Unreserved

Indigenous documentarians tell their own stories of connecting to culture

Documentaries can be a powerful tool for storytelling, but for years Indigenous people were the subject matter and not the people telling their own stories. This week, two documentaries about culture, connection, and finding your way back. 
Colleen Underwood (centre) with her grandfather Ernie Callihoo (left), and her mother, Caroline (right). She shares the story of how her grandfather helped the Michel First Nation enfranchise. (Colleen Underwood/CBC)

Documentaries can be a powerful tool for storytelling, but for years Indigenous people were the subject matter and not the people telling their own stories. 

This week on Unreserved, two documentaries about culture, connection, and finding your way back. 

Decades ago, members of the Michel First Nation, northwest of Edmonton, took an unusual step to enfranchise, losing their rights under the Indian Act. Now, the community is fighting to reestablish the First Nation. CBC's Colleen Underwood brings us that story, and her own personal connection to it. 

Kevin Lewis paddles on Ministikwan Lake, a place he’s known all his life. He runs kâniyâsihk Culture Camps, a Cree culture camp where people can come and learn traditional Cree ways. (Kyle Muzyka)

A few years ago, CBC Radio launched the Emerging Indigenous Doc Makers Program as a way to elevate voices of Indigenous documentary makers. Michael Dick is an executive producer at CBC and a member of Fort William First Nation, this year he's the mentor to the successful candidates of the program. 

Unreserved's Kyle Muzyka took part in the Emerging Indigenous Doc Makers Program, producing a documentary about kaniyasik culture camp, where Kevin Lewis was teaching campers how to connect to their Cree culture while building a birch bark canoe. 

now