The Sharing Circle - Season 15


Walk for Life
Drug abuse is an ongoing problem that plagues Aboriginal communities. Unfortunately, attempts to overcome these addictions often fail. The latest and deadliest drug being abused by many is a prescription painkiller called Oxycontin. This is the story of one community impacted by this scourge, and the unique plan they've come up with in order to face this problem. Using traditional teachings, the residents of the Northern Ontario Ojibway Community of Pic Mobert First Nation are taking a spiritual path to healing. They are doing this by renewing their practice of sacred ceremony and traditional culture. And to begin this new "treatment" for their addiction, Pic Mobert residents are embarking on a Walk For Life, a trek by foot of over a thousand kilometers to a Sundance Ceremony in Manitoba. This documentary follows this incredible journey to healing and explores how it is leading the way for many other people who are suffering from addiction.

The Dance
Sheppard. Webb. Benoit. My mother's relatives. My grandparents, and great grandparents. Family names I've known all my life. What I didn't know was the heritage the Sheppards, Webbs and Benoits had been forced to deny.

Life wasn't easy in the farming and fishing communities of western Newfoundland. It was even harder if you were Mi'kmaq. "Indians" were ostracized, looked down on, barred from businesses and community events. It was not safe for a family to declare themselves Indian.

The Sheppards, Webbs and Benoits learned to hide who they were. They raised their children like 'white kids', teaching them none of the traditional ways. My mother remembers being closed in the house with the other children, warned not to peek out the windows. They looked anyway. They saw the fire, but they didn't understand its significance.

This episode of the Sharing Circle follows director and cameraman Dave Gaudet as he returns to Newfoundland to discover his Miq Mac heritage during a Pow Wow put on by the Mi'kmaq Cultural Revival Committee.

The Condor & the Eagle
Incan prophecy foretells of a day when the condor of the South and the eagle of the North will fly together and spiritwill descend on the land once again. As the world suffers under the weight of globalization, there are indigenous healers and elders working to heal the world and its people. Fulfilling prophecy is their mission. Juan Flores, an Ashanincan healer from the Peruvian Amazon and Dave Courchene, an Anishenabe elder from Sagkeeng, Manitoba, are two people on such a mission.

The Condor & the Eagle follow Juan from his traditional healing centre in the middle of the jungle to Winnipeg, Canada where he is on a mission to share his knowledge and wisdom with everyone from medical students to local aboriginal elders.

Miss Indian World
Imagine carrying the hopes, dreams, and well wishes of family and friends into competition - all the while being on your best behaviour- as a young person vying for the title of Miss Indian World 2006.

So it was in Albuquerque, New Mexico as forty young women came together to represent their communities in what can best be described as a non-competitive pageant. Judges weren't looking for physical perfection, but rather for poise and pride as each of the young women represented distinct First Nations from Canada and the U.S.

We go behind the scenes at the most celebrated and sought after crowning of it's kind. Miss Indian World will profile three Canadian contestants, while also exploring the nature of community spirit and First Nations pride.

Written In Stone
This documentary presents the story of an Aboriginal archaeologist, Kevin Brownlee, from the Manitoba Museum,whose current focus is determining where and how the early inhabitants of Northern Manitoba lived. To aid him in his explorations, he has enlisted the support of the region's descendants both as expedition workers and as guides to their past, as expressed by their oral history tradition. The key result of the expedition was the discovery of ancient quartz mines in the region. The documentary shows the particular archaeological method in practice and offers thoughts on what the implications are for the region's people.

Warrior Societies
There is a stereotypical image of the Warrior within First Nations culture: a militant carrying a gun, a camouflaged fighter atop a blockade, a protester blocking a road. Unfortunately, these popular portrayals fail to look at the traditional and spiritual roles of Warriors and who they really are. Behind these militant images, there is another story, traditional and spiritual in nature, and for the people. Within Warrior Societies, all people have roles; men, women, elders and children are equal. And, without the involvement of all these people, Warrior societies would cease to exist.

This documentary will take an in-depth look at this issue by first examining the Wounded Knee standoff on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota between the American Indian Movement and the United States Army, the FBI and the State Militia. By examining what the Aboriginal communities at that time were standing for, we will uncover what they were trying to accomplish.

Twenty years later in Canada, on the Oka First Nation, a stand off took place between the Mohawk Warrior Society and the Canadian Army along with the Quebec Police. This documentary will also look back at what triggered the standoff and what has been resolved since.

Through their experiences, this documentary will examine the risks these Warriors take and the spiritual essence of what they were trying to accomplish.

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

When Mom's in Jail
Every year in Canada at least 25,000 children have a mother in prison. With women being the fastest growing prison population in the world, this number is expected to rise.

For provincially sentenced women, maintaining a strong mother/child bond can be quite difficult; the institutions don't always have adequate space or programming for visitation. Often times a mother is incarcerated a great distance from her family and transportation is an issue, or the child's caregiver simply doesn't bring the child to visit.

The Meyoyawin Circle Child Visit Program at the Pine Grove women's institution in Saskatchewan has made mother/child visitation a priority. Founded after a needs assessment done by the Elizabeth Fry society,Meyayawin's goal is "to provide a healthy environment in which to foster, develop and strengthen the relationship between incarcerated women and their children through culturally relevant approaches".

This documentary will follow these women through the program as they work towards earning the one thing that matters to them most, their children. We will also look at other institutions, such as Portage la Prairie, where women don't have access to their children and how that effects them, and how the Meyoyawin model can be an example across Canada.

White Buffalo Prophecy
In 2005, an all-white buffalo calf is born in the northern United States and is quickly acquired by an astute zoo director in Winnipeg, Canada, who is aware of this sacred animal's significance. With the help of a local Elder, a permanent home is set up for the aptly named Blizzard at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Zoo. As originally prophesized, Blizzard's arrival coincides with a dangerous moment in human history. Within a short few weeks of the White Buffalo Calf coming to Winnipeg, many people are uniting spiritually in peace and harmony, attempting to bring this Message of the urgent need for Peace, of creating an energy shift throughout the world. Hanging in the balance is the chaos, disaster and endless tears from our relatives' eyes that we will all surely face unless this lofty prophecy is respected and acted upon.

Three Square Meals
From the funky, haute cuisine to life-saving meals on the mean streets of Winnipeg, first nations chef are making their mark. 'Three Square Meals' is a profile of Aboriginal chefs in three distinct environments.

Profiles include Warren and Phoebe Sutherland, chefs and owners of Sweet Grass Bistro in Ottawa Ontario, where they prepare traditional First Nations' food with haute cuisine flair.

The second profile features local first nations students from Churchill, Manitoba earning their cooking stripes, running a restaurant during the busy tourist season under the guidance of European-trained Chef Robert Duehmig.

Lastly, a formally trained chef who has chosen a different path, Leah Morgan, who has opted to help run the Main Street Project, creating minor meal miracles to help feed the poor and destitute downtown Winnipeg.

Learning to Lead
"Pull up your shirtsleeves and lead by example."

That's what Ryan Bruyere's grandmother taught him. Ryan is a member of an active core of students who have all spent several years in the intensive Aboriginal Governance program at the University of Winnipeg, which teaches them, among other things, about aboriginal politics, conflict resolution and self-government.

This Sharing Circle episode follows these students as they look for opportunities to get their voices heard within First Nations leadership circles, and their stumbles and successes along the way. What these students already know is that the next generation of young people will one day be confronted with the immense challenges that lie ahead. They will need to have the vision, the passion and the leadership skills to be a part of creating a better future for all First Nations communities. We want to be there to witness their efforts to meet those challenges and take their place in the real world of aboriginal affairs.

Saving a Life
Tobacco. Smoking. The prayers of Aboriginal people lifted high on the winds to be caught by the Eagle and carried onward to our Creator. This episode is a documentary POV of the challenge, learning and growth that Ryan Black will experience in his latest and hopefully final attempt to stop smoking cigarettes. Featuring a brief history of the Tobacco plant, health statistics, viewpoints from elders, doctors, smokers and ex-smokers the program will delve deeply into the psychology of smoking processed tobacco as a habit and ultimately, a dangerously subversive addiction.

For the first time, the Inuit and Dene games are being included as part of the 2007 Canada Winter Games held in Whitehorse. We follow two groups of athletes competing in both the Inuit and Dene Games, showing their cultural significance while revealing the skill and agility required to compete in these amazing events. A dramatic finale ensues when two sisters - Robyn and Shawna McLeod, end up competing against each other for for the gold medal at the Women's Stick Pull competition.

More than ten years ago, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples released its mammoth five-volume report on the health, education and political status of Canada's First Nations. The report recommended sweeping change but little progress has been made in many areas. This Sharing Circle documentary reveals how and why Canada gets a failing grade when it comes to keeping the promises of improving the quality of life for most Aboriginal Canadians. The show provides a look at what progress, if any, has been made on improving the living conditions for First Nation citizens in Canada since the release of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples over ten years ago, with an emphasis on health, education, community conditions, political status, treaty rights and other matters. The documentary also focuses on what could be done to improve these conditions and looks at the development of a new relationship between Canada and First Nations - one that is primarily based on economic development and not social spending.

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