‘First Contact’ Season 2 continues to shatter Indigenous stereotypes in Canada

Following the success of Season 1, First Contact returns to take a new group of Canadians on a unique 28-day exploration of Indigenous communities.

The TV docuseries takes six Canadians — all with strong (and mostly negative) opinions about Indigenous people — on a journey that promises to turn their lives upside down, challenging their perceptions and confronting their prejudices about a world they never imagined they would see.

Season 2 of First Contact premieres on Tuesday as a three-night television event on APTN.

stereotypes in Canada

The series will continue with Episode 2 on Wednesday and episode three on Thursday. Following the third episode on Thursday night, the travellers and some of the Indigenous hosts and producers will sit down in an interactive panel live on Facebook.

The three-part series, narrated by host George Stroumboulopoulos, has proven to be a compelling exploration into Indigenous culture in Canada.

The six travellers’ 28-day journey starts in Kanesatake, Que., where the participants are exposed to a new perspective on the Oka Siege. Then, in Natuashish, Labrador, time spent with the local Innu people sheds new light on its residents and history.

Credit: APTN / Lor Brand

In Episode 2, the six participants travel south to Thunder Bay, where a number of tragic incidents have exposed racist attitudes towards Indigenous people. Next, a meeting with residential school survivors in southern Ontario shocks the travellers.

Credit: APTN / Lor Brand

In the final episode, the group travels to northern Saskatchewan and faces its biggest test yet. They meet with people from communities deeply affected by the death and trial of Colten Boushie. The group also visits Yukon, where self-governance is helping a community flourish.

Credit: APTN / Lor Brand

The second season of First Contact, in association with Animiki See Digital Production, Nüman Films and Indios Productions, began filming in August 2018 prior to the release of Season 1.

“It’s a pretty incredible thing when you see people open their eyes to a part of the country they don’t understand,” said Desiree Single, manager of production at Animiki See Digital Production. “We saw it happen in Season 1 and wanted to dig deeper into the current issues Indigenous Peoples face while also telling the stories of the past.

“We are so grateful to have strong Indigenous Peoples from across the country helping the participants gain perspective through first-hand experience and storytelling, and we can’t wait to share those perspectives and how they affected the participants.”

This season’s Indigenous educators and storytellers include Ian Campeau, formerly of a Tribe Called Red; Colleen Cardinal, a Sixties Scoop survivor; Ellen Gabriel and elder John Cree, front-line community members at the Oka Siege; Stephanie MacLaurin, community host in Fort William First Nation; Becky Sasakamoose Kuffner, race relations co-ordinator in Saskatoon; Eleanore Sunchild, legal counsel for the Boushie family; and Debbie Baptiste, Colten Boushie’s mother.

The six participants who left their everyday lives behind to visit Indigenous communities across Canada are:

Brennen Kovic
Age: 35
Location: Mississauga, Ont.
Occupation: sales

Jackson Way
Age: 19
Location: Midland, Ont.
Occupation: student

Laurianne Bencharski
Age: 45
Location: Prince Albert, Sask.
Occupation: former corrections officer

Larry Harris
Age: 62
Location: Brantford, Ont.
Occupation: shipping and receiving

Samantha Whitehead
Age: 26
Location: Whitby, Ont.
Occupation: event manager

Stephanie Pituley
Age: 36
Location: Tyndall, Man.
Occupation: stay-at-home mother and co-owner of a trucking business

APTN will premiere Season 2 of First Contact as a three-night television event starting Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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