Season 1 | First Across the Line


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Season 1

Episode 1- Biking
Downhill Mountain Biking is bringing Aboriginal people back to their ancestral British Columbia territory in new ways. This episode features Brianna Kelly, a 16-year-old who can shred like the pros, on her journey to the Silver Star Downhill B.C. Cup with her coach and mentor, Jay Bearhead. We also meet Tom Eustache, a trailblazer who has pioneered the building of professional biking trails and clubs for his community.

Episode 2- Lacrosse
The ancient game of Lacrosse has gained popularity through the years with more teams and regions joining the sport. Kallen Currie of Mistawasis First Nation in Saskatchewan is an aspiring lacrosse athlete who is given a chance to compete at the World Junior Lacrosse Championship. This episode also profiles legendary lacrosse player, Gaylord Powless of Six Nations of the Grand River, whose career contributed to the sport’s renown in Canada, and former international lacrosse champion, Cam Bomberry, a mentor to youth and tireless promoter of the sport.

Episode 3- Football
Football is one of Canada’s mainstream sports. Despite the vast distances between communities, the sport has found its way into many First Nations schools in northern Saskatchewan. We follow Dray Tinker and the Pinehouse Lake school football team as they compete with other schools in Six-A-Side football. We tell the little-known story of Aboriginal role model Jack Jacobs and of his mark on the sport, as well as that of Josh Sacobie, a native from New Brunswick and a coach for the Carleton University Ravens football team in Ottawa.

Episode 4- Boxing
This episode foregrounds the accomplishments of two dynamic women making their mark in the traditionally male world of boxing. Winnipeg resident Kenzie Wilson, of the Cross Lake First Nation in Northern Manitoba, talks about the hard work and perseverance that got her through hard times. Olympic Boxer, Mary Spencer also talks about what it takes to succeed in this difficult sport, and we follow her as she trains and mentors youth in the First Nation community of Kashechewan in northern Ontario. The Sinclair brothers look back on their father, trailblazer Sam Sinclair, who fought and boxed in the war, and later became a community leader for the Métis Nation.

Episode 5- Volleyball
Volleyball is a sport well recognized by First Nations communities. This episode follows the Walkingbear family of Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan, who started their own community-based volleyball club, which has produced highly trained players and elite volleyball athletes. Founder Winston Walkingbear is the knowledge giver and head coach, Thundersky Walkingbear wants to play at the highest-level, and Savana Walkingbear is the trailblazer, who paved the way for his little brothers and other team members to become successful athletes in the sport.

Episode 6- Salish Canoeing
Canoeing has been a part of the West Coast First Nations cultures throughout the centuries. Today, canoe families train and spend their summers travelling up and down the coast of B.C. competing in races. In this episode, we meet members of Cowichan Tribes First Nation, including master traditional dugout canoe carver Jedson August, Kevin Paige, former racer who now runs the community’s canoe club and coordinates canoeing events, and his daughter Janelle, a paddler and competitive racer. Elder ‘Luschiim’ Arvid Charlie, speaks about his life with the canoes and his trailblazing role in keeping this ancient tradition very much alive.

Episode 7- Basketball
Basketball in Canada is an affordable sport and a good way for Indigenous youth to have fun together and trace themselves a better path in life. Near Kenora, Ontario, Tania Cameron runs a basketball program that has been successful in increasing youth involvement and driving the sport’s popularity. In Winnipeg, the Anishinabe Pride Basketball Club, created by Jackie Anderson and her husband to help inner city youth to lead a better life, is testimony to the couple’s dedication and to the participants’ enthusiasm for the sport. Trailblazer Michael Linklater, a 3×3 basketball player, speaks about his life with the sport and initiatives to bring his basketball program to First Nation communities.

Episode 8- Soccer
Cowichan Tribes is the largest First Nations community in British Columbia and its soccer athletes have travelled the world playing this sport. This episode follows veteran player, Dano Thorne, as he coaches young athletes and talks about NIFA, the Native Indian Soccer Association, which provides training and opportunities for indigenous players. We meet Tammy Jack, her family, and other members of the community while they play and tell stories of their soccer accomplishments. This episode also features Harry Manson, a superior player who faced discrimination and racism over a century ago, but still blazed the trail for younger generations to compete in soccer.

Episode 9- Kayaking
This episode dives into the competitive sport of Sprint Kayaking. James Lavallée, a Métis from Winnipeg, is a kayaker that has been competing for years and is now ready to qualify in the Olympics for Team Canada. Cathy Rice from Kahnawake, speaks about her connection with the sport and with Mother Nature. 1984 Olympic gold medalist Alwyn Morris, talks about his journey with the sport and what it takes to get to the highest level of sprint kayaking.

Episode 10- Wrestling
Twin brothers Thomas and Philip Barreiro of Akwesasne are Greco-Roman style wrestlers who are on their way to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. Tara Hedican, the first indigenous woman to win a World Junior Wrestling Championship, travels to Kahnawake to hold a workshop and speak with the young wrestling team about her journey in this sport. Amateur wrestlers Judy Russell and Kendra Cheers get their chance to wrestle and compete at the North American Indigenous Games.

Episode 11- Long Distance Running
The running event called the Mamu Marathon is held every year in the small community of Uashat and the town of Sept-Iles, Quebec. We follow Byron ‘Geronimo’ Michel as he reflects on his life, trains, and sprints to the finish line. His mentor, Roger Vachon, is the founder of the Mamu Marathon and has battled issues that gave him the determination to make a change. Stanley Vollant, the first Aboriginal surgeon in Quebec, has walked thousands of miles through First Nations territories in Quebec, inspired by his ancestors’ nomadic ways to walk with his people and to promote healthy lifestyles.

Episode 12- Arctic Sports
The Arctic Winter Games is an international celebration of circumpolar sports and indigenous culture, showcasing traditional Arctic and modern athletics. We join young athletes, Emily King, Matthew Jacobson, and Kuduat Shorty of Team Yukon, as they compete and recount what they aspire to in these circumpolar Olympics. Arctic Games official Donald Kuptana, speaks about the history of the sport and what it means to be a part of it. Trailblazer Johnny Issaluk has competed for many years, making his mark as an athlete, a mentor to youth, and as an actor.

Episode 13- Speed skating
In the Nunavut town of Iqaluit, a small group of determined athletes push themselves to the limit in speedskating. This episode profiles the young skaters Rosalie Demaio, Emma Carpenter, and Akutaq Williamson Bathory, of Team Nunavut, led by former competitive skater Kyle St. Laurent, as they train, prepare themselves for, and compete in the Arctic Winter Games. Trailblazer John Maurice talks about how he was able to bring the sport to the northern communities and the impact it has had on the community.