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Investigates


APTN Investigates is the first Indigenous investigative news program in Canada, offering viewers hard-hitting reports and stories.

Produced by award-winning journalists, APTN Investigates is committed to seeking the truth for our people.

As Season 10 of APTN Investigates unfolds, each week you can hear one-on-one interviews with the people who created the show, who made their contributions and moved on and those who continue the work today.

APTN Executive News Director Karyn Pugliese asks the questions. It’s a new interview every Friday.


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Retrospective: Reconciling the truth with journalism

What is Indigenous journalism? How is APTN different than mainstream? Is APTN news fulfilling the vision of its creator? These are a few of the questions award-winning journalist Cullen Crozier tries to answer.

We also talk about the construction of stories, and how the person with the camera and the microphone tries to create truth, even when it has to be reconstructed as was the case with Cullen’s doc: Forgotten Survivors.

Originally aired June 9, 2019


Retrospective: When APTN was a ‘bad ass band of rebels.’

Rob Smith remembers when APTN was led by spitfire News Director Rita Deverell, and reporters were just a little rough around the edges. We talk about his documentary Defiance, the art of VJing and more.

Originally aired June 2, 2019


Retrospective: The Good Fellow

All our fellows are good but John Murray was the first person to earn an APTN-CAJ Fellowship. The idea was to give an Indigenous person, who was mid-career a chance to embed with APTN Investigates and make their own episode, while getting paid to do it.

Yes, John Murray was good, so good we asked him to stay. Along with the fellowship, we also discuss his documentary, Cowboys and Pretendians, which asks why cinema is still so racist.

Originally aired May 26, 2019


Retrospective: Behind the scenes after the Gerald Stanley acquittal

Award-winning APTN Investigates reporter Rob Smith hit the ground just after the decision in Gerald Stanley’s trial that perplexed and divided the nation. We talk about what it was like behind the scenes of the coverage.

Originally aired May 19, 2019


Retrospective: A storyteller is born

Cullen Crozier was always going to be a gifted storyteller, it was in his genes, a talent passed down from his grandfather. He was making deliveries for a living when he discovered the APTN office. It led to a chance encounter that led to an award-winning career as a video journalist.

We talk about that, as well as his documentary Against Their Will which documents the resilience of women fighting back against the system that sterilized them.

Originally aired May 12, 2019


Retrospective: Shining lights in dark places

Last February, APTN News broke the story of racist social media comments by an RCMP officer who posted that Colten Boushie, the 22-year-old Cree man shot and killed by Gerald Stanley, “got what he deserved.”

Trina Roache got the tip from another police officer who was disgusted to see dozens of racist comments about Indigenous people on a Facebook group for RCMP. Trina takes us behind the scenes of that story, and talks about why exposing these stories are important.

Originally aired April 7, 2019


Retrospective: Bullet-Proof Journalism

Dennis Ward saw it coming. The pipeline, the build-up of tension at Standing Rock in North Dakota, which became an eight-month long stand-off. He convinced the APTN news room to go south-side for what has turned out to be one of the most important stories in US-Indigenous relations this century.

We talk about his pre-APTN career, to his coverage of Standing Rock, including news gathering while being pepper sprayed, and dodging rubber bullets.

Originally aired March 31, 2019


Retrospective: Exposing corruption and misspending in Indian country

Melissa Ridgen has exposed corruption and misspending in Indian country.

We dive into what she has discovered about accountability, and some of the key stories Investigates has broken over the last 10 years…. Plus we talk about bunnies.

Originally aired March 24, 2019


Retrospective: “My fingers just know where to go”

Trina Roache has worked at APTN – off and on – since 2001. After returning from an “extended” four-year mat leave in 2013, she saw that the equipment had changed and evolved.

But the Mi’kmaq video journalist wanted that big old Sony camera she was accustomed to using earlier in her career.

“I still have that camera,” she told Karyn Pugliese during her interview for APTN Investigates – a Retrospective, talking about her History Decolonized documentary. “My fingers just know where to go.”

Reflecting on her “long journey” with the company, the talented story teller said “APTN has come so far,” since she started.

Originally aired March 17, 2019


Retrospective: “Hey! I can do more!”

According to APTN Investigates journalist Josh Grummet, the most important thing anyone can do in life is listen. So that’s why his Twitter handle is @joshlistens! Another intriguing mystery solved during this conversation with Executive News Director Karyn Pugliese.

He’s the right-hand man to producers on Investigates. A journalist, shooter, editor and creative tour de force with a hand in every episode including his own, Priceless.

Originally aired February 10, 2019


Retrospective: They messed up the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and fleeced survivors

Kathleen Martens knows this. She’s proved time and again that government did not fairly compensate survivors and some lawyers fleeced them. She’s broken stories, held those in power accountable, some lawyers were disbarred as a result of her exposés.

Her documentary “Truth? Or Reconciliation” was another deep dive winning the 2017 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the Open Broadcast Feature category with one judge calling it a “perfect” documentary.

Originally aired February 3, 2019


Retrospective: Busking Journalism with Holly Moore

Holly Moore was a fine arts student, a dancer and a street performer. Naturally, the next step in her career was to join CBC’s elite investigative unit. Not so obvious?

We talk about how she got from A to B to APTN Today, she is the producer of APTN Investigates, and recently won the Amnesty International Award for Human Right reporting for her work on “The Cure was worse” delving into stories of starvation, isolation, loss of culture and even medical experimentation at Canada’s tuberculosis sanatoriums.

Originally aired January 27, 2019


Retrospective: Nothing good ever came from staring out the window

Melissa Ridgen has moved from APTN Investigates to host the APTN talk show InFocus. She’s brought her direct style of inquiry and her predilection for getting to the bottom of things in a Frank way. Not everybody likes that.

We’ll talk to her about how she handles haters. Also, how staring out a window led Ridgen to investigate a good news story, but then it all went wrong.

Originally aired January 20, 2019


Retrospective: Vulnerable people, what’s the harm of a little journalism?

Veteran reporter Kathleen Marten’s takes us behind the scenes. Matty is non-verbal, suffers from serious disabilities and just aged out of foster care. His foster family wants to keep caring for him, but the state is cutting them off. It’s the kind of noble story reporters want to tell.

However, you can’t just bulldoze your way in. Marten’s talks about trying to strike the balance between getting the images and story a television journalist needs, and while trying not to exploit or harm the vulnerable youth at the centre of the story.

Originally aired January 13, 2019


Retrospective: From local print to TV – Covering it all in the world in journalism

Kathleen Martens has done it all, from covering agricultural stories for a small-town paper in rural Manitoba to taking on the complexities of the federal bureaucracy, not to mention just about the entire legal profession. First in local print and then in long form TV investigations for a national audience and now on the APTN National News web site, there’s not much Kathleen Martens hasn’t done in the world of journalism. And by bringing a handful of national awards to APTN Investigates, the evidence is clearly there that she’s done it very well.

Karyn Pugliese and Kathleen Martens discuss the Independent Assessment Process and so much more on APTN Investigates: A Retrospective.

Originally aired November 25, 2018


Retrospective: Prospering in media the hard way

It’s been a unique journey for APTN Vancouver Video Journalist Tina House. She learned how to be in the right place at the right time from her Metis leader father. She picked up the skills she needed to survive and prosper in media the hard way, waiting tables along the way.

Then during the very first season of APTN Investigates, Tina House was awarded the Amnesty International Human Rights Journalism Award for a story about a missing and then murdered relative. Karyn Pugliese and Tina House discuss Missing Women and so much more on APTN Investigates: A Retrospective.

Originally aired November 18, 2018


Retrospective: Child labour in the newsroom

Francine Compton’s father made her transcribe interviews as a child, then encouraged her to study broadcast, telling her one day Indigenous people would have their own TV network.

She was still a teenager when she was put in charge of APTN’s studio crew. She’s since worked as a reporter, producer and is now part of APTN’s management team. We talk about this plus her Investigates story on fracking, before fracking was a thing.

Originally aired November 11, 2018


Retrospective: Single Moms, Lies and Videotape

It became clear early on at APTN that the majority of reporters it was hiring were single moms. Melissa Ridgen talks about balancing motherhood and journalism.

As well this episode dives into Ridgen’s investigation into the scandal surrounding the Manitoba Association Of Native Firefighters’ (MANFF’s) apparent disregard for its duty to care for flood victims, not to mention taxpayer dollars. We talk about why it’s important to investigate these stories, despite the fear that it may perpetuate a stereotype.

Originally aired November 4, 2018


Retrospective: A shoebox full of documents sealed with duct tape

Kenneth Jackson, a former Ottawa Sun crime reporter trying his hand as a freelancer, got the box. In it were documents with politicians’ names, someone who had a personal connection to the prime minister and a mass of information about First Nations water.

Jackson put the box in the trunk of his car and drove to the Ottawa home of his best friend, a reporter named Jorge Barrera who had been working at APTN as a web reporter. That launched one of the most widely reported investigations into a Canadian political scandal. Spoiler alert: Kenneth got a job at APTN.

Originally aired October 28, 2018


Retrospective: “I didn’t think that could happen in Canada.”

Todd Lamirande had been at APTN for only a year when he transferred to BC to open the Vancouver bureau – located in his one bedroom apartment. Shortly thereafter, the police illegally seized his car and his tapes.

It was a precarious start, but so began an 18-year career at APTN, and Lamirande – who never wanted to work in television –began his ascent, becoming one of the best known on air personalities at APTN. Lamirande also tells how he unravelled the mystery behind the missing Bell of Batoche. Or did he?

Originally aired October 21, 2018


Retrospective: Through the Looking Glass

For a long time Paul Barnsley was the only investigative journalist on the Native beat, and today he remains one of the most respected journalists among Indigenous people in Canada. In Through the Looking Glass he talks about his career and offers wisdom from his own experience to non-Aboriginal reporters breaking in on the beat.

Barnsley won the life-time achievement award for human right reporting, and has mentored dozens of Indigenous journalists.

Originally aired October 14, 2018


Retrospective: The story that saved lives

Award-winning Cheryl McKenzie, known as the face of APTN for more than a decade speaks about her career, a breakthrough story that saved dozens of lives, and the of launch Investigative journalism by Indigenous peoples – a first in the world.

Originally aired October 7, 2018