Little Bird (2023) Series: Disturbing Native American Tale

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Little Bird is about a tragic subject. So, it tells heart-breaking Natives’ tales about the infamous Sixties Scoop, which destroyed a lot of Indigenous families in Canada.

Moreover, this controversial government policy ruined the lives of many young Native kids in North America. In a way, this realistic story is based on the Canadian (and the USA too) Government policy. This administrative program separated the Indigenous children from their families forcibly, in real life.

Synopsis (official summary) of the Little Bird (2023) Mini-Series

It explores universal themes of resilience in the face of trauma and loss. Removed from her home in Long Pine Reserve in Saskatchewan, Bezhig (Darla Contois) is adopted into a Montréal Jewish family at the age of five, becoming Esther Rosenblum (Darla Contois). Now in her 20s, Bezhig longs for the family she lost and is willing to sacrifice everything to find them.

Her search lands her in the Canadian prairies, worlds apart from everything she knows. As she begins to track down her siblings, she unravels the mystery behind her adoption, and discovers that her apprehension was connected to a racist government policy now known as the Sixties Scoop. Bezhig’s sense of identity shatters and she is forced to reckon with who she is and who she wants to become.

Bell Media

Focus on the meaning of the “Sixties Scoop” term

In this controversial policy, the young children of the Native Communities were taken away from their families by government-backed agencies. These kids were forcibly snatched and removed from their birth families. When they mention Northern America, they mean that this vile policy was implemented in both the USA and Canada. Thus, this shameful policy adversely hurt at least a few generations of the Native American community. It is a heart-wrenching piece of history indeed.

The Indigenous Foundation of North America has described the “Sixties Scoop” here.

The Sixties Scoop refers to the time period, primarily throughout the 1960s when Indigenous children were taken or “scooped away” from their birth families and communities, usually without the consent of their family and band. The term was coined by Patrick Johnson in his 1983 report on Indigenous children in the Child Welfare system. Throughout the 1960s and onwards, many Indigenous children were taken from their communities and adopted into predominantly white, middle class families throughout North America.

The Sixties Scoop occurred not because the government was genuinely concerned for the wellbeing of Indigenous children, but primarily as an extension of the racist policies against Indigenous communities meant to assimilate Indigenous children into Western society and strip them from their culture and communities.

Sixties Scoop | The Indigenous Foundation

Spoilers Free review of the Little Bird (2023) Mini-Series

It is a sad, depressing, moving, and emotional story about the said government policy that adversely affected the Indigenous Native communities of North America. In other words, it is about the systematic destruction and forcible loss in the lives of Indigenous people, specifically the native American families.

So, what is the basic plotline?

Using her unfathomable power of resilience, an Indigenous woman Bezhig (Darla Contois) seeks the truth about her long-lost and forgotten birth family – parents as well as siblings. Thus, this mini-series explores the two timelines – the first one tells us about when Bezhig was an 8-year-old kid and the second one depicts when she grows up to be a young woman in her twenties and starts looking for her real family and her tribal roots.

It is a riveting drama that makes you emotional and teary-eyed, as she uncovers the harsh realities of the powerful government policies and the tragic fate of her own family.

Here one gets to take a closer look at the acts of injustice being meted out to the native communities by the government, even though the colonial era is supposedly over.

About the devastating scooped-away policy

And the scooping-away incidents are comparatively the less-talked-about tragedies of recent times in these modern democracies. Even with a rule of law and democratic governments in place. Such powerful tales inspired by real-life incidents perhaps herald a fresh beginning in their lives. Maybe, it can start the healing process in the lives of Native communities of North America.

After watching this slice of recent true happenings from North America in this Mainstream mini-series, we realized the common fate of Indigenous people.

Familiar experiences of the Indigenous communities

Although they are living in different nations around the world, they have familiar experiences of extreme exploitation and gross human rights violations. Most of these shameful acts are carried out by the dominant set of non-indigenous people, most often backed by the governments. Despite such large-scale acts of abuse, crime, prejudice, discrimination, injustice and oppression; the Indigenous Native societies survive.

Thus, these Indigenous communities live to tell their tales not only in North America but in different nations around the world.

Its creators – Jennifer Podemski & Hannah Moscovitch

Kudos to both the creators of this series – Jennifer Podemski and Hannah Moscovitch for creating a powerful and emotive piece of drama, that touches and breaks one’s heart. It portrays the historical period between the 1960s and 1980s in North America, so it has to get lots of facts right – people, culture, costumes, music, lifestyle, et al; and it did so admirably.

About its shooting locations, actors and the conclusion

It was filmed in and around Winnipeg and Brokenhead Ojibway Nation on Treaty 1 territory and in Sioux Valley Dakota Nation on Treaty 2 territory to get the settings of this story right.

With a powerful story, its main lead played by Darla Contois (Bezhig), the other cast members – Keris Hope Hill (Young Bezhig), Osawa Muskwa (Morris), Ellyn Jade (Patti), Imajyn Cardinal (Dora), Braeden Clarke (Leo), Joshua Odjick (Niizh), Lisa Edelstein (Golda Rosemblum); all of them splendid acting performances to tell us this evocative story in a sensitive manner.

We had tears in my eyes as we watched this poignant and heart-wrenching story. The efforts of all the people involved with this mini-series must be applauded graciously.

It is a mainstream TV drama that fearlessly tackles the shameful history of forcibly removing Indigenous kids from their families as part of the “Sixties Scoop” policy. For an empathic and compassionate person, then it is one of the best series of 2023, that you can watch this year. This is perfect for a watch, in case you like realistic indigenous tales.

Ratings of this 2023 Mini-Series about the “Sixties Scoop” policy

FM’s rating 4.25/5
IMDb rating as of the date7.80/10
FM & IMDb ratings – Little Bird (2023) series.

Poster of the Little Bird (CA/2023) Mini-Series

Little Bird (CA/2023) series – poster.

Key details of this 2023 Mini-Series about the “Sixties Scoop” policy

ReleasedMay-June 2023
SeasonOne (1)
EpisodesSix (6)
CreatorsHannah Moscovitch & Jennifer Podemski
CastDarla Contois, Keris Hope Hill, Osawa Muskwa, Imajyn Cardinal, Braeden Clarke, Joshua Odjick, Lisa Edelstein, Ellyn Jade, Michelle Thrush, etc.
AwardAudience Award Prize at the 2023 SERIES MANIA Festival in Lille, France,
About – Little Bird (2023) series.

Trailer of the Little Bird (CA/2023) Mini-Series

Trailer – Little Bird (2023) series.

Focus on the Na’kuset’s true story that inspired this show

Na’kuset S is the Executive Director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montréal. She is a Cree from Lac la Ronge, Saskatchewan. In her real life, she was adopted by a Jewish family in Montreal, so she draws on her adoptee experience in her advocacy work for Indigenous children in care. Her personal story inspired this series.

On this day, let’s remember Canada’s historical “strategy” towards Indigenous peoples via Kent Monkman’s painting…and the implications that continue to this day.

Na’kuset | Twitter (X)

Focus on the Native American actor Keris Hope Hill

The 8-year-old actress Keris played the role of the main protagonist Bezhig in this show. She portrayed her life as a young kid when she was separated from her loving Native family.

At only 8 years old, Keris Hope Hill is already pure magic onscreen.

Little Bird | IG

Focus on the Native American actor Darla Contois

The young actress Darla played the role of the main protagonist Bezhig in this show, as she depicted her life as a lawyer, who was separated from her loving Native family and then tried to find them.

Darla Contois is a Cree-Saulteaux playwright from whose home community is Grand Rapids Cree Nation.

Liitle Bird | Twitter (X)

If you like the Native American series, then you can also watch the Dark Winds and Reservation Dogs series.

Featured & Other Images: Little Bird | Crave Canada & IMDb.

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