From a media release:
Blackstone is a raw, inside look behind the veil of power and politics on an Indian reserve.
The story we tell of the Blackstone Cree First Nation is one that many communities will recognize as their own. The circumstances and details may be different, but the underlying climate of corruption, mismanagement and nepotism that gives rise to the story is becoming an all-too familiar reserve experienceâ€¦and the cost in human terms is tragic.
Blackstone is fact-based fiction; a one hour television series pilot, telling the story of a community suffering disintegration by its own hand â€“ a result of the corruption, mismanagement and nepotism of its Chief and Councillors; and the parallel complicity of the silent bandmembers.
A fire at the Blackstone Reserve sets the stage, claiming the life of three bandmembers. The suspicious circumstances of the tragedy compel bandmember Victor Merasty to turn his focus from videotaping the band’s history and cultural traditions to using his camera to document the reserve’s entrenched â€˜culture’ of corruption.
Bandmember Leona Stoney lives off-reserve, by choice; an addictions counselor in the city, she removed herself from the vicious cycle of dependency that is reserve life but continues to do follow-up work on the reserve and visits her family who is still there -her sister Gail, and her niece Natalie.
Unanswered questions about the real cause and purpose of the fire lead to an occupation of the Band Office. Chief Andy Fraser attempts to quash the
allegations by holding a Band Meeting reporting the results of the official fire investigation, which exonerate him.
Having watched the news report of the occupation Leona returns to Blackstone for the Band Meeting. During her visit to Blackstone, while at Gail’s, Leona takes note of the telltale signs of Natalie’s continuing gas-sniffing habit. Gail has a serious alcohol addiction and Leona can’t help but judge Gail for the poor example she is setting for Natalie.
After the meeting, Leona is invited to elder Cecil Delaronde’s house to meet with a small group of bandmembers who voice their concerns about problems on the reserve. With an election in the offing Leona knows what’s coming and she declines their proposal she run against Andy Fraser.
The meeting, covered by Kyra Amos, a news reporter for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, backfires on Chief Andy Fraser when Victor starts asking challenging questions. After the meeting, Chief Fraser attempts to intimidate Victor, leading to an exacerbation of existing tensions between Victor and his wife Gloria.
Victor is stonewalled in his efforts to tape bandmembers about what’s really going on at Blackstone but his camera leads him to Natalie, gas-sniffing with her friends.
Natalie is living her own private hell, one including sexual abuse. Her suicide borne of hopelessness forces Leona’s decision to run for Chief. Leona asks Victor to run as a Councillor with her, a discussion witnessed by Councillors Leonard Morin and Rick Amenakew. Victor declines but nevertheless becomes the target of intimidation, causing the final rift between Victor and Gloria. She leaves him for the city, and Victor aligns with Leona.
They win the election, thereby upsetting a familial power-base that had been untouchable for years. But Andy Fraser, Leonard Morin, and Rick Amenakew meet to plot how they can get Leona ousted out of office.
â€œA constitution will give us power over our own future. That’s real self government, not something imposed by the Indian Act. A constitution defines what’s important to Blackstone as a Nation, as a people. It has to come from the people, the stakeholders… So what do you want?â€