Extinct people join InFocus for a talk about, well what it’s like to be extinct


As ridiculous as it sounds, InFocus will actually have people who are extinct on to talk about what it’s like to be – extinct.

For instance, for the last 10,000 years, the Sinixt People lived in the area that is now called southeastern British Columbia and northeastern Washington.

You may know them as the Arrow Lakes people.

Today, many reside on the Colville Reservation in Washington State after the Canada-U.S. border sliced through their territory.

Few remained in Canada – and when the last registered Sinixt person died in 1956, the Canadian government declared them extinct knowing full well they live on, but eager to get an entire group of people off the books and dispossess them of land rights.

But in 2010, one Sinixt man living the U.S. came to Canada to harvest an elk on his traditional territory.

He called B.C. conservation officers and advised them of the kill. Being a conservation officer himself, he knew he’d be charged with hunting unlawfully in Canada.

Of course the whole point was to take the matter to court and to exert Sinixt rights on his ancestral lands.

In 2021, he won – making them no longer extinct here, but people with section 35 rights.

Also on the show, the Beothuk from the island of Newfoundland were driven to extinction in the early 1800s by European settlers.

To add insult to injury, some of their remains were dug up and sent to Scotland’s national museum.

But they were finally repatriated in 2020 and since then, samples from those remains have shown in new research, Beothuk DNA

Host, Producer / Winnipeg

Melissa is a proud Red River Metis and award-winning journalist who has spent more than 24 years covering crime, courts, politics, business and entertainment for newspapers in four provinces.
She then joined APTN Investigates in 2009 and APTN National News in 2018 and in that time has garnered numerous awards and nominations including from the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network (2013), Canadian Association of Journalists (2016, 2019) and Canadian Screen Awards (2018, 2019).