Going Native

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This may be surprising, but my favourite TV network is APTN -the Aboriginal People’s Television Network. For those of you outside of Canada, APTN is exactly what it sounds like: a TV station whose mandate is to air programming with a strong aboriginal content. What about it do I like so much? Well, it’s a tad amateurish and low budget, no question. But the fact remains that, given APTN’s mandate, its content is unlike every other TV station out there. They include in their definition of “aboriginal” the native peoples of New Zealand, Australia, and indeed of any land conquered and colonized by European powers. Yes, I know that there’s an argument that white folks are the “native peoples” of Europe, blah blah blah. But grow up already. This is a network intended to showcase and promote the artistic activities of native peoples who have been marginalized and minimalized by invading races. Surely we can agree that their viewpoints are unique and underrepresented? Therein lies the power of APTN. I revel in its programming from around the world. I get to see the fantastic Maori cartoon, Bro’Town, the New Zealand crime drama Street Legal (not to be confused with the Toronto version, in which I was an occasional extra –playing “ethnic leader #3”), and Australia’s Remote Area Nurse. Sure, there’s plenty of silliness on the network, like having to watch endless episodes of the 1990s’ lamest show, Northern Exposure, or any number of Tommy Lee Jones or Val Kilmer movies. (See, both have some native blood, so their work is fair game.) But it’s counterbalanced by being able to see such excellent rare fare as the Rick Schroder film, Black Cloud. If you are in Canada, give APTN a try.