The Sharing Circle - Season 15


Crooked Music: 'John Arcand, The Master of the Metis Fiddle'
Director: Doug Howe
John has spent his lifetime promoting and preserving the traditions of Métis Fiddle and Dance and old time fiddling. In 1998 he stage the first John Arcand Fiddle Festival and now after 8 years this annual celebration has become one of the major fiddle events in Western Canada each summer.

Not Just Beads and Moccasins
Directors: Kristin Tresoor, Vanessa Loewen
Not Just Beads & Mocassins will explore contemporary Aboriginal Art. The dominant perception is that Aboriginal Art is all traditional: images of wolves and bears done up in the way of beads and mocassins. Contemporary artists often draw on those traditions, even though the intent and effect is different...making it some of the hottest stuff around!

Children of the Earth
Director: Lisa Meeches
The Sharing Circle will visit a Winnipeg school that harkens back to the lessons of our ancestors, makes valid the concept of Aboriginality in the education system, and scores highly in a poll of the top high schools in all of Canada.

In 1991, Winnipeg School Division Number One began what was then considered a bold undertaking. They established a school in the North End that emphasized Aboriginal culture and academics. It allowed First Nations youth the freedom to practice their culture in a place where it was once prohibited, in schools. Today, Children of The Earth School is a model for others to follow.

Restoring the Sacred
Director: Stu James
Each autumn, high school students from reserve communities leave their homes to go to school in a city hundreds of miles away.They must face and cope with a way of life that is foreign, confusing and oftentimes dangerous. For them, the hardest test they will face isn't in the classroom. It is found in simply finding the will to stay in school, in overcoming their homesickness, in adjusting to the way of life in the city, and in avoiding the dangerous social traps surrounding them. Historically, half or more of the first year students don't last through the school year, with the greatest portion giving up before Christmas. Sadly, many of them become involved with urban gangs and leave school for a life of criminal activity. Even worse, some simply cannot adjust and commit suicide.

In Winnipeg an Aboriginal non-government agency is launching a program, Restoring the Sacred, designed to offer the students some of the support they need in order to stay in school and to live safely in the city. The Sharing Circle will travel to one community in northern Manitoba and discover the hopes and fears of the parents there, and journey with some of the students to their new school in Winnipeg and to this significant challenge in their lives.

The Ultimate Sport
Director: Noah Erenberg
This highly charged and entertaining half-hour documentary for The Sharing Circle's Season 14 examines a relatively new sport that may become the next Lacrosse for Aboriginal athletes. Ultimate, sometimes called Frisbee Football, is played on a large field by two teams comprised of 12 players per team. Recently, Canadian organizers of several disc sport leagues have been introducing Ultimate to numerous First Nation communities and the response has been overwhelming. Ultimate leagues are now springing up in rural and urban Aboriginal communities everywhere. And 2005 will be the busiest year so far for Ultimate's Native players.

Two Spirit People
Director: Curtis Kaltenbaugh
Life can be extremely difficult for gay and lesbian people living in Aboriginal communities. In centuries past, the two-spirited (as they were known) were highly regarded in society for their insight into the world of men and women and, also, for possessing spiritual gifts. But with colonization and the influence of Christian attitudes, two-spirited people became ostracized and their spiritual gifts disregarded. Today, reserves are rampant with homophobia. According to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 70 percent of the Aboriginal teen suicides on reserves today are by two-spirited youth. The Sharing Circle will explore the issues faced by Aboriginal gays, lesbians, and bisexuals and show the extraordinary efforts being made by those trying to end this discrimination.

Aboriginal Music Revolution
Director: Jesse Green
The Aboriginal Music program in Manitoba is the only one of its kind in North America. Aboriginal Music Program Director, Errol Ranville's approach is to nurture our Aboriginal artists and develop their talents starting from the grassroots level. Young up and comers, along with struggling veterans, are making the connections they need in the music industry, through the support of the Aboriginal Music Program.

This episode of the Sharing Circle will focus on Errol Ranville's life and how he is giving back to a community that has supported him throughout his career as well as the impact of the Aboriginal Music Program and how it is changing the way people look at the industry. The initiatives of the Aboriginal Music Program are advancing the Aboriginal music industry at a lightning pace. An industry that is decades behind will soon be revealed, whether society is ready for it or not.

Comic Book Creators
Director: Jeff Newman
For thousands of years, the visual arts have been a way for Canada's Aboriginal people to express themselves, share information, and provide imagery for stories and legends. Today, this art has evolved and progressed in methodology and style, but the core meaning remains – a means of sharing stories from the Aboriginal point of view. For younger people, this ancient tradition is being kept alive through cutting edge design, stylish comic books, and a new form of contemporary art that is unique from anything seen before. We will follow some of today's Aboriginal artistic mavericks and share their stories, showing how traditional values are being blended with a modern approach to art.

SEASON: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16

Toxic Homes
Director: Ryan Slater
Raven Thundersky and her family grew up in the community of Poplar River. Since the late 1980's, Raven has lost her mother, three sisters, and a brother to Asbestosis and Mesothilioma. She has also been diagnosed with scarring of the lungs due to zonolite exposure. Living with the possibility of cancer, she has become an advocate on having the issue recognized by all levels of government. All along the way, she remains true to the spirit that drives her to fight.

Take Flight
Director: Stu James
For many northern First Nation communities, the plane is more that an optional means of transportation. It is a vital lifeline. Yet a very small percentage of North American pilots are Aboriginal. Today, with some reserves taking control by owing and operating their own airlines, this is starting to change. We will meet 3 Aboriginal pilots in various stages of expertise. Juupi Tuunik from Nunavik is just beginning primary training. Melissa Haney, a young part Inuit woman, is in early part of her professional career as a twin otter first officer with Air Inuit. We also meet the person who has achieved their ultimate goal, Wallace Watts, who is a United 747 captain.

Urban Reserves:
Success in the City

Director: Jeremy Williamson
Find out how First Nations are buying land, starting businesses and creating better lives for Aboriginal people in cities across Canada. Discover how urban reserves may affect your community and your life as we visit Canada's largest urban reserve, established more than ten years ago and now home to more than 45 businesses and organizations.

Endangered Words
Director: Paula Kelly
Language is what connects Aboriginal peoples to the spirit of the land, to their ancestral teachings and to the essence of their culture. Yet all across Canada, aboriginal languages are close to the brink of extinction. Of the original 53 languages spoken across this country, only three are considered secure, having more than 20,000 speakers. The rest are at risk of vanishing within a generation.

How has this come to pass? Why are these languages, and the oral traditions and teachings they preserve, nearly at a point where they may never be heard again? What can be done to preserve these endangered words so they will survive and thrive with the next generation of First Nations peoples?

Empty Nets
Director: Cam Bennett
Lake Manitoba has been a bountiful place for the Metis to fish but this year is one of the worst anyone can remember. Many veteran fishermen are pulling their nets and cutting their losses. Worse yet the young men are not bothering at all, choosing instead to go to Alberta for a pipeline paycheque. Are those still working the lake part of a dying breed? Or will steps be taken to safeguard the financial heart and cultural soul of an entire community?

Ski Bums
Director: Jeff Newman
It is easy to understand the spiritual connection Aboriginal people have shared with the land after experiencing western Canada's majestic mountain ranges. This relationship continues today, and for some, it has led to an involvement in Canada's competitive ski circuit. We follow three such people who are making their mark in the ski world in different ways. Sam Kent is a 16 year-old prodigy creating a stir as one Canada's top Aboriginal skiers. Mark Gallup travels the globe as a world-class ski photographer employed by the major elite ski magazines, and Wendy Lumby is a ski coach in Alberta who is breaking down barriers and stereotypes as she prepares athletes for high level competition. We interweave their stories and demonstrate how their passion for the sport of skiing has drawn them closer to the land in a way that nothing else could.

Solomon Carriere
Director: Doug Howe
Canoe race profiles Solomon Carriere, a hunter, a trapper and a world champion long distance paddler. Solomon and his family live a unique blend of the traditional life and the often unreal expectations of the twenty-first century.

Voice of the Lake Part 1 & 2
Director: Noah Erenberg
For 8000 years Aboriginal people have lived on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. It has been a constant source of fish and fresh drinking water. Some people refer to it as the blood of life, the earth mother's water. In recent years an alarming change has taken place in the lake. Large areas are covered in toxic algae. Though the cause is a subject of great debate, a likely culprit is field runoff of pesticides and animal waste from immense factory farming operations. The pollution rate is so high in Lake Winnipeg that some scientists estimate the lake could die in the next 10 years. Clearly this will have a profound impact on Aboriginal People.

Feet First Onto The Earth Part 1 & 2
Directors: John Gurdebeke, Kristin Tresoor
Three dancers of different backgrounds--Metis, Mohawk and Teme Augama Anishnaabi--and one former dancer show how a mix of indigenous, world and contemporary dance forms bring new meaning to old stories, told through the downbeat, or by moving feet first.

Haida Gwaii: Island of The People
Director: Cam Bennett
The most isolated landmass in Canada is a unique area off the northwest coast of BC, consisting of over 200 separate islands. Known geographically as the Queen Charlottes, this area is home to the people of the Haida Nation. The Haida are known among the many West Coast nations as gifted artists, carpenters and boat builders. Having suffered the loss of 95% of their population after European contact, they are also a testament to survival. Today a wave of new artists are rediscovering the supernatural beauty behind the ancient stories, using them for inspiration to create amazing works of art. Painters, weavers, and totem pole carvers carry the day as the Haida express themselves creatively and politically. Now their single biggest battle is to raisie awareness of the serious threat posed by extensive forestry on their island home. Artists like Jim Hart, Jaalen Edenshaw, Marcel Rust, Sherri Dick, and Mick Morrison share age-old inspiration and a duty to protect Haida Gwaii, Island of The People. By reclaiming their traditional ways, the spirit and strength of the Haida is plainly evident in their stories, songs, and powerful works of art...

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