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CBC Docs presents the NFB production: This River.

A sister who went missing. A brother who disappeared. The devastating experience of searching for a loved one who didn't come home. 

RUNTIME: 19:23

CBC Docs presents the NFB production This River.

When the body of a 14-year-old girl was pulled from Winnipeg’s Red River in 2014, it sparked a public outcry and renewed calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. It also galvanized a small group of Winnipeg citizens, who took action and formed Drag the Red. This grassroots collective of volunteers searches the Red River and its banks for clues that might answer some of the questions surrounding the disappearances and murders.

It’s believed that as many as 4,000 Indigenous women, men and children in Canada have gone missing or been murdered since 1980. Indigenous families from all over the country understand this too well: everyone knows someone who didn’t come home.

In This River, Kyle Kematch and Katherena Vermette demonstrate this reality with profundity and humanity. Kyle, a full-time volunteer with Drag the Red, has a sister who went missing over five years ago. From May to October, he spends time on the water nearly every day, searching for clues that might provide hope for all the other families who have experienced similar tragedies. Katherena is a poet and writer whose work all stems from a family tragedy that happened more than 20 years ago. Though the circumstances of their losses are different, they each exemplify the beauty, grace, resilience and activism born out of the need to do something.

Credits (Click to expand)


Directed by
Erika MacPherson & Katherena Vermette

Written by
Katherena Vermette & Erika MacPherson

Alicia Smith

Executive Producer
David Christensen

Narration by
Katherena Vermette

Kyle Kematch
Calvin Alexander
Katherena Vermette

Director of Photography
Iris Ng

Location Sound Mixer
Sound Designer
Sound Editor
Anita Lubosch

Digital Intermediate Technician
Workflow Consultant
Marcel Kreutzer

Boat Drivers
Kyle Kematch / Drag the Red
Jan Bass / Whiskers and Walleye with Bass

Sound Mix Engineer
Bruce Little

Online Colourist
Tony Wytinck

Production Coordinators
Faye Yoneda
Jasmine Pullukatt

Production Supervisor
Mark Power

Production Assistant
Kristin Poyntz

Program Administrators
Bree Beach
Ginette D’Silva

Centre Operations Manager
Darin Clausen

Director General of English Programming
Michelle Van Beusekom

Marketing Manager
Leslie Stafford

Marketing Coordinator
Michelle Rozon

Stills Photographer
Chris Friesen

Film Poster Design
Sébastien Aubin

Sharon Murphy
Patricia Garry

Strategic Advisor
Etoile Stewart

Bernadette Smith
Sabrina Leister
Kyle Kematch
Calvin Alexander
Sheenah Fontaine

DTR Ground Search Voluneteers:
Tasha-Lynne Benjamin
Shauna Taylor
Paula Ducharme
Jennifer Coutu
Kimberly Kostiuk
Jessica Chisholm
Dion Rockwood
Ariunna Chislom

Ceremonial Blessing:
Ko’ona Cochrane

Red Robe Drummers:
Alison Cox
Alisheya Walker
Elizabeth Armstrong
Alison Dong
Carol Mann
Hilda Mann
Arlene Mitchell

Kelly Dodds / MidCanada Production Services
Chester Kazimirowich / Redboine Boat Club
Jan Bass / Whiskers and Walleye with Bass
Tom Corrigan
Rasheed Mohammed
Reuben Boulette
Pierre Vermette
Bob Smith
Leslie Smith
Leah Decter
Neechi Commons

St. Andrews Lock and Dam:
Elmer Mallett
Charles Leach
Earl Calder
Brent Murray

Poetry excerpt, indians, from north end love songs
by Katherena Vermette