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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


August 23, 2003 - Issue 94


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Cowboys and Indians:
The Killing of J.J. Harper


TORONTO - Producers Eric Jordan and Jeremy Torrie are pleased to announce the premiere of the powerful television movie, Cowboys and Indians. Produced through a unique partnership between Cowboys and Indians and CBC, Cowboys and Indians will air on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network APTN on Friday October 3 at 9 p.m. (EDT), preceded and followed by a special edition of the live national phone-in show, Contact, which will focus on the issues surrounding the death of J.J. Harper. The CBC debut of Cowboys and Indians will be on Sunday, October 5 at 8 p.m., (EDT).

"The story of J.J. Harper is a tragedy. I would hope that in telling the story, Canadians realize that the relationship between the "Cowboys and the Indians" must change if justice for all is ever to prevail in Canada", says Jean LaRose, CEO, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

Cowboys and Indians stars Adam Beach (Windtalkers, Smoke Signals) as J.J. Harper, Eric Schweig (Skins, Last of the Mohicans) as J.J.ís half-brother, Harry Wood, Currie Graham (E.R., 24) as Constable Robert Cross, Garry Chalk (Cold Squad, The Outer Limits) as Inspector Ken Dowson, and Gordon Tootoosis (Big Bear, Legends of the Fall) as James Harper, J.J.ís father.

Thanks to the extraordinary performances of the cast, led by Adam Beach, this compelling drama reveals both the Native and the police side of the story in exceptional depth, with genuine compassion for the very real people involved, says Producer Eric Jordan.

Cowboys and Indians: The Killing of J.J. Harper tells the powerful story behind the 1988 shooting of Manitoba Native leader John Joseph Harper by Winnipeg Police Constable Robert Cross, and the struggle to uncover the truth behind the police cover-up of the facts. This startling event shocked the nation. Protests from the Native community led to the establishment of the Manitoba Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, which revealed an
extensive cover-up by Winnipeg police. On the day he was to testify, Inspector Ken Dowson, the officer who coordinated the cover-up, committed suicide, compounding the tragedy. The film explores, through characters on both sides of the divide, the often painful relationship between Native and Non-Native peoples in Canada today.

Directed by acclaimed Winnipeger Norma Bailey (The Sheldon Kennedy Story, For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down) and written by Andrew Rai Berzins (Scorn, Chasing Cain), the film is based on the award-winning book, Cowboys and Indians: The Shooting of J.J. Harper, written by Winnipeg Free Press columnist Gordon Sinclair Jr. The producers are Eric Jordan (The Planet of Junior Brown, The Arrow, Life With Billy) of The Film Works and Jeremy Torrie of High Definition Pictures.

This story is about a man who died for a reason, for the greater good of Native people across Canada. The story of his killing and its cover-up has become a touchstone for relations between Natives and Non-Natives, says Producer Jeremy Torrie.

Cowboys and Indians is produced by The Film Works Ltd. and High Definition Pictures in association with APTN and CBC, with the participation of Telefilm Canada, Canadian Television Fund License Fee Program, Manitoba Film & Sound Recording Development Corporation, CanWest Western Independent Producers Fund, the Government of Canada, Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program, the Government of Manitoba Manitoba Film and Sound Tax Credit Program and the Government of Ontario Ontario Film or Video Production Tax Credit Program.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

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