"During the research phase of this project, I met an elder who said that by the end, I would be deeply affected by what I would learn. She was absolutely right."
—Ryszard Hunka, CBC Television Producer
The 4-part 8TH Fire series premieres on CBC-TV Thursday January 12 at 9
pm and the 4-part Trailbreakers series premieres on CBC Radio One on
January 12 at 1 pm.
8TH FIRE is a provocative, high-energy journey through Aboriginal country showing you why we need to fix Canada's 500 year-old relationship with Indigenous peoples; a relationship mired in colonialism, conflict and denial.
With its energetic pace and stunning HD landscapes, 8TH FIRE propels you past prejudice, stereotypes and misunderstandings, to encounters with an impressive new generation of Aboriginal Canadians who are reclaiming both their culture and their confidence.
SCENE recently caught up with Ryszard Hunka, the non-native producer of "Indigenous in the City," which is part one of the four-part 8TH FIRE series, to ask what he learned while working on the documentary.
Why did you want to work on this documentary?
I grew up in Winnipeg, which has one of Canada's larger urban aboriginal populations. Yet, I wasn't taught anything about aboriginal history or culture throughout all of my school years. Currently there is very little exposure to the richness and diversity of aboriginal people and cultures in mainstream media. If you want to learn about the experience of aboriginal people in Canada, you have to go looking for it. When you make a documentary, you immerse yourself in your subject matter, so this was a perfect opportunity to learn about my neighbours, dispel the stereotypes, and share that richness with the public.
What did you learn about the Aboriginal community that you didn't know before?
During the research phase of this project, I met an elder who said that by the end, I would be deeply affected by what I would learn. She was absolutely right. This project opened my eyes to how tough it is to be aboriginal in Canada. I was shocked by the depth and enduring impact of the trauma of colonialism, and inspired by the resilience, pride, and humour of the people in facing the challenges of persistent racism.