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Review: The Ultimate TV Series on Indigenous Resistance - VICELAND's ‘RISE’

A MUST SEE! VICELAND's RISE is a phenomenal new TV series directed by Michelle Latimer (Métis/Algonquin) and hosted by Sarain Fox (Anishinabe)

VICELAND's RISE is a phenomenal new TV series directed by Michelle Latimer (Métis/Algonquin) and hosted by Sarain Fox (Anishinabe) that highlights the Indigenous resistance movement in Native communities. RISE has been running for the past few weeks on the In-your-face media cable network VICELAND.

VICELAND'S RISE Premieres on VICELAND - Courtesy VICELAND - Artist Cheyenne Randall


VICELAND'S RISE was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival, and premiered there in January to raves.

Latimer and VICELAND have received laudatory press worldwide with features in such publications in the New York Times, Variety and more.

The first two episodes showcase the struggles faced by Native youth and #NoDAPL water protectors at the front lines of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the third episode highlights struggles faced in the Apache Territory and the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona community in which Oak Flat, a nationally-protected sacred site, was handed over to a subsidiary of the world’s largest mining company, Rio Tinto.

Series Review:

VICELAND’S RISE is the best contemporary indigenous Television series I have ever seen and Michelle Latimer is one of the most talented filmmakers I have ever seen.

Water Protectors. Cantapeta Creek, North Dakota. Credit - VICELAND

Water Protectors. Cantapeta Creek, North Dakota.

From the start of the series, I was engaged. The music, the editing, the filmmaking, the visual effects were so engrossing, I was transported to the front lines of Standing Rock and listening in on discussions at the Sacred Stone camp.

Latimer’s storytelling is pure, real and raw. It inspires, uplifts and evokes real emotion.

I laughed, I cried and felt outrage. I felt empowered and excited, and also sickened and frustrated at the reality of the struggles faced by our indigenous elders and youth.

Oceti Sakowin Camp. Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Credit - VICELAND

Oceti Sakowin Camp. Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

I felt inspired to take action.


Phenomenal indigenous stories from an indigenous perspective.

Filmmaker Michelle Latimer and Sarain Fox. Two indigenous female role models of 'RISE.' Photo Courtesy VICELAND

Filmmaker Michelle Latimer and Sarain Fox. Two indigenous female role models of 'RISE.'

Director Michelle Latimer was approached by Eddie Moretti, who is one of the owners of VICE. He thought Latimer would have the best voice for this series. It was a brilliant decision and partnership.

Latimer’s perspective is one of respect and de-stereotyping the indigenous plight. The viewer will be forced to reconcile that Native people are human, not a stereotype.

It is more than apparent that Latimer, Fox and VICELAND are holding the stories sacred and presenting them in the best possible light.

Sarain Fox is hopeful, insightful and charismatic.

RISE host Sarain Fox is a host with a gentle spirit and genuine inquisitiveness that does not impose on others. She speaks with real feeling and an air of respect to elders as well as youth.

She inspires hope to influence action, her questions are insightful and she maintains a strong presence on screen.

Some descriptive adjectives: raw, gut-wrenching, brilliant, breathtaking, pure cinematic documentary perfection.

The adjectives explain themselves. The filming is raw to the point of gasping out loud during some instances of filming. Many people will assuredly exclaim, “I didn’t know the struggle was this real for Native people.”

I felt punched in the gut when Native girls spoke of their fears regarding man-camps surrounding oil fields in the Bakken areas that targeted Native girls to assault. I marveled at the beauty of images of Native resistance, felt awestruck at the beauty of Native territories and felt to myself, “this is pure cinematic documentary perfection.”

In my opinion, your life’s perspective will change from watching VICELAND's RISE.

VICELAND’s RISE can be accessed on cable TV, Fridays at 9pm. The VICELAND website offers the first two episodes (on Standing Rock) for free and with no cable log-in. Additionally, some episodes will be available on YouTube.

RISE is produced by VICE Studio Canada, in partnership with Rogers Media and APTN.

Follow Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) - ICMN’s Arts and Entertainment, Pow Wows and Sports Editor - Follow @VinceSchilling