Episodes

The full series is available to stream on APTN’s website here: http://aptn.ca/firstcontact/

Episode One: The Journey Begins

The six travelers begin their journey in the heart of Canada; Winnipeg, Manitoba. Here they meet prominent Indigenous activist Michael Redhead Champagne who sheds some light on the journey ahead. He outlines their upcoming work alongside two community driven movements; the Bear Clan patrol which works to keep Winnipeg`s notorious North End streets safe, and Drag the Red which takes on the sobering task helping to solve cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women by searching the river, and the riverbank, for remains or other evidence. From Winnipeg the group travels over 2000 km north to the remote Inuit community of Kimmirut where they experience life on the land is more intense than they ever could have imagined. From the high cost of store-bought food, the challenges locals face hunting, and the sharing economy that has been created to ensure the whole community can eat, the six participants get a window into a truly different world to their own. Through their hands on work with these community-based efforts, some of the participants begin to acknowledge a change in their attitudes, while others remain staunch in their beliefs about Indigenous people.


Episode Two: A Group Divided

The group arrives in Muskrat Dam, one of several fly-in reserves in Northern Ontario. Most Canadians do not understand why people continue to live in remote places like this one. Their stay will open the group’s eyes about why relocating isn’t an option for the families whose families have been here for generations. They will also hear about the impact of the legacy of residential schools, including a firsthand story of a man who watched his younger brother be taken away in a plane, before having the same happen to himself. Finally, they learn tough lessons about educating youth in a remote-fly in community and how it is possible that clean drinking water is an issue here and in 140 other reserves across the country. The next stop takes the travelers deep into the heart of Alberta; with a population of over 17,000, Maskwacis has a reputation for gangs, crime and a high suicide rate. While initially some sights seem to back up their fears about this community, by the time this leg of their journey is over, the six will have attended their first Pow Wow and sweat lodge ceremony, experiencing Indigenous culture in ways most non-Indigenous people never have the chance to. By the time they are ready to move on to the final leg of their journey, some attitudes within the group begin a major shift.


Episode Three: A Road to Healing

So far on the journey the travelers have had their views confronted and their emotions pushed to the limit, but the travelers are about to face their biggest test yet. Heading south to Calgary, the group hits the front lines to experience life on the streets, getting a glimpse into the humanity of both those working to help and those struggling with their circumstances. After, they go north to an Edmonton prison to learn about life on the inside, speaking to both male and female inmates. Here the divide in the group is at a breaking point, with some participants having completely new outlooks, while others continue holding on to their original beliefs. The final stop on the 28 day journey is in Ahousaht First Nation, on the west side of Vancouver Island. Historically, Ahousaht has suffered many issues, but in recent years, with strong leadership from within, the reserve has made many changes and turned the community around. It is here that they take the final key steps in their journey, and process all they have learned during this once in a lifetime experience.