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Calgary-filmed series Tribal mixes Indigenous storytelling with police procedural – SaltWire Network

Partway through the first season of the new Calgary-shot police series, Tribal, an investigation leads the show’s two mismatched protagonists into the tragic world of missing Indigenous people.

It was perhaps an inevitable topic for the series to tackle. Tribal, which debuts on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network on Feb. 20, mixes a police procedural with Indigenous storytelling, offering a traditional crime-of-the-week structure but setting it in a larger context of social issues that impact modern First Nations people. Alberta-based creator Ron E. Scott is best-known as the formidable force behind Blackstone, a harrowing drama that took an unflinching, five-season look at racism, corruption, addiction and abuse on a fictional reserve in Alberta. So it’s hardly surprising that Tribal would dive into some similarly topical waters designed to touch a national nerve.

The episode about missing Indigenous people was certainly emotional for lead actress Jessica Matten, who portrays the tough, if slightly green, head of the Tribal Police Force, Samantha Woodburn. Matten’s mother, Therese Ducharme, is a Metis activist who worked for the Native Women’s Association of Canada and was part of the Sisters in Spirit team that worked with the families of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

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