Canada’s “Moccasin Flats” Returns for a Third Season

The sex scenes between Amanda and her conquests are brief–not unexpected given the half-hour length of each episode–but they're explicit enough that the viewer is assured that Constable Strongeagle shares more than warm hugs and chaste kisses with her girlfriends and that the epithet flung at her by a spurned conquest, Constable Spreadeagle, is well-deserved.

Previews of the upcoming season describe Amanda as being “too wrapped up in her complicated love life” to show her normal concern for the well-being of her community.

The fact that Constable Strongeagle is a lesbian is no big deal for the residents of “the Flats.” Even though her sexual behavior has caused her no small amount of grief, none of the drama in Constable Strongeagle's life is rooted in her sexual orientation per se. Racism appears to have been much more of an obstacle in her life than homophobia.

In fact, all three lesbians on the program–Amanda, the police officer, Laura, the social worker and Deb, the intern– could certainly be viewed as role models for the young people of Moccasin Flats.

The all-Native cast comprises a mixture of first-time actors (Candace Fox as Candy; Landon Mantour as Jonathan; Mathew Strongeagle as Matthew Merasty and rap artist, Ron Harris aka Os Twelve as Red) alongside established actors Tantoo Cardinal (‘Betty'), Gordon Tootoosis (‘Joe') and Michelle Thrush (‘Laura').

Andrea Menard, a multitalented performer of Métis heritage–a First Nations group comprised of the descendants of offspring from the union of Aboriginals and European settlers early in Canada 's history–plays the sexy, complicated Constable Amanda Strongeagle.

In addition to distinguishing herself as a film, TV and stage actress, Menard has earned a reputation as a jazz singer of note in Canada (in addition to recording two solo albums, she contributed the song ‘If I Were A Man" to the Season 4 Queer As Folk soundtrack) and as a playwright, having written and performed in the one-woman production, The Velvet Devil, which tells the story of a Métis singer in the 1940's who makes her way home after running away to the big city as a young girl.

Moccasin Flats has been touted as a ground-breaking series in Canada for its depiction of the realities of life for inner city native youth as well as for its involvement of Aboriginal artists at all levels of the show's production–acting, writing, directing and its incisive rap soundtrack. For all its gritty reality, there is a subtext of hope running through the program.

Young people in the direst of circumstances are shown picking up the shattered pieces of their lives and making a future for themselves, even if there are some failures along the way: Candy has left the street and drugs behind and become an outreach worker, but the greater profit to be made from crystal meth lures Jonathan away from his fledging nutritional supplement business and places himself and his family in great danger.

If the eight episodes of Moccasin Flats' third season maintain the grit and drama of previous seasons, the series will continue to be too raw for network TV. But at least cable will continue to provide Canadians with a vision of strong but human lesbian characters.

Moccasin Flats airs on APTN on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and on Showcase on Tuesdays.

More information on the program can be found at moccasinflats.com and more information on Andrea Menard is available at her website.

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