First Contact with First Nations

First Contact TV APTN

Teaching has taken me to some incredible places and let me experience all sorts of new things. I have learned a lot in my career and continue to do so. That is what my Teaching Tip Series is all about.

This year, I started working for a new school board and had to return to day-to-day supply teaching. At times, being a supply teacher can be a boring and thankless job. But there are days like the one I had yesterday that remind me how much I love teaching and making connections with young people.

The teacher I was filling in for had left a video for the class to watch and a worksheet to fill out.

The video was the first episode of show entitled, “First Contact.” This what APTN says about the program . . .

“Most Canadians have never taken the time to get to know Indigenous People or visit their communities. First Contact takes six average Canadians, all with strong opinions about Indigenous People, on a unique 28-day journey into Indigenous Canada. Leaving their everyday lives behind the six will travel deep into Winnipeg, Nunavut, Alberta, Northern Ontario, and the coast of BC to visit Indigenous communities.

Narrated by host and social justice activist George Stroumboulopoulos, First Contact is a journey that will turn the six participants’ lives upside down. Challenging their perceptions and confronting their opinions about a world they never imagined they would see. It is an experience that will change their lives, forever.”

I have taught and lived in various First Nation communities and was able to share that experience with the class. I stopped the video several times to talk about my experiences and those of the communities I was fortunate enough to teach in.

In fact, I have actually been to some of the communities mentioned in this three-part documentary series. I went to Muskrat Dam in the winter of 2008 and drove across the ice road to get there. This community was featured in Episode 2 of the show.

This series is a great way to educate Canadians about First Nations peoples and help eliminate some of the misconceptions and stereotypes that abound. You see some of them in the trailer above. But you also see these people begin to understand how wrong they were.

I had heard about this series and planned to watch it. I’m glad I got to watch it for the first time with a group of high school kids. It was a learning experience for all of us. I highly recommend watching it with your class.

The series can be streamed for free from APTN, the world’s first National Aboriginal broadcasting network.

Watch it here –

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