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8th Fire: It's Time

Indigenous in the City - It's Time - Whose Land is it Anyway? - At the Crossroads - Host - Credits

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Sunday January 20 at 11 am on CBC-TV

It's Time! challenges Canadians with this reality: if we don't improve our relationship with Aboriginal people, we will cripple our economy. Both the footage and the argument come in high definition and make the case that Canada is changing beneath our feet.

We previewed this film with the students and teachers at Port Perry High School. This is what they thought.

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In a dynamic 2-minute walk through 500 years of history, 8TH FIRE host, Wab Kinew explains how ancient Wampum belts hold a clue to the future. The Supreme Court of Canada now confirms the promises they hold as the truth. The First Nations of this country were not conquered. They signed treaties to share the land, and this means Aboriginal people must be consulted and accommodated when anyone wants to dig, explore or develop on their land. As the world clamours for the treasure trove of resource wealth on the marginalized land we forced them to inhabit, deals must be made with Canada's First Peoples. It's a gamechanger.

The film travels the country and discovers people trying to face up to the past, in order to build a better future. In Edmonton, comedian Howie Miller applies a thick coat of black humour to his own story. His son Tyson Houseman stars in the hit series Twilight and strives to be a role model for Aboriginal youth.

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In Regina, Vanessa Peigan destroys our stereotype of the Aboriginal school drop-out. This mother of six makes it into the world of Canadian banking. In a classroom in Port Perry, Ontario, Nancy Hamer-Strahl's French-immersion students are painting tiles to commemorate children who died in Residential Schools. "This is the generation that is going to have to make this relationship work, and to do that they have to face up to the past," says Hamer-Strahl. It is the key message of 8TH FIRE: this messy relationship has been going on for 500 years - and it's time to fix it!

All of these themes can be found entangled in a Saskatchewan classroom of doubting Canadians. John Lagimodiere, a Métis from Saskatoon explains the basics of this troubled relationship. He touches on the arcane Indian Act, and takes on cherished myths like "they get everything for free"--and the racial stereotyping that have long befuddled sensible discourse. Moral imperatives and a strong demographic reality show why we need to work on this relationship--Aboriginals are a young population growing six times faster than any other group in Canada. As former Prime Minister Paul Martin explains, the boardrooms of the nation are waking up to this new reality. If nothing else, cold hard economics will drive us to a new and better relationship.

DIRECTOR: Neil Docherty
PRODUCERS: Connie Walker, Jennifer Clibbon, Nathalie Bibeau