Inspiring and informative, Cheryl McKenzie puts the top news stories affecting Aboriginal Peoples in Canada into perspective. Every Friday, Cheryl takes an in-depth look at the headlines that matter most.

The season kicked off in early September with a panel of Canadian and Aboriginal pundits as they discussed the recent federal ministry name change of INAC (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) to AANDC (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada).

You can view the season premiere of APTN InFocus by visiting www.aptn.ca/infocus.

The panel discussions air on the first Friday of the month. The next one airs Friday, October 7. Mediated by Cheryl, the panel brings together expert commentary and discussion from panellists Taiaiake Alfred, Rick Harp, Judy Rebick and Pamela D. Palmater.

Professor Alfred is director of the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria.

He is the recipient of a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Studies, the award for best column writing by the Native American Journalists Association, and a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the field of Education.

Alfred earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Concordia University and his MA and PhD in comparative politics and political theory from Cornell University.

Rick Harp, former host of APTN’s Contact, is now the co-founder and president of the INDIGENA Creative Group, and operator of the of the mediaINDIGENA website/blog dealing with Aboriginal news.

He hosts and produces a daily radio talk show called Urban Nation Live on Streetz FM.

Harp offers 15 years of experience in journalism and communication and served as an artistic director for the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival.

Judy Rebick is a well-known social justice activist, writer, educator and speaker.

Her latest book is Transforming Power: From the Personal to the Political. Other books include Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution (Penguin 2005) and Imagine Democracy (Douglas and McIntyre 200).

Rebick is founding publisher of rabble.ca, Canada’s most popular independent online news outlet.

She is a regular on the media panel for the CBC Radio program Q and is best known to Canadians as a former president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, Canada’s largest women’s group.

Dr. Pamela D. Palmater is a Mi’kmaq lawyer and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation.

She currently holds the position of Associate Professor and Chair in Indigenous Governance in the Department of Politics and Public Administration and heads the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University.

Palmater regularly appears as a political and legal commentator on APTN and CBC, is an internationally sought-after speaker on Indigenous rights, and has appeared before the House and Senate as an expert witness on legislation impacting Indigenous Peoples.

Most recently, she was nominated as one of the Next Generation of Leaders in the Globe and Mail feature, Transformational Canadians.

This diverse group provides a rounded set of perspectives and real communication on these issues.

Be sure to check out APTN InFocus every Friday right after the APTN National News.