Exploring the past, present and future of life in indigenous Canada

This week we're meeting history makers, digging into a dark secret in Canada's history and remembering a film icon.
In her memoir Life Among the Qallunaat, Mini Aodla Freeman, shares her extraordinary story of an Inuit woman moving between two worlds. (Niels Jenson)

This week we're exploring the past, present and future of indigenous life across Turtle Island — also known as North America.

For the past decade or so, Canadians have become more aware of residential schools and their impact on First Nations people. But many have not heard about another system of segregation — one that kept First Nations prisoners in their own communities.

The Pass System was in effect for 60 years on reserves across the west. Any First Nations person who wanted to leave the community, for any reason, had to have a pass from the Indian agent, a man who held all the power on reserve. 

The Pass System is the title and subject of a new documentary by filmmaker Alex Williams

Rhodes Scholarship recipient BIlly-Ray Belcourt.
For the first time ever, a First Nations person has been awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Meet Billy-Ray Belcourt and find out why he credits his grandparents for his education.

From the far north of James Bay to the big southern city of Ottawa, Inuk author Mini Aodla Freeman shares her incredible journey from her remote home to the strange land and stranger customs of the Qallunaat.

Air Farce member Craig Lauzon as Stephen Harper. ((CBC))
Craig Lauzon is an Ojibway actor and comedian living in Toronto. He has been a regular on the popular comedy show Air Farce since 2004. Craig may be best-known for his impressions of political leaders like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Toronto mayor Rob Ford and a hilarious but disturbingly accurate version of Stephen Harper in a send-up of "Gangnam Style". 

The tiny First Nations community of Ahousaht on Vancouver Island made headlines when community members came t the rescue of a capsized whale watching boat. Now, Alberta couple Dwayne Mazereeuw and Elisa Kasha are saying thanks in a very unique way.

Acclaimed filmmaker Gil Cardinal. (National Film Board)
And we remember Gil Cardinal.

The award winning filmmaker was known for his work on North of 60 and The Rez. Cardinal passed away recently after a long illness. He will be remembered for exploring raw subject matter such as substance abuse, the foster care system, and his own struggles with cultural identity.

Joey Stylez (CBC)
This week's playlist:

Joey Stylez - Pride of Lions (DJ Shub remix)
William Prince - You Got Me
Federal Lights - Into the Ground