September 9, 2022
By Emilie Derkson-Poirier, APTN Communications Assistant, and Marie-Ève Caron, APTN Communications Coordinator
“It’s important to bring the truth out into the open.
Because the truth is a doorway to healing.”
– Madeleine Basile, Survivor of the Pointe-Bleue residential school
This fall, APTN is offering a host of powerful new shows by, for and about Indigenous Peoples to viewers across Canada. APTN’s fall programming, airing from September to January, continues to amplify Indigenous voices and stories that spark meaningful conversations in our communities. While APTN’s diverse and original content is available in English, French and a variety of Indigenous languages, our fall 2022 programming sets itself apart with Pour toi, Flora, a new drama series airing solely in French. Premiering on November 7, the series will also be available for streaming on APTN lumi on November 8.
Pour toi, Flora examines the bitter legacy of the residential school system, the tremendous resilience of children who were uprooted from their homes and the traumas experienced by Survivors and their loved ones. Inspired by real-life accounts, Pour toi, Flora unfolds over six one-hour episodes and illustrates how Indigenous families can come together even after being torn apart. The series follows two Anishinaabe children, Kiwedin and Wabikoni, who are taken from their family in the 1960s and sent to the Saint-Marc-de-Figuery residential school in Quebec. In the parallel present timeline, two Survivors try to come to terms with their painful past.
This represents the first time that the heavy colonial legacy of residential schools has been brought to the screen, aside from in news programming or documentaries. “Sharing such an important story with francophone audiences is an honour but also a huge responsibility,” said the production team for Pour toi, Flora. Acknowledging this cultural genocide constitutes one step further towards healing and reconciliation, but the fact remains that repercussions are still being felt today.
“As an intergenerational Survivor of the residential school system, I am acutely aware of the impact these schools have on the lives of thousands of people. I am the exact outcome that the government desired when it created residential schools: I am an assimilated Indigenous person. Fifty years after my grandfather was sent to a residential school, my family is just beginning to heal and reconnect with their identity. The goal of this series is not to accuse audiences or to make them feel guilty, but to provide them with some clarity about the darkest chapter in this country’s history. I believe that if the non-Indigenous population could better imagine and feel what so many children experienced in residential schools, they would better understand current circumstances and we would be able to build stronger bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. That way, we could bear the pain together and walk a shared path towards reconciliation. But in order to reconcile, one must first understand.” (approximate translation)
– Sonia Bonspille Boileau (writer, director and producer of Pour toi, Flora)