APTN’s Nations at War gives a macro look at First Nations history

Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 10 p.m. ET sees the series premiere of the history documentary Nations at War, produced by Jason Friesen, written and created by Tim Johnson and narrated by David H. Lyle on APTN. While taking in the fantastic visuals that VFX specialist Brian Moylan created with his team, viewers can expect to learn about such topics in Canadian history as the Haida Gwai, Louis Riel and Tecumseh.

As I watched, I noted that Nations at War followed a similar format as CBC’s controversial Canada: The Story of Us. In fact, this almost feels like a response to the very same. But that was just a coincidence in timing. If you recall, many viewers and even participants voiced their concerns about how little coverage the history of First Nations was dealt in Canada: The Story of Us. Here in Nations at War, those blanks were filled and Canadian history buffs will definitely rejoice at the materials covered. This is not the “same old same old” from our social studies texts. Nations at War takes a macro look at history and demonstrates how First Nations had just as much impact on huge global events as, say, the British Empire or the Spanish Empire did.

Series producer, co-writer Jason Friesen and creator, writer Tim Johnson set out to make a series that—when broken down—each episode tells one component of a larger story that reaches globally. Watched independently, viewers will learn about one full chapter of history and have a rounded understanding of that unique event. However, if you take the time to watch all 13 episodes, you will have a fuller experience. We as Canadians tend to downplay our importance in global history and Nations at War showcases the impact that people, who lived here on the land we now call Canada, had on the world stage.

As a teacher, I am always looking for material that can assist my colleagues who may not have the resources at hand when it comes to fulfilling the Aboriginal topics in their curriculum. I would recommend this series as a great resource. With the ability to stream once episodes have aired, teachers have the opportunity to pre-screen during the initial airing and then stream in the classroom. Topics included cover many different geographical regions in Canada so teachers can access the material relevant to the communities proximal to their area. The presentation is definitely engaging for students due to the heavy use of VFX in its creation.

If you are a history buff, be sure to check out Nations at War. If you are a teacher looking for new ways to introduce or even supplement your course materials, check this series out too.

Nations at War airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on APTN.




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