British Columbia

'Just a kid from the rez': Kiefer Collison proud to represent Haida Nation on Big Brother Canada

After spending 64 days in a home under constant video surveillance, with no communication to the outside world, Kiefer Collison says he feels "truly blessed" to have been able to represent the Haida Nation on the popular reality TV series Big Brother Canada.

Radio personality from Old Masset was voted Canada's favourite HouseGuest of reality show's 9th season

Kiefer Collison said being on camera 24/7 for 64 days was stressful, but helped him learn to be more confident in himself. (Photo courtesy of Corus Entertainment)

After spending 64 days in a home under constant video surveillance, with no communication to the outside world, Kiefer Collison says he feels "truly blessed" to have been able to represent the Haida Nation on the popular reality TV series Big Brother Canada.

"[It] was quite the pressure-cooker, and more or less stressful day in and day out," said Collison, a radio personality from Old Masset on Haida Gwaii.

"I was there for a reason. I just wanted to represent and compete hard and show [Canada] what the people of northern B.C. are made of."

The show's ninth season, which ended May 6, revolved around 14 contestants living together in a house, all vying to be the last "HouseGuest" remaining. Each week the contestants competed in challenges to gain advantages, before someone was voted out of the house.

Three episodes aired per week, but audiences could watch contestants live online at any time.

Collison, who was ultimately named Canada's favourite HouseGuest of the season, was the fourth-to-last voted out in an emotional "eviction" on May 5. 

'Overwhelming' support

He says the support he's had from people at home and viewers across Canada has been "absolutely overwhelming," and that to have been able to "bring [viewers] together in such a tough time, and … take their minds off what's going on in the world," has been a special opportunity.

During his time in the house, Collison took opportunities to share cultural stories and history with other contestants on the show.

Kiefer Collison says after being away from home for so long he's going to take some time for himself before getting back to work as a radio host. (Photo courtesy of CFNR Network.)

"I'm just a kid from the rez, essentially," he said. "I didn't realize how much weight that would hold, but that's the way I view myself, and I think it's a very positive thing."

In late April, Collison's partner Jericho Bevan told CBC Daybreak North's Carolina DeRyk that the pair have been Big Brother fans for a long time, and that she and their 22-month-old son were cheering on Collison every day from home. 

Watching him compete live for so long without any contact was tough at first, Bevan said, especially during an episode where contestants conspired against him.

"I had a hard time sleeping that night. I felt so bad," she said.

But Bevan said she's proud of how he's represented his home to a national audience, and that people back home were "over the moon" at his accomplishments.

"Right from the start, he made sure to bring clothing that has First Nations art on it … I knew he would represent Indigenous people well, but he's doing it above and beyond," she said, adding that she was relieved the other contestants were willing to listen and learn. 

Collison said being watched by over 200 cameras 24 hours a day has taught him to be more confident in himself. It's an idea, he said, that's reflected in his motto "Kief it Real," which has been printed on T-shirts and circulated locally.

Collison said he's now going to take some time for himself and his family before returning to work at CFNR Radio.

With files from Daybreak North

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