One-Hour Dramatic Television Pilot
A fire at the Blackstone Reserve sets the stage, claiming the life of three band members. The suspicious circumstances of the tragedy compel bandmember Victor Merasty to turn his focus from videotaping the band’s history and cultural traditions to using his camera to document the reserve’s entrenched ‘culture’ of corruption.
Bandmember Leona Stoney lives off-reserve, by choice; an addictions counselor in the city, she removed herself from the vicious cycle of dependency that is reserve life…but continues to do follow-up work on the reserve and visits her family who is still there--her sister Gail, and her niece Natalie.
Unanswered questions about the real cause and purpose of the fire lead to an occupation of the Band Office. Chief Andy Fraser attempts to quash the allegations by holding a Band Meeting reporting the results of the official fire investigation, which exonerate him.
Having watched the news report of the occupation Leona returns to Blackstone for the Band Meeting. During her visit to Blackstone, while at Gail’s, Leona takes note of the telltale signs of Natalie’s continuing gas-sniffing habit. Gail has a serious alcohol addiction and Leona can’t help but judge Gail for the poor example she is setting for Natalie.
Blackstone appears to be a grim but realistic look at life on a troubled rez. As opposed to, say, SCALPED, which goes way over the top in its depiction of murder, crime, and gang warfare.
Whether the series continues to be this conflict-oriented or adds uplifting human elements to the mix remains to be seen. A purely negative portrayal could become stereotypical.
Blackstone's cast includes Carmen Moore, Nathaniel Arcand, Eric Schweig, Gordon Tootoosis, and Michelle Thrush. So it seems to be an A-list Native production.
But not all pilots get aired, of course. This one looks controversial enough that APTN and other networks may hesitate to air it.
For more on the subject, see TV Shows Featuring Indians.