“I was personally very emotionally moved by watching this documentary,” he told reporters in a January 25 conference call wrapping up the Crown–First Nations Gathering of the day before. “It’s like, Wow, we see ourselves reflected back in mainstream society.”
He said that this is the kind of awareness that First Nations are trying to cultivate within Canada’s mainstream, especially in governmental and policy-making circles.
“How do we bottle that and make that be what we have for the entire nation all the time, an understanding being developed?” he said.
8th Fire: Aboriginal Peoples, Canada & the Way Forward runs on CBC at 9 p.m. for two more episodes. The four-part series started airing January 12 and continues through February 2. It’s hosted by rapper, musician and CBC journalist Wab Kinew, from the Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation in Northern Ontario, and features the rap group Winnipeg’s Most, among many other aboriginals of both celebrity and regular “civilian” status. This brought to mind something else, too, for Atleo.
“It also triggers in me something I can’t explain or articulate every well, and that is the role of our artist community or spiritual leaders,” he said, explaining that work of advancing rights and getting the word out about aboriginal life “is going to be led by the artistic and spiritual community, which in our ways are never disconnected from our forms of government that we’ve had throughout history.”
He called the documentary “very very powerful.”