spirited Gifts
Adopted by a non-indigneous family, Robbie Masdenfaced discrimination and rejection for being native and for being queer. Pasha Partridge is an Inuk-Mohawk youth who left her Inuit community to study, but also to come out as bi-sexual and live comfortably with her girlfriend In Montreal. Growing up queer and Indigenous isn’t easy but both Robbie and Pasha find ways to recognize their unique gifts and celebrate who they are.
Wayne Rabbitskin –The Long Road Home (Return of the Nishiiyuu Man)
Wayne Rabbitskinis an unlikely leader in the fight to end violence against women. This former abuser from Chisasibi, Cree territory is on a long journey of healing to reconcile his violent past, create dialogue between men and women and restore the teachings of his people to honour women.
Elijah Decoursayand Sheri Pranteau -Restoring Justice through Healing
Elijah Decoursayand Sheri Pranteauare among the thousands of indigenous inmates caught in the Canadian justice system, a system brazenly set against indigenous people. Sheriis serving a life sentence, trying to get back on track and maintain custody of her young son. Elijah is making amends in a different way, reclaiming culture and reconnecting with tradition at Waseskun Healing Centre. Waseskun is providing a way forward for indigenous offenders and challenging the punitive nature of the colonial justice system.
James Jones –Decolonization Dance
As a teenager, James Jones was a gang member living on the streets of Edmonton. Hoop Dancing helped him escape that world. Banned for generations, traditional ceremonies, including dancing, are seeing a rebirth in indigenous communities. Today James is a rising star, dancing with A Tribe Called Red, performing and competing on the worldstage. He is also using traditional dance to help indigenous youth stay out of gangs and off the streets.