Real-Life Stories Come to APTN

One of the things some viewers may not realize about APTN is that we regularly broadcast award-winning, informative, inspiring and thought-provoking documentaries.

Anyone who has checked out the APTN documentary strands, Reel Insights andVoices of the Land, knows that when it comes to documentary filmmaking, the Aboriginal production community is at the top of its game.

So move over Passionate Eye, during the month of April, APTN will be a documentary film buff’s best friend.

The month starts with the true story of a man’s search for truth and his ensuing fall from grace in Passage.

A National Film Board documentary, Passage is the true story of John Rae (1813-1893), the Hudson’s Bay Company doctor who solved the two great mysteries of the 19th Century: the fate of the doomed Sir John Franklin expedition, and the location of the last navigable link in the Northwest Passage.

For 12 years after the disappearance of Franklin and his 130 men, the equivalent of $80 million was spent on 40 ships sent in search of them.

Using the ways of the Inuit, Rae discovered their fate, but his findings included the tragic news that the Franklin crew had resorted to cannibalism.

Instead of being heralded for his work, Franklin’s reports were stricken from the history books and the Inuit were dubbed by the English as “liars”.

Passage airs on APTN North April 7 at 5:30 p.m.

For more heartwarming fare, check out the English premiere of Saving Luna. This multiple award-winning documentary tells the story of Luna, a wild baby killer whale who gets separated from his family on the rugged, wild coast of Vancouver Island.

All alone, he seems determined to make friends with humans. People fall in love with him – a cook on an old freighter, a gruff fisheries officer, an Elder and a young man from a First Nations band.

But the government decides that being friendly with Luna is bad for him, and tries to keep him and people apart, leading to battles between the government, the First Nations, those who love Luna and those who think a wild animal that inconveniences humans should be killed.

The English version of Saving Luna premieres on APTN on April 28 at 5:30 p.m.

APTN will also air the world premiere of Qimmit: A Clash of Two Truths on its Voices of the Land strand.

Broadcast in Inuktitut, this documentary tells the controversial story of the RCMP’s part in the near-extinction of the Inuit sled dog. For the Inuit, the sled dog symbolized a way of life as well as a deep connection to the land. They depended upon the dogs for hunting, transportation and companionship as an essential means of survival.

But from the 1950s to the 1970s, the Inuit’s semi-nomadic way of life all but vanished. The sled dog population dropped from an estimated 20,000 to just a few hundred dogs.

Many Inuit believe the dogs were deliberately killed by the RCMP as part of a government policy to force them off the land and into “civilization”. The RCMP denies there was any conscious policy on their part.

Qimmit: A Clash of Two Truths explores the mystery of how and why the sled dogs disappeared; a mystery which has left deep wounds across Canada’s Arctic.

Make sure to log on to to see our full northern schedule and more information on current programming and initiatives, contests and memberships.

Next month: Music is in the air for the month of May!

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