InFocus | Podcast

InFocus advances the latest news stories. Join Host Melissa Ridgen as she puts issues into perspective and provides in-depth analysis. Informational and educational, InFocus provides a detailed examination of the issues affecting our communities.


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Continuing the conversation about police violence against people of color

It’s been a decade since First Nations in Manitoba’s Interlake region were flooded by the province in order to save Winnipeg.

On this episode of InFocus we’re digging into the lasting effects of that historic flood.

Originally aired May 5, 2021


Continuing the conversation about police violence against people of color

One week ago a jury convicted police officer Derek Chauvin of murder in the death of George Floyd.

The verdict is far from the end of the broader subject of police brutality – which we are putting InFocus on this episode.

Originally aired April 28, 2021


Indigenous women entrepreneurs more likely to be motivated by filling a need, rather than greed

On this episode we’re putting #LadyBosses InFocus – Indigenous women entrepreneurs who started up businesses that are now soaring.

We are celebrating them and also they’re sharing with you, how they did it and how you can too.

Originally aired April 21, 2021


Indigenous women chefs take Canadian cooking shows by storm

We’re putting some incredible chefs InFocus. Guest host Brittany Hobson is talking with two women competing on cooking shows and we visit the kitchen of one of Winnipeg’s busiest restaurants – Feast Bistro.

Originally aired April 14, 2021


Amber Alerts, settling down with baby after an apprehension and creating a child welfare act

Putting child welfare InFocus – We have an update on a Brandon family, who after three days of labour, left empty-handed, escorted out by security. They’re joining us to talk about the nightmare they endured.

Originally aired April 7, 2021


Headdresses in the mail, racism in health care and beaded maps

A headdress found at the Canada Post warehouse in Winnipeg was returned to its owner thanks to social media after being list in the mail for four months.

But should there be a protocol in place for when the federal mail service finds regalia and ceremonial items that get lost in the system, to ensure they’re cared for until returned?

Originally aired March 31, 2021


Inuit art, Listuguj fishery and Cree Subs on the menu

On this episode of InFocus we have a sneak peek at the new Inuit art centre opening in Winnipeg.

We’ll also look at a docuseries about the Mi’kmaq fight to exert their treaty right to fish. And later in the show we will inspire your taste buds.

Originally aired March 24, 2021


How athletes are getting more youth involved in sports put InFocus

Sport has been an important part of Indigenous lives across Turtle Island – it continues to bring our communities together today.

APTN’s Darrell Stranger is guest hosting a special sports edition of InFocus. In this episode you’ll be hearing from former NHL head coach Ted Nolan about his experience in the league, including racism at the highest level of the game.

Originally aired March 17, 2021


Indigenous Peoples and the problems in health care

Canadians love to brag about healthcare, but what happens when the system is killing certain groups of people?

On this episode of InFocus, we’re discussing medical racism and what needs to be done to keep people safe.

Originally aired March 10, 2021


A look at how Canada is handling the TRC calls to action, five years later

Do you think Canada has adequately implemented the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action?

On a special episode of InFocus we’re talking with the former commissioners to see what Canada has implemented or not since the report was released.

Originally aired March 3, 2021


Clean Water, Broken Promises

It’s no secret that many First Nations across Canada still don’t have access to clean drinking water.

On this episode of InFocus, we’re discussing First Nation water issues and talking to a national investigative team that dug deep to find out what’s going on.

Originally aired February 24, 2021


New and old shows shine on APTN and Lumi

We’re putting some old favorites, along with some brand new APTN programs InFocus.

On this episode, we’re joined by Moosemeat & Marmalade’s Art Napoleon, as well as Working It Out Together’s Waneek Horn-Miller.

Originally aired February 17, 2021


Child welfare worker ‘shocked’ that Winnipeg CFS is keeping children from parents

When child welfare agencies keep raising the requirements to have your kids back, how do parents keep up the fight?

On this episode of InFocus, Melissa Ridgen shares one family’s story of meeting all requirements and still going home to an empty crib.

Originally aired February 10, 2021


Exploring must read books from Indigenous authors

It’s #IndigenousReadingMonth and we’re exploring must-read books from Indigenous authors.

Our people have always been incredible storytellers and what better time to read and share those stories than the cold, winter months – during a pandemic.

Originally aired February 3, 2021


A growing number of “Pretendian” artists and the potential repercussions

It’s a bizarre phenomenon – people pretending to be Indigenous to get jobs or grants or even just attention, because it’s cool to be us.

What’s not funny is they are taking highly lucrative work from Indigenous people. They’re teaching our histories. They’re telling our stories.

On this episode, we are putting Indigenous identity fraud InFocus.

Originally aired January 27, 2021


A look at Indigenous creators taking #NativeTikTok by storm

TikTok is an app giant – even if you’re not on it, chances are you’ve seen a TikTok shared elsewhere.

On this episode we’re putting the booming community of #NativeTikTok InFocus.

Join us as we explore some of the best that Indigenous creators have to offer.

Originally aired January 20, 2021


How police handled the Washington rioters compared to Standing Rock protesters

The world watched in awe as rioters stormed the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. and sent the heart of American governance into lockdown.

For some, it was the relative ease with which rioters seized the building.

For others, what struck them was the lack of police violence these criminals were met with compared to how Indigenous and Black people are often treated when they protest, occupy, or defend.

On this episode we’re putting the Washington riots InFocus.

Originally aired January 13, 2021


A look at monumental harvesting rights moments in 2020

From lobster, to moose, to salmon – harvesting rights grabbed headlines throughout 2020.

On this episode, we’re putting those moments InFocus and looking at what’s in store for 2021.

Originally aired January 6, 2021


Spreading some holiday cheer during these unique times

Baking treats, skating on the lake, or challenging the Grinch to a dance off – how are you celebrating the holidays this year?

On this episode of InFocus we are spreading some holiday cheer and saying goodbye to the year 2020.

Originally aired December 23, 2020


Parents battling over custody: A look at family court alternatives

Parents battling over custody – sometimes it results in family members being completely cut off from the kids and as it stands, the only option to sort out access is in a provincial court.

On this episode of InFocus we are looking at family court alternatives.

Originally aired December 16, 2020


Truth and Reconciliation, Five Years Later – Special Edition

It’s been five years since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its report, outlining 94 calls to action to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples across the country.

Half a decade later, how has Canada measured up on its promise to implement these calls to action? What progress has been made, and where have we fallen short?

On a special edition of InFocus, all three commissioners came together for the first time since the report was released in 2015.

Originally aired December 15, 2020


‘Forcibly taking Indigenous children’: Inside the world of one foster mom

First Nations child welfare agencies are assuming more responsibility each year and the numbers tell us they are repeating the same mistakes – with deadly consequences.

On this episode of InFocus we continue our look at the child welfare industry.

Originally aired December 9, 2020


A child welfare system in ‘chaos’ put InFocus

To this day no one knows the total number of Indigenous kids in care – or how many have died.

On this episode of InFocus, we’re discussing the challenges of being trapped in a system that says it exists to help families, while families say otherwise.

Originally aired December 2, 2020


Reclaiming our style – Indigenous designers celebrate sustainable and decolonized fashion

Many of us are on lockdown and even those who still have some freedom – there aren’t events to attend. There’s no reason to dress up – there’s no where to go!

But good news – Indigenous Fashion Week kicks off and surprise, you’re all invited!

We’ve got a jam-packed hour of InFocus for you – clothes, accessories, makeup – all by our people. And some wise words as we begin to think-shift away from how we have been clothing ourselves in recent decades and helping to kill the planet in the process.

Originally aired November 25, 2020


‘That’s soul food’: Celebrating our country foods on InFocus

We all have our traditional, comfort food go-to, be it salmon, or caribou, berries or soups.

On this episode of InFocus Host Melissa Ridgen, we take you on a gastronomical tour of favorites from around North America to learn and inspire.

Many of these regional foods, you can make in your own region – either old school or with a new twist.

Originally aired November 18, 2020


Using our cultural relationship to connect with and investigate the spiritual world

Have you experienced the paranormal? The Other Side is back for a new season to explore some of the scariest ghost stories.

The cast and crew join Host Melissa Ridgen on this episode of InFocus to discuss their latest investigation and share what it’s like to connect with spirits.

Originally aired November 4, 2020


Why inherent treaty rights are continually trampled in Canada

The violence towards a Mi’kmaq fishery has thrust Indigenous harvest rights into the spotlight. In this episode of InFocus we look at why inherent treaty rights are continually trampled in Canada.

Later in the episode, we’ll be looking at why fans of The Other Side are in for an epic treat this Halloween.

Originally aired October 28, 2020


What’s really behind the lobster fishery tensions in Nova Scotia

Vandalism, threats, and assault. These are just a few of the violent incidents Mi’kmaw fishers are facing in Nova Scotia.

On this episode of InFocus, we get to the heart of the issue on Mi’kmaw fishing rights and look into the rage from non-Indigenous fishers.

Originally aired October 21, 2020


The rescue of Rez dogs: The good, the bad, and the ugly

What is a rez dog? What makes it different from other dogs?

On this episode of InFocus we shine a light on rez dogs and the shady rescue organizations removing dogs from Indigenous communities and refusing to give them back.

Originally aired October 14, 2020


Winter is coming – how to stay mentally well during the dark season amid a pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on people in the eight months its had the world in its grip and First Nation, Metis and Inuit people are not excluded.

From canceled gatherings and ceremonies to feelings of panic, the grief and isolation is like nothing anyone has experienced before in this lifetime.

In our season premiere of InFocus we’re looking at the mental health and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally aired October 7, 2020

Past Episodes

Importance of Rez Radio during a pandemic

On the season finale of InFocus we’re discussing the importance of rez radio during this pandemic. We’ll get an update from a Brandon Manitoba couple who had their newborn taken on questionable grounds.

Later, we’ll be giving a shout-out to our 2020 grads!

Originally aired May 27, 2020

Dealing with COVID-19 pandemic grief

With many stressed during this new normal, join us as we put pandemic grief InFocus. Later in the show, we hear from two APTN Investigates reporters on how they discovered an untold Canadian shame.

Originally aired May 20, 2020

How COVID-19 is impacting the Navajo Nation

On this week’s InFocus: How COVID-19 is impacting the Navajo Nation; getting surplus food to First Nations in need; women, children and two-spirits at risk during the pandemic; an update from our doctors panel; and we meet the three Indigenous journalists who will be telling your stories in the Okanagan region.

Originally aired May 13, 2020

Your questions on COVID-19, answered

On this week’s InFocus we have a panel of Indigenous physicians from across the country weighing in on the COVID-19 pandemic including Dr. Marlyn Cook from Misipawistik Cree Nation in Manitoba, Dr. Dan Cutfeet from Alert Bay in B.C., Dr. James Makokis from Kehewin Cree Nation in Alberta, Dr. Veronica McKinney from Northern Health Services in Saskatchewan and Dr. Lana Potts from Siksika Nation in southern Alberta.

Originally aired May 6, 2020

Indigenous educators, kokums and parents share tips for schooling kids at home

With schools closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents have been thrust into the role of full-time teacher. On this episode of InFocus we ask how it’s going home-schooling your kids?

What tricks and resources have worked?

Originally aired April 29, 2020

How the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted CFS

Imagine the COVID-19 pandemic meant you can’t see your child any more.

That’s the reality for many parents whose children are in foster care.

We’ll talk to some including a couple who are charged with kidnapping their children from a supervised visit.

They say because they were scared to leave their children in foster care during a pandemic.

Originally aired April 22, 2020

‘The truth hasn’t been reflected until now’: APTN News celebrates 20 years

Twenty years ago this week, APTN News aired its very first newscast back then it was called InVision News.

On this episode of APTN InFocus we discuss the past two decades of the world’s first national Indigenous newscast.

Originally aired April 15, 2020

Coping with COVID: What are you doing to keep busy?

We’re three weeks into our lockdown and while some of us are going squirrely others have found fun or productive ways to pass the time in isolation.

On this episode, we’re putting coping with COVID InFocus.

We’ve got some great stuff to share with you and we want to hear from you too – what are you doing to keep busy? What tips do you have for keeping the kids entertained?

Originally aired April 8, 2020

Laughter is the best medicine so InFocus yuks it up on April fools

This April 1 episode of InFocus got appropriately foolish with some of the funniest Indigenous folks providing us with laughter.

Guests included Ryan McMahon as Clarence Two Toes, rez-humor goddess Sherry McKay, the all-female all-Indigenous comedy troupe Manifest Destiny’s Child, and up and coming comics Chad Anderson and Dakota Herbert.

The laughs kept rolling with videos by viewers, made while everyone is isolating from COVID-19.

Originally aired April 1, 2020

What’s being done in communities to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic?

As the COVID-19 pandemic grips the world, what’s being done in our communities to help?

We speak to women making a difference and have plenty of advice on how you and your loved ones – and communities – can stay safe whether you’re in a remote community or an urban centre.

Originally aired March 18, 2020

Combine traditional cultural care and cutting-edge modern medicine

Imagine a perfect world where your medical care is equal parts cutting-edge modern medicine and traditional cultural care.

Well it’s happening. And there’s a new report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal discussing how it works, what the benefits are, and how it needs to reach more care facilities, nursing stations, clinics and urban hospitals.

We’ve got a team that’s doing this, joining us to chat about how it works and how it could be implemented where you live.

Originally aired March 11, 2020

What effect could work camps have on Indigenous women once construction on CGL pipeline starts in B.C?

Ashleigh Cardinal is Cree from Goodfish Lake and has spent nine years working in the oil and gas industry.

Victoria Redsun is Dene-Cree from Barren Lands who has spent much of her life fighting the oil and gas industry.

Despite coming at it from different perspectives of the industry, both fear the effects that 14 work camps associated with the CGL pipeline will have on 20 Indigenous communities in northern B.C., particularly women and girls.

That and more on this episode of APTN InFocus.

Originally aired March 4, 2020

Wet’suwet’en conflict and solidarity actions put InFocus

APTN InFocus discussed the arrests, the media coverage, the racism, government reaction, and the broader issues in the Wet’suwet’en conflict.

We were joined by Molly Wickham, the spokesperson for Gidimt’en Access Point; Ellis Ross, the Liberal MLA for Skeena in B.C. and a former Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation; Dan David, a Mohawk journalist who was the first news director of APTN News; Sharlene Gale, the Chief of Fort Nelson First Nation in British Columbia; and Brett Forester, a reporter for APTN News.

Originally aired February 26, 2020

Breaking The Base: Reporter shares how he infiltrated a hate group

It’s a news story that’s fit for a Hollywood screenplay.

A local news reporter infiltrates a hate group, finds at least one of the recruiters is a military reservist and shortly after he blows the lid off the story. Then the reservist vanishes only to surface five months later south of the border, caught up in an FBI sting involving a terrorist cell that’s plotting a violent white revolution.

Ryan Thorpe is the Winnipeg Free Press reporter who broke the story Homegrown Hate back in June 2019.

Originally aired February 19, 2020

Who is eligible to be registered in your band and who gets do decide?

The question of who is eligible to be registered in a band – and who makes that decision is the focus of a short APTN News Perspectives series.

Correspondent Tamara Pimentel spoke to families who have children that are not included on a band’s roll for one reason or another.

There are other families who are having trouble registering their child with their bands.

Tamara shares the stories of two same sex couples who cannot get their kids registered.

Originally aired February 12, 2020

What you need to know about submitting a claim for the day school settlement

After more than a decade of waiting after the residential school survivors were compensated for being forced into compensation, many Indian day school survivors can now apply for compensation.

But Ottawa has deemed only half – about 700 schools – are eligible.

The other half – some 680 schools, sanatoriums and other facilities – they said, weren’t entirely run or funded by the Government of Canada and are excluded from the settlement.

APTN InFocus sorted through what this all means.

Originally aired February 5, 2020

Metis Infighting and over-representation of Indigenous people in prisons

During the past month, there has been a volley of shots fired back and forth between the Metis National Council and the presidents of the Metis Nation of Ontario, Metis Nation of Alberta, and Metis Nation-Saskatchewan.

Also: The “historic new highs” of Indigenous people incarcerated in Canada’s prison system comes as no surprise to Indigenous people or those who have been paying attention to the issue.

Originally aired January 29, 2020

The Legacy of Idle No More put InFocus

It was a movement like no other.

Idle No More, it would be called, was a leaderless groundswell of opposition that some say had been simmering for a while when it finally came to a boil.

In a sweeping, two-part documentary, producers, directors Tim Fontaine and Rick Harp look back on the movement; what triggered it, how it grew through social media, how it galvanized unrest, what effect it had on non-Indigenous onlookers and mainstream media, and what its legacy will be.

Originally aired January 22, 2020

What are the lessons learned from the devastating fires in Australia?

In this episode of APTN InFocus: An Indigenous fire management expert is teaching traditional forest management practices to hopefully prevent a disaster like the Australia from happening here.

And Dakota Elder and Sundance Chief Wanbdi Wakita talks about the warnings this world has ignored, but what we can do now to learn from the fires devastating Australia.

Also, we’ll discuss the second edition of Rogers Hometown Hockey in Cree on APTN.

Originally aired January 15, 2020

Lateral violence a ‘colonial hangover’ we need to heal: prof

Lateral violence is violence and bullying directed against one’s own people or peer group and is prevalent in First Nation, Inuit and Metis communities. In this episode of APTN InFocus, we discuss why it happens and what we can do to stop it.

In 1939, the Manitoba government and RM burned down the Metis community of Ste. Madeleine to make room for settler’s cattle to graze. In this episode, we meet descendants of this tragic history.

Originally aired January 8, 2020

Sagkeeng beader sees ‘her babies’ around Whoopi Goldberg’s neck on TV

Sagkeeng First Nation beader Mish Daniels saw “her babies” make a TV appearance in front of millions who watch the U.S. morning talk show The View.

Host and actor Whoopi Goldberg was wearing a red beaded jingle dress medallion on Monday’s show. She’d been gifted it during a chance run-in with MMIW advocate Connie Greyeyes.

Goldberg reportedly kept staring at Greyeyes’ medallion, which she bought from Daniels.

That and more in this episode of APTN InFocus.

Originally aired December 18, 2019

Child welfare apprehensions, birth alerts on the decline: Manitoba Families

In this episode of APTN InFocus: The province of Manitoba which has the highest rate of kids in foster care says it’s slowly changing the way the embattled system works.

According to the province, there has been a 35 per cent reduction in birth alerts issued for moms and their newborns and an 18 per cent overall reduction in the number of child apprehensions compared to 2018.

Manitoba typically has 10,000 to 11,000 kids in foster care in any given year – 90 per cent are Indigenous.

Originally aired December 11, 2019

Coping with the climate crisis: putting global health InFocus

There’s been a shift in language from global warming to climate change to climate crisis – the words people are using to talk about how humans are impacting the health of the planet have become more urgent.

While there was a back and forth with the science for decades, scientists are almost unanimous now in saying climate trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.

That and more on this episode of APTN InFocus.

Originally aired December 4, 2019

Indigenous music industry booming, study confirms

There’s little shock that Indigenous musicians are on the rise in number, reach and influence, but even long-time industry insiders had a bit of a jaw-drop when a new study revealed just how much the industry is contributing to Canada’s economy each year.

The National Indigenous Music Impact Study is the first of its kind, and was undertaken by APTN.

That and more on this episode of APTN InFocus.

Originally aired November 27, 2019

Reporting on our people: a media check-up is put InFocus

Substandard media coverage of Indigenous people or issues has been well-documented and criticized over the years but in this era of reconciliation, has it improved?

That’s the topic of this episode of APTN InFocus.

Originally aired November 20, 2019

School survivors left out of federal settlement gear up for class-action suit

Canada has apologized to and compensated residential school survivors, and years later offered to settle with day school survivors, but thousands of former students remain excluded from both despite Canada’s insistence that it’s committed to truth and reconciliation.

On this episode of APTN InFocus, we talk to residential school survivors and their thoughts on the federal settlement.

Originally aired November 13, 2019

Punking non-Indigenous communities with pipeline prank

Pipelines can be a boring and predictable back-and-forth between corporate interests and the activists that oppose them.

But what happens when the issue is tackled using elaborate pranks and hoaxes on non-Indigenous people?

That’s the tack of the satirical Indigenous Pipeline Council, whose members were guests on this episode of InFocus.

Originally aired November 6, 2019

Tricksters, shapeshifters, star people and other Indigenous legends

It’s the time of year we all love a good scare and there is no shortage of legends in our communities that’ll do just that.

We’re talking about little people — tiny pranksters who’ve inspired stories for millennia across Turtle Island.

Sasquatch — the large hairy primitive-man-like forest and mountain dweller.

Qalupalik — sea witches who steal children who get too close to Arctic waters.

As well as the warning – never whistle or sing under the northern lights.

Originally aired October 30, 2019

First order of business for 25-year-old Nunavut MP: ‘the very basics’

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, 25, is Nunavut’s new member of Parliament.

She won for the New Democrats – the first time that party has won the seat since Nunavut became a territory 20 years ago.

Qaqqaq has worked various government jobs in the territory including as an employment adviser and wellness specialist, but she’s also a well-known activist and public speaker.

That and more on this episode of APTN InFocus.

Originally aired October 23, 2019

Housing crisis not fixable under current model, but can be made worse with bad government

It’s a problem that doesn’t go away, government after government, generation after generation. There’s a housing crisis affecting too many First Nations and the problem exists off-reserve too.

On this episode, we’re putting Housing Crunch InFocus.

Is the problem getting worse? Getting better?

Originally aired October 16, 2019

Devastated parents say incentivized apprehensions need to stop in Manitoba

On the season premiere of APTN InFocus: A Brandon Manitoba family, who is in a bitter battle with Michif CFS over their five-month-old infant son, says the system is unfairly rigged against families who are forced to comply with unreasonable demands like unwarranted supervised visits.

They say if you try to fight back, you risk losing your child for good to the system.

There are 11,000 kids in care in Manitoba.

Their baby is one.

Originally aired October 9, 2019