Tag Archives: APTN

An Indigenous woman returns to her birth family in APTN’s Unsettled

There have been many, many television series using the fish out of water scenario as a key part of its storytelling. And APTN’s Unsettled does it in a very effective way.

Airing Fridays at 8 p.m. Eastern on APTN, Unsettled follows the journey of Rayna Keetch (Cheri Maracle). A victim of the Sixties Scoop—the mass removal of Indigenous children from their families into the child welfare system—Rayna returns to her First Nation for a traditional homecoming ceremony when life throws her a curveball. Her husband, Darryl (Brandon Oakes), loses his business, car and their Toronto home. The result? A short visit turns into something more long-term for Rayna, Darryl and kids Stacia (Michaella Shannon) and Myles (Joshua Odjick).

Created, written and directed by Jennifer Podemski and Derek Diorio (Hard Rock Medical), Unsettled has been in the back of Podemski’s mind for years.

“I built this narrative around this family,” Podemski says. “Really using a lot of my own experiences and my desire to interweave and focus it with an authentic Indigenous lens.” Themes include child welfare, the aforementioned Sixties Scoop, residential schools, loss of identity and substance abuse and Podemski had a circle of advisors on-hand to make sure she got the facts correct.

A truly unique way of framing the story is through Henry (Albert Owl), Rayna’s father and the local radio DJ. Viewers listen to Henry speaking to his audience in Ojibwe, recalling the past while fuzzy, home movie-like visuals roll. It’s very well done.

“These stories are effective because they’re so rarely told,” Podemski says. “My goal was to weave these storylines, but not be an issue-driven show, be a character-driven show that weaves characters that are directly connected to these issues.”

Unsettled airs Fridays at 8 p.m. Eastern on APTN.

Images courtesy of APTN.


APTN announces fall 2021 lineup

From a media release:

This fall, APTN is bringing the heat with new and returning shows that celebrate the many sides of Indigenous lives. From Indigenous change makers and visionaries, to the rustic kitchens of global Indigenous chefs, to survivalists, supernatural encounters and the raw drama of daily life, APTN is here to deliver straight-up Indigenous excellence. You’re going to laugh, you’re going to cry, and you’re going to get hungry, so bust out the napkins and get ready to eat!

APTN continues to be committed to showcasing Indigenous languages and cultures while providing engaging educational content for television viewers. For those who consume programming online, the network’s growing Indigenous-focused streaming service, APTN lumi, will have lots of new binge-worthy content.

The new season will roll out on APTN from September to January and will include the following programs.

Mouthwatering entertainment

Every Tuesday night, tune in for a mouth-watering celebration of food. Learn about Indigenous cuisine on the fan favourite series, Moosemeat & Marmalade and on brand-new programs:

New: Wild Game – Season 1 (Premieres Sept. 7, 2021)
Chef Rich Francis is an advocate for decolonizing food and has one goal in life: to reinvent Indigenous cuisine. Rich visits First Nations across Canada to hunt and gather only the best ingredients nature has to offer. The result: imaginative, improvised, Indigenous cooking that combines traditional practices with modern methods, with the most creative and tasty results.

New: On Country Kitchen – Season 1 (Premieres Sept. 7, 2021)
Comic Derek Nannup and one-of a-kind Indigenous Chef Mark, tour around the beautiful South-West of Western Australia, seeking out some of the best local produce in the world, and meeting some characters along the way.

New: Easy Eats – Season 1 (Premieres Sept. 7, 2021)
A unique culinary experience featuring presenter, Hera Te Kurapa, as she creates a rustic, but delicious fine dining menu filled with mouth-watering dishes.

Thrilling docuseries

Returning: Skindigenous – Season 3 (Premieres Sept. 15, 2021)
Profiling some of the most talented Indigenous tattoo artists in the world, this season highlights more Canadian artists than ever before. The adventure once again takes us deep into various Indigenous communities from around the world using the art of tattoo as a lens.

New: Michif Country – Season 1 (Premieres Sept. 12, 2021)
This documentary series explores the unique landscape, culture and language of the Michif community of Saint Laurent, Man. In this series, Indigenous celebrities embark on traditional hunting, trapping and fishing expeditions with the locals. The result is a comedic, exhilarating and inspiring exchange of culture and knowledge. ​

New: Life Below Zero: Canada – Season 1 (Premieres Oct. 31, 2021)
From long, dark, frozen winters to sweltering, bug-infested summers, Life Below Zero: Canada captures the day-to-day trials of people living in unforgiving environments. Follow the cast as they survive in the coldest and most remote regions of Northern Canada.

French-language content

Returning: Sans Réserve – Season 3 (French Premiere Sept. 6, 2021)
In a cozy and conducive atmosphere, the host Charles Bender welcomes the secrets of his guests with warmth and concern. This French-language series lifts the veil on Indigenous and non-Indigenous personalities who have a profound social, political and cultural impact.

Exploring the supernatural

Returning: Spirit Talker – Season 2 (Premieres Sept. 15, 2021)
Follow Mi’kmaq medium Shawn Leonard as he travels from coast to coast using his psychic abilities to connect the living with the dead and bring hope, healing, and closure to Indigenous communities.

New: Trickster – Season 1 (Premieres Sept. 16, 2021)
Showcasing a vast amount of Indigenous talent, the show follows Jared who is a teenager in the town of Kitimat, B.C. Like his mom and dad, Jared uses drugs and alcohol to escape the daily grind of poverty, violence and abuse. Jared starts seeing weird things like talking ravens, doppelgängers and monsters. To his relief, and terror, he isn’t crazy: he’s inherited magical abilities from his mom and someone he didn’t know existed: his biological dad.

Returning: Red Earth Uncovered – Season 3 (Premieres Sept. 15, 2021)
Tom Jackson and Shayla Stonechild lead the investigation of archaeological discoveries and ancient myths to uncover how Indigenous Peoples may have played a role in historical events and legends.

Returning: The Other Side – Season 7 (Premieres Oct. 28, 2021)
Follow the talented trio helping spirits and their loved ones find peace under the guidance of an Indigenous Elder. Opening the door to the spirit world can have unexpected results. That’s why the team of The Other Side approach every investigation with respect. Intuitive Jeff Richards, researcher Erin Goodpipe and Spirit Guide Tom Charles know that they won’t escape unchanged – and neither will viewers. This year features an episode inside APTN’s head office in Winnipeg.

Big drama

New: Unsettled – Season 1 (Premieres Sept. 10, 2021)
When urban Indigenous power couple Darryl and Rayna Keetch uproot their family and abandon their affluent life in Toronto and move home to the rez, everything they’ve worked for is compromised, including their marriage.

Returning: Tribal – Season 2 (Premieres Oct. 21, 2021)
Tribal returns where interim Tribal Chief Samantha Woodburn (Jessica Matten) attempts to overcome political red tape and must also prove herself amongst the old-white-boys club of the Metro Police. She navigates politics and procedure as she clashes with her partner, Chuck “Buke” Bukansky (Brian Markinson), a seasoned but broken-down Metro Police detective.


Rezolution Pictures announces greenlight for second season of GESPE’GEWA’GI: The Last Land on APTN

From a media release:

Rezolution Pictures is very proud to announce that APTN has greenlit the second season of GESPE’GEWA’GI: The Last Land for a 10-part, half-hour episode series. Pre-production is scheduled to begin in August and shooting commences in Fall 2021, continuing into Summer 2022 in the Mi’gmaq communities of Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

GESPE’GEWA’GI: The Last Land, Season 2, is a documentary series about the Indigenous men and women of Mi’gmagi who work for Indigenous-run commercial fisheries Following larger-than-life characters, we experience the fun and excitement of their lives on and off the water. We also get an inside perspective on how First Nations commercial fishing industries — that were born out of violence and defiance — grew to be a key economic and cultural support for the communities.

The subject is quite topical as two events have been in the news in the last year: The conflicts between Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq and non-Indigenous commercial fishers and the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s upholding of parts of a lower court ruling that Canada’s regulation and management of regular commercial fisheries unjustifiably infringed on the First Nations fishers’ rights to harvest and sell fish.

The first season of the documentary series about the Mi’gmaq fishers of Listuguj, Que., who make their living on the nearby waters harvesting salmon, crab, lobster and shrimp, was first broadcast in Winter 2021 and the entire season is re-running on APTN now as well as on APTN lumi.

Featuring some of the larger-than-life characters from Season One and introducing some new brave, funny, and robust fishers, biologists, Elders and community members, Season Two will be anchored in Listuguj but also travel to other Indigenous fisheries in Mi’kmaq territory, such as Gesgapegiag, Que., Eel River Bar, N.B., and Sipekne’katik, N.S. It will continue to showcase life on the water, the science and conservation efforts being put forward, and the history, culture, and community of the Mi’gmagi.

GESPE’GEWA’GI: The Last Land is co-executive produced by Ernest Webb (Cree) and Greg Lawrence, produced by Lisa M. Roth. Season 2 combines the directing talent of Ernest Webb, Greg Lawrence, and Courtney Montour (Mohawk). In season 2, Heather Condo (Mi’gmaq) returns as Director Trainee and April Maloney (Mi’kmaq) comes on board as director of photography trainee, with the support of the ISO-Netflix Indigenous Production Apprenticeship Program.


Drew Hayden Taylor is Going Native on APTN

I first saw Drew Hayden Taylor in the CBC POV documentary “Searching for Winnetou.” Available on CBC Gem, the episode followed Taylor as he explored the German obsession with Indigenous North Americans. The curious and entertaining documentary stuck with me for awhile. So, I was pleased to learn he was back on TV, this time as the star of his own series.

Going Native—debuting with the first of 13 episodes on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on APTN—finds the celebrated Anishinaabe humorist and author exploring how Indigenous Peoples have changed the world, and are re-shaping their culture today. Each instalment represents at theme; Saturday’s “Going Horse” tracks the history of the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and equines, and includes interviews, stunning vistas and footage of Taylor scrambling to mount a horse.

“One of the problems I’ve personally had—as an Indigenous humorist—is a lot of the media coming both from the Indigenous community and about the Indigenous community, like novels, movies, etc., deal with a darker aspect of the First Nations communities dealing with the oppressed, depressed and suppressed nature of a lot of our stories and history,” Taylor says. “Having traveled to over 150 Indigenous communities across Canada and the United States, I’ve always been greeted with a laugh, a smile and a joke. It’s always been my firm belief that it’s been our sense of humour that has allowed us to survive some of those darker periods of our history.

“I know we have a sense of humour,” he continues. “We have a sense of whimsy, a sense of enjoyment of life that is not frequently witnessed by the dominant culture and that was one of the things I wanted incorporated into this series.”

That humour and enjoyment is shown in the sidelong glances between horse experts helping Taylor scramble onto a regal horse or the wonder in his face as he learns Indigenous Peoples were tracking their place in the galaxy for likely before Europeans were. Future episodes investigate architecture, music, food, fashion, business and pop culture, all delivered by Taylor, who has a twinkle in his eye and wonderment at the information he learns.

“The depth of knowledge that was available to our ancestors is truly stunning,” Taylor says. “I grew up in the Indigenous culture and I’m still learning so much about my own culture.”

Going Native airs Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on APTN.

Images courtesy of Ice River Films.


New series Yukon Harvest debuts May 8 on APTN

From a media release:

Rogue River Films Inc. announced today the premiere of their brand new series Yukon Harvest, which debuts on APTN in English on May 8, 2021 and in Northern Tutchone on May 20, 2021. The 13 episode documentary series chronicles the adventures of Indigenous hunters and guides as they navigate the wilds of the Yukon and beyond. Some are seasoned veterans; others are young newcomers who must reconnect with their roots and learn how to respectfully harvest an animal for the community.

Filmed across Canada, Yukon Harvest highlights the beauty of the country while capturing real life stories of families, communities, connection and tradition, following real people and their emotional journeys. Filming locations include the Mayo area of the Yukon, Vancouver Island, Kamloops, Yellowknife, Fort St. John, Whitehorse and Osler, Saskatchewan.

The series will also be released under the title Dän K’eht’e in Northern Tutchone, a language spoken in the Yukon communities of Mayo, Pelly Crossing, Stewart Crossing, Carmacks, and Beaver Creek. It was important to the team to create a lasting record of the language that is only spoken fluently by a limited number of people. The team worked remotely with the Elders and community in order to safely translate and record the series in Northern Tutchone during the pandemic.

Episodes of Yukon Harvest will begin airing on APTN on May 8, 2021 (English) and will continue weekly. The Northern Tutchone language version, Dän K’eht’e will air on May 20, 2021 and will continue weekly. Check your local listings for broadcast times in your area or visit aptn.ca/schedule.

Episodes will be available on APTN’s streaming service, APTN lumi, within 48 hours of the original broadcast. Visit watchaptnlumi.ca or subscribe to APTN lumi through the Apple TV Channel app at https://apple.co/aptn.

Yukon Harvest was produced, developed and written by Todd Forsbloom and Erik Virtanen and executive produced by Jim Shockey. Todd Forsbloom, Dan Minsky and Taylor Smith were directors on the series and select cast includes: Don Harris, Dallas Harris, Annette Carter-Harris, Ed Jensen, Brett Taylor, Derek and Tori Forsbloom, Geri-Lee Buyck and the Buyck Family, Evan Lafreniere-Clark, Josh Austen, Steve Buyck and Scott Unger. Yukon Harvest was made possible with the support of APTN and the CMF.