Dene Elder says episode of First Contact was hurtful, but says there is a ‘glimmer of hope’ - APTN NewsAPTN News

Dene Elder says episode of First Contact was hurtful, but says there is a ‘glimmer of hope’


Tamara Pimentel
The premier of the APTN series First Contact is generating a lot of discussion.

It takes six non-Indigenous Canadians on a 28 day journey to communities, and cities to challenge their preconceptions of who First Nation, Metis and Inuit people are.

Episode one shows the harsh reality of what some Canadians think of Indigenous peoples.

Some say they shouldn’t be given this forum.

Tamara watched the show with a Dene Elder who says the first episode is triggering, but at the same time, gives him hope.


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33 Responses to “Dene Elder says episode of First Contact was hurtful, but says there is a ‘glimmer of hope’”

    barbara September 17, 2018 at 7:06 pm #

    I grew up in southern Alberta and we did not learn anything about our local First Nations people in public school so I am really glad to see this program on APTN! Thank you very, very much; all Canadians need to see this and to learn or begin learning our true Canadian history.

    Start reading: the Proclamation of 1763, the Indian Act of 1876, the Truth & Reconciliation Report along with Canadian History for Dummies are all a good start. Then read Thomas King “The Inconvenient Indian”, Richard Wagmese “One Native Life”, Bob Joseph “21 Things You May Not Know about the Indian Act”, John Milloy “A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System”, Charlie Angus “Children of the Broken Treaty”, James Daschuk “Clearing the Plains”, Lynda Gary “First Nations 101”.
    Visit a Pow Wow – Pow Wow Trail Canada
    Volunteer at a Native Friendship Centre

    Take a drive around your home/provine: visit Indigenous Museums, plan a holiday to an Indigenous Tourism Site ie: Spirit Bear Lodge, Klemtu BC
    Reach out and meet your fellow Canadians – please!

    Heather September 17, 2018 at 3:53 pm #

    I loved the series! So glad it was done. I am hoping for an opportunity to share it with my 20-something son who lives in another city and doesn’t have any kind of cable package. He has a good heart and open mind, but has in the past absorbed some of the ignorance and lack of understanding of the issues from the general culture. I’m in Northern Ontario, so don’t feel as clueless and removed from Indigenous people and issues and the amazing culture as the participants, but I still learned so much from the series, and I’m really grateful!

    I found it so fascinating that the eventual divide in understanding, in this group at least, was generational, and I would have loved to have that explored further. Both men had limited ability to meaningfully empathize and to get beyond the hopelessly simplistic idea of “choice”. I would like to think, to hope, that most Canadians would not get stuck there given the opportunity to learn and to engage.

    I feel excited for the future, and hope I can somehow be a part of creating a better Canada.

    Norma September 16, 2018 at 5:04 pm #

    It would be interesting to find out how many non-natives watched this series. Is there any way to have it aired somewhere besides APTN? I don’t know any non-natives who watch this channel.

      Ashleigh September 17, 2018 at 2:18 pm #

      I watch APTN and I am non aboriginal

      Barbara September 17, 2018 at 6:32 pm #

      Hi Norma – I’m non native and I love APTN! I don’t have a tv and have been able to watch the series on-line. I’m sending the link to all my Indigenous and non native friends and hope all Canadians will watch especially our politicians!

    Adrianna September 16, 2018 at 1:24 am #

    “You white people” really….there are a huge generation of /white people/ who do not condemn him or any other indigenous person; yet there’s that resentment that indigenous people have towards non-indigenous people as well. 2 sides of a knife.

    While the past sufferings that they experienced is regrettable, you cannot seek restitution from generations who had nothing to do with it and weren’t even born at that time.

    What we should be doing is learning from the experience as not to repeat it in the future.

      Carolyn Hesseltine September 18, 2018 at 7:54 pm #

      For most first nations people the money is not the important thing it is acknowledgement that they are like us, different but the same. The acknowledgement that they count and that their culture counts. Payment of money is a white man’s/capitalist way of dealing with wrongs…throw money on it and it will go away. Give them your time, listen, learn, respect, empathy.

    Tammy September 16, 2018 at 12:33 am #

    As a first nation person and a teacher I was so happy to finally see a show like this. I am surely going to share this with my students. I feel it’s a beginning to the journey of reconciliation. I was glued to my television with many emotions. I cheered, laughed cried,and cringed but it was awesome. I watched all 3 shows with my daughter and we both would like to see this become a series. It’s so educational for all Canadians to see. Many things still need to be seen and shared! Thank you aptn and to the 2 women producers. I look forward to the next season.

    Tammy September 14, 2018 at 11:51 pm #

    This document series affected me profoundly. As Metis woman I have worked through a lot of grief and trauma, due to the the effects of trauma endured by family before me. Hats off for this series and the participant; it aided in further understanding and healing for me!
    This is a must see series to be shared and seen by many!

    Jean Koning September 14, 2018 at 5:49 pm #

    As a white, settler woman of 95 years who met “Indians” for the first time 50 years ago, with many of the same attitudes shown by your six “seekers”, and was lucky enough to be offered teachings, with love and much patience by First Peoples across Canada, I applaud heartily the efforts of all who took part in this series. It comes at a good time, and will bear fruit into the future, but slowly. Undoing the ignorance of our long and devastating relationship will take time, but it will happen eventually, thanks to the kindness, respect, dignity, and sense of justice inherent within the First Peoples within whose land we make our homes. Gchi miigwech – nishin.

      Reggie Rabbit September 16, 2018 at 4:46 am #

      Thank you. (Young Indigenous man)

    Linda September 14, 2018 at 4:24 pm #

    I watched this series and was profoundly moved to tears. I am white and married to an Indigenous Person. I thought I had knew a lot but I have learned so much more from the show. I work at a school and have told many of our staff members about it, including our First Natuons teacher and said it should be brought in to our schools. People need to start a conversation about this series. It’s so important!!!!! Everyone should be treated with dignity, compassion and empathy, we are all human beings!! The injustices that have been done and continues to be done to Indigenous People is horrible.
    When the group of 6 went to the powwow, the one girl said that some Native girls in a trailer were saying some bad things to them. First thing my husband said was ‘wonder how she felt about having bad things said to her?’ Indigenous People have racial slurs done to them all the time!’

    Marilyn September 14, 2018 at 7:40 am #

    It might be too late to change the narrow minded views of those two old white guys…even when presented with historical fact and experiential stories…but let’s challenge their views by sharing this series widely within our own social networks; with our families and educator friends in order to support further dialog and empathy, and to ensure that every Canadian child grows up knowing and understanding our First People’s stories, songs, and struggles. Acknowledging we are all Canadian. Caring for each other. Being taught about the residential school, with missing, murdered and abused children, with the truth about the Indian Act, with racism and poverty, addiction, the justice system, the church, cultural genocide and bureaucracy. Let them uncover the old teachings, the respect for nature, beauty, language, art, crafts, and music…the power of connection and Spirit among indigenous cultures. Feeling the resilience and strength of a culture rising up again with pride.

      Donna September 15, 2018 at 8:40 pm #

      Chi miigwetch

    bevin bigalky September 14, 2018 at 6:20 am #

    Best thing I’ve seen on APTN since its inception. Well done. This series is really important. I hope it’s played and seen in communities all over Canada and beyond. More importantly, I hope people talk about it with each other and begin to understand and heal. My heart ached after watching it. Very powerful. Thank you.

    Bob Johal September 14, 2018 at 5:32 am #

    I have faced racism and still face racism today and had always wondered how first Nations people dealt with what they were put through when it came to the horrors they faced during residential schools . I went to a forum at the friendship center where I listened to residential school survivers talk about their experience and It opened my eyes to what they were made to go through and the scars they carry from this cultural genicide. The one survivor explained that his people are strong people , proud people, giving people, spiritual people and honest people , and when I watched this episode of First Contact I already knew what to expect from the first Nations people and I was glad that at least the majority of the people had there eyes opened to the truth , the hardships, and the perception that people have when it comes to First Nations people in this country. All the people involved in this project should take great pride in their work on opening a lot of eyes on what is really going on here in Canada when it comes to First Nations issues and concerns . I thank you for a great job. Bob

    Bertie Hopkins September 14, 2018 at 5:07 am #

    I truly enjoyed this series but do wish we got to see it in the entirety no cut clips and/or no cut episodes but to have it uncut and uncensored. This would show the true feelings and ignorance of an average non indigenous person. I have even learned a lot from this series. I am an indigenous/first nation status person and gone partially thru the residential day school until I was integrate into the ‘normal’ catholic school system. I would like to see more in-depth look at all inuit, metis, first nations/ aboriginal programs of way of life, elder teachings/stories of different parts of Canada and more about their treaty rights. I truly hope that there will be a ‘Part 2 First contact’ as I have bragged, shared and encouraged people to watch this series. Thank you, Thank you!

    Ruby Villebrun September 14, 2018 at 3:44 am #

    I M an indigenous women from waterhen Lake First Nation Saskatchewan. I will continue praying for guidance and strength for reconciliation for all..

    Marlene Rumenovich September 14, 2018 at 2:47 am #

    This series was amazing and emotional. I’m not First Nations or Metis but in my sleep, I dream I’m living an aborginal life and being in ceremonies – often. My heart was left on the floor many times during the last three days..
    The older fellow with the grey hair and glasses so clearly said that “beating” was a ‘normal thing for him. Until this man understands that beating is abuse, he’ll never understand the abuse of others. So many like him including men in power.
    I hope this series will be more than a glimmer … more like a sliver with a sharp edge.

    Agnes J September 14, 2018 at 2:38 am #

    I agree that the First Contact movie was hurtful.But when the show was finish.The women .Esp the dark hair lady was rude and the host to the older man with the beard.I didn’t like that.This show was an experience for 6 people to go onto reserves and see how they live and find out the truth..They are all entitled to their own feelings and opinions…I thought the aftermath was rude…You can’t make anyone think the way we do..

      Judy September 14, 2018 at 10:09 pm #

      Yes I too felt that the hostess was very rude to the participants if they didn’t say what she wanted to hear. Also the stay at home mom from BC was not talking from her heart. She just wanted to get her 15 minutes of fame.

    Bridget Weenie September 14, 2018 at 1:52 am #

    Finally , a great idea to educate non indigenous people. What life is like in our communities. I hope many watch the show and come to realize what we all deal with. How it is unfair and unjustified to label us as beggars, free loaders, other unrealistic names and ideas they have about native people. Our lives matter and our rights to clean water , adequate housing , good health care , a good education. All of our treaty rights be held up too .By the Canadian government.

    Marion September 13, 2018 at 9:05 pm #

    I missed the first episode but watched the one on the 12th and am looking forward to the one this evening. I am almost 70 and find the attitudes of the two older men disheartening; but am pleased to see the changes in the young women and in Darcy (I think that is his name). Although I hope he doesn’t replace one stereotype with another – not all older people are close minded and racist – that is ageism. Great work. I just hope it is not too painful for those who have already endured so much.

    Maria September 13, 2018 at 7:51 pm #

    I am Caucasian. Born in Amsterdam, Holland. Immigrated with my parents at the age of 2 1/2.
    This is very painful for me too watch.
    I have experienced all these words and stereotyping on a second hand basis.
    In schoolyards as a child, and even with my limited understanding, I knew this was wrong.
    As a grandmother to partial indigenous children, what I witness and hear is heartbreaking. The ignorance and assumptions are mind numbing. Harmful words, passed down the generations, with no thought.
    I have many stories, but not for here.
    Indigenous people fight two battles. The battle of reuniting families, culture, language, addictions caused from disfunction. How is one to be a functional family, when families were torn apart and raised in institutions. Horrendous institutions called residential schools? This in itself, is many battles to overcome. It is internal and not easily seen from the outside.
    Secondly, the battle of ignorance.
    The mindset of those who spew off the “stereo”typed
    phrases. Again, without thought, without understanding, without knowledge.
    We, as a nation, as Canadians, who are noted for their kindness and compassion, are failing our own.
    We, as a nation, as Canadians, can make huge inroads in helping our indigenous neighbors, and families to heal on all levels. At the very least, with stopping the harmful talk. But better still, by opening our minds, asking questions, learning, understanding. They have a lot to teach us.
    And the best, is opening our hearts. Compassion and love heals all.
    My grandchildren have the blessing of living and learning in both cultures. We together, are a beautiful blending of family. I also have been truly blessed within this union. The love, the warmth, is heartfelt. The coming together in good times for laughter. The coming together, in sorrow and tears: the support is sometimes overwhelming.
    Their culture has much beauty and wisdom.
    Open your hearts. Listen. Learn.
    We all benefit. ❤️

    Dana September 13, 2018 at 4:36 pm #

    I’m am a proud Metis with light skin and have not experienced this type of racism directed at me personally but I hear this kind of talk all too often. It’s frustrating and disheartening but I speak out when I feel it’s safe to do so. (I’m a single mom of 2 kids so I’m careful) I hope this show starts helpful dialogue and reaches more people that share similar views as these 6. So many out there don’t know the more detailed history of the indigenous people around them (I even learned something new!). Hearing the story will open their eyes. And for most of them, change their hearts and views. I am grateful to all the participants of this show!

    Katherine September 13, 2018 at 1:55 pm #

    Is there a way to watch this show online? I have visitied the APTN website directly and can’t find it. I would love to watch. Please help!

    • Mark Blackburn September 13, 2018 at 2:59 pm #

      Hi Katherine, the show will be online September 17.

        Sherri September 14, 2018 at 3:12 am #

        Is there a website you can share where we can watch online? Thanks

        • Mark Blackburn September 14, 2018 at 7:19 pm #

          Hi Sherri, the series will be online Monday along with InFocus.

      Noella September 13, 2018 at 5:24 pm #

      YouTube from what I’ve read

      • Mark Blackburn September 14, 2018 at 7:48 pm #

        Hi, First Contact and InFocus will be online September 17

      Tammy September 16, 2018 at 6:35 pm #

      They are airing all 3 episodes today at 2 p.m.

    Cheryl September 13, 2018 at 5:10 am #

    This was a powerful, educational, emotional show. Well done!!!!!! Thank you for sharing the vulnerability, the courage.and the education. So heartfelt, I pray we can find balance. In gratitude