A special VICELAND documentary on Canada’s isolated Indigenous communities.
On June 19, VICELAND will present CUT-OFF, our special documentary on struggle and hope for youth in remote Indigenous communities. It’s a daunting project, as no single documentary can capture the diverse experiences and stories of Canada’s isolated First Nations.
Several reserves have declared states of emergency in 2016. The pattern is sadly the same. First comes the declaration of emergency due to a suicide epidemic, unclean water, or an infrastructure breakdown. Then come the headlines and the calls for action.
A driving idea behind this film comes from one of the main subjects: Stewart Redsky from Shoal Lake 40, an isolated First Nations reserve on the Ontario-Manitoba border. Redsky is a local leader, parent, former chief, and a residential school survivor. When visitors come to his community, he says they need to "see and feel" the struggles there to understand what it looks like to be forcibly disconnected from the rest of Canada the way that his First Nation is. Shoal Lake 40 isn’t alone. Countless remote reserves experience some level of disconnection, whether it is geographic, cultural, or financial. And that’s what CUT-OFF is about, told mostly through the voices of young people living in Pimicikamack Cree Nation in northern Manitoba and Shoal Lake 40.
The only outsider in the documentary is the prime minister. In a historic visit, he spent the day in Shoal Lake 40, exclusively for this VICE project, accompanied by Sarain Carson-Fox, host of the upcoming VICELAND original series RISE. Over the course of his day, he did what the community had wanted—with a goal to "see and feel" daily life.
The documentary is about more than one day with Justin Trudeau. It’s about Indigenous youth facing each day with resilience, in the face of obstacles that many Canadians will likely never see and feel.