The Sharing Circle - Season 16


Spirituality Seekers
For centuries, Celtic tribes lived among the Alps in the region now known as Germany and Austria. These people lived off the land, and maintained a strong spiritual connection to the earth, in many ways similar to Canada's First Nation's people. But a thousand years ago, everything changed when they conquered by the Holy Roman Empire, who forced them to change their ways and to conform to a 'civilized' way of life. Many perished, along with their culture and spiritual practices.

Today, with the teachings of their own ancestors long gone, a movement of German speaking people is attempting to regain that spiritual connection. Kurt Fenkart and his wife Christine are Shaman teachers on a mission to re-connect with their long lost spiritual roots. They're doing it by learning the sacred practices of other indigenous cultures, including those of Canada's First Nation's People. In this episode, they will travel to Canada for the first time, to embark on a journey to learn about aboriginal culture first hand.

Their goal is to share their knowledge with others interested in the culture when they return home, but not everyone is happy about it. Many elders feel that these kind of ceremonies can only be done on North American soil, and do not approve of transporting it to other parts of the world. Kurt and Christine are out to prove that if done with the right intentions, not only is it possible, but necessary to help keep these traditions alive for future generations.

Rising Son
Rising Son is the story of a young Ojibway man, Clarence Fisher who finds strength in his people's traditional ceremonies as a means to overcome his drug addiction and to make it in the film and TV industry.

In Season 15 of The Sharing Circle, viewers were introduced to Clarence Fisher, a young Ojibway man from Pic Mobert First Nation in Ontario. He is a recovering addict to the painkiller Oxycontin, a drug that is destroying the lives of many of the youth on his reserve. Pic Mobert's courageous Chief, Jeff Desmoulin, organized the Walk for Life as a means to tackle the problem of addiction head on by finding inspiration from his people's traditional ceremonies.

Clarence, along with many other youth, walked 1300 km to a sacred Sundance ceremony in Manitoba. Many of the youth joined the Sundance ceremony, and Clarence was the only one to complete the full four days. Inspired by his involvement in The Sharing Circle episode, and strengthened by his participation in his people's traditional ceremonies, Clarence dreams of a future in the film and TV industry. A year later he is accepted in the National Screen Institute's program for young aboriginal filmmakers and is soon interning at The Sharing Circle. Rising Son is an emotional and inspiring story that follows Clarence through his struggle to stare down his personal demons and turn his life around as he treads into unfamiliar territory.

The Asham Stompers
'THE ASHAM STOMPERS' - a half hour documentary that features the music and dance of the Metis people as showcased at the Asham Stompers' Festival.

In 2002, Arnold Asham formed the Asham Stompers, a Metis dance troupe dedicated to showcasing the Red River Jig and the music that drives it. The Stompers quickly established themselves as a showpiece for the Metis culture. When Arnold saw how well they were being received, he decided it was time to stage their very own festival. That was 4 years ago. Today the Asham Stompers Festival of Metis Music and Dance is an annual event held over the September long weekend in Reedy Creek Manitoba. It features a host of local, national and even international entertainers.

In this episode of the Sharing Circle, our cameras travel to Reedy Creek and take a front row seat for this engaging celebration of the Metis culture. We spend time behind the scenes with Arnold Asham and share in his quest to bring a first class production to the stage. We meet the people of Reedy Creek and learn about the impact the festival is having on their community. We take a close up look at the Stompers youngest dancer, Michael 'Slick' Harris and learn what drives this 7 year old phenom to dance.

'THE ASHAM STOMPERS' a half hour documentary from award winning writer/director Doug Howe - coming this season on The Sharing Circle.

SEASON: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Re-Learning Our Ways
In aboriginal schools and communities, there's a growing movement to re-connect young people to their traditional ways, inspiring pride in their heritage and self-confidence to meet the future.

There's a growing movement in aboriginal communities which seeks to re-connect young people with the traditional ways of their people as a central part of their education. This documentary visits three communities in Manitoba, where the youth are discovering their cultural identity, through the teachings of mentors and elders.

This new approach to education is giving schools and communities the chance to take young people back to their cultural roots. They're learning about land-based practices like hunting, trapping and surviving in the woods, as well as the traditions and stories of their people.

In the process, they're developing greater self-confidence and pride in who they are, so they can find success and fulfillment in whatever future awaits them. They're also learning respect for one another and for Mother Earth.

It's urgent that our young people receive these teachings now, because fewer elders are left who have traditional knowledge of the land and stories of their people. Still, though time may be running out, there are some who believe it's not too late for the next generation to re-learn our ways.

The Gold Rush
This documentary considers the issues associated with mining on First Nations land. By comparing the experiences of two Quebec First Nations - one already involved in mining, the other considering it - the program reveals the advantages and disadvantages of this sort of endeavour.

This documentary considers the issues attached to mining on First Nations land. It reviews both the opportunities and the drawbacks to this activity as it compares the experiences of two Quebec First Nations, one already involved in mining, the other considering it. It first takes us to the Cree Nation of Mistissini, which has had an open pit gold mine on its territory since the mid 90's. Quebec law requires any resource development on First Nations land to be a collaborative process, and this part of the program explores the background and execution of the agreement between Mistissini and the mining company. Next, the program takes us to the Cree Nation of Wemindji, which, like Mistissini, is blessed with abundant natural resources. It shows a nation poised on the brink of a decision: whether or not to enter into a collaboration agreement with a mining company. The perspectives of both advocates and critics of mining, and the people of Mistissini are expressed.

The stories of both nations reveal the impacts - both social and environmental - of mining, and illustrate the benefits and the drawbacks inherent in such an endeavour, and shows the difficult decisions First Nations must make in order to balance their need for economic development, with traditional values and protection of their environment.

The Living Earth
The indigenous view of the Earth as a living, breathing entity may help save Lake Winnipeg, The Boreal Forest and ultimately the entire planet.

This is a current and critical subject of national and international importance. Lake Winnipeg, the Boreal Forest, global environment and the future of humanity are all ongoing matters of public interest and concern. Future media attention on these issues is almost certain.

As the world teeters on the brink of environmental collapse, this story examines people who respect the indigenous worldview that the Earth is our mother, the rivers lifeblood flowing in her veins, and the plants and animals our brothers and sisters. By looking at the world this way, these people help preserve the environment around them and across the planet, and therefore hold the key to humanity's survival.

Two-thirds of this story looks at Poplar River band member Sophia Rabliauskas and the effort her community is leading to protect a large part of the Boreal Forest in and around their traditional territory. Ms. Rabliauskas is a 2007 Goldman Environmental Award recipient. She has helped her Band prevent any damaging development to their land and is now spearheading an attempt to get the combined traditional territories of Poplar River and three other bands designated as a United Nations World Heritage Site.

While there has been and likely will continue to be considerable media attention surrounding this attempt to secure World Heritage status, Sophia Rabliauskas and the Poplar River First Nation chose the Sharing Circle as the show they trusted to tell their story.

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