Episode One: You Don’t Know Me Until You’ve Met Me
The six travelers start their journey in unceded Algonquin, Anishnabek territory, Ottawa, Ontario. Here, they meet Indigenous activist and performer Ian Campeau, formerly of a Tribe Called Red. He prepares them for the life-changing journey that lies ahead. The the six start by splitting up into groups to spend the night with two separate local Indigenous families in Ottawa’s blue collar Vanier neighbourhood. Here, half the group learns the harsh reality about the 60s Scoop from survivor Colleen Cardinal. The others gain a firsthand insight from Dion Metcalf about the challenges facing Inuit families living in the city, far from traditional lands. Next, the group crosses the border into Quebec, where they visit Kanasatake, a Mohawk community home to the Oka Siege. Here, they are shown a different perspective of what happened from two community leaders that were on the front lines of this dark chapter in Canadian history, Ellen Gabriel and John Cree. Finally, the six travel 2000 kilometers north to the remote Innu community of Natuashish, Labrador. With a tragic history of forced relocation and mistreatment by the government, the six travelers enter a community ravaged by substance abuse and social issues. But spending time with the local Innu people sheds an entirely new light on the community, its residents, and history. A powerful spiritual experience helps them understand how locals are using their own traditions to heal their community.
Episode Two: Changing the Lens
The six participants travel south to Thunder Bay, the largest city in Northwestern Ontario and a hub to many Indigenous communities throughout the region. But a number of tragic incidents in recent years have exposed some extreme racist attitudes towards Indigenous people within the city. A visit to Shelterhouse, a low barrier shelter in the heart of the city, sheds light on some of the racist attitudes that deeply effect the Indigenous residents there. As part of the experience, the six participants ride in the shelter’s new SOS Van, an outreach vehicle that provides services to those living life on the streets. It’s a chance for the group to interact with some of the city’s homeless population, and have meaningful exchanges about the challenges facing them. During one particularly intense ride-along, a young woman shares a traumatic personal experience that has a profound affect on a member of the group. Next, they take a short trip to Fort William First Nation, an Indigenous community right next door to Thunder Bay. For the most negative participants of the group, sterotypical perceptions are shattered upon arriving into this thriving community, home to many shops and businesses. Welcomed by community host Ed Collins, they spend time with locals to get a better sense of life here, and their experiences dealing with such negative perceptions from their non-Indigenous neighbours. It’s here that a key secret is revealed by one of the participants that shocks the others, forever altering the makeup of the group of six. Finally, the six make their last stop at the Woodhaven Cultural Centre, formerly the Mohawk Institute, one of the longest continuously running residential schools in Canadian history. Closed to the public, the six are given a rare glimpse inside the old building, followed by face-to-face meetings with some former students forced to attend. The raw and gut-wrenching truths about what went on here from these survivors deeply shockes all the participants, and forces them to lear them to learn the reality about Canada’s true history.
Episode Three: Bridging the Divide
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. The six arrive in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where they meet with the city’s race relations coordinator Becky Sasakamoose. An entirely new perspective is provided to the group, as they wrestle with the concepts of “reverse-racism” and “white privelege”, and it creates friction within the group. Meanwhile, in a community deeply affected by the death of Colten Boushie, they get a firsthand understanding about what life is like as a First Nations young person who is forced to live in fear daily. Then, the group travels north to the Battlefords, home of the trial for the death of Colten Boushie, and meets with members of the surrounding Indigenous communities at the offices of Eleanore Sunchild, legal council for the Boushie family. A tense meeting follows, as members of the communities meet with the six, sharing their perspective of life from their side of this cultural divide. An unexpected visit from Debbie Baptiste, Colten’s mother, provides an emotional message to the group, drawing the sides closer together in a deeply powerful exchange. Next, a trip to Red Pheasant First Nation helps give context about how the community is healing the loss of Colten Boushie through traditional spirituality. The tour of northern Saskatchewan continues with one final stop in Prince Albert, where they experience how traditional ways are having immense impact with inmates at the local healing lodge. Finally, the group arrives at their final stop of the journey, Carcross/Tagish First Nation in the Yukon, where self-governance is helping the community flourish. The six spend time with a local carver and a traditional medicine picker, both of whom are employed by the community doing traditional work. Seeing how these traditional roles can contribute to a healty and positive community is eye-opening for the travelers. As a final step, a traditional sharing circle ceremony is used to helped wrap up this amazing journey, where they share and process all they have learned during this once in a lifetime experience.