Canadians' changing perceptions of First Nations people as reflected in television series like Beachcombers and North of 60.
Widely sold abroad, Beachcombers and North of 60 are what many international audiences know about Canada. In Outside Looking In Mary Jane Miller traces the evolution of representations of First Nations people in fifty years of Canadian television broadcasts.
Using recent scholarship in ethnography and popular culture, Miller throws light on both what these series present and what is missing, how various long-standing issues are raised and framed differently over time, and what new issues appear. She looks at narrative arc, characterization, dialogue, and theme as well as how inflections of familiar genres like family adventure, soap opera, situation comedy, and legal drama shape both the series and viewers' expectations. Miller discusses Radisson, Forest Rangers and other children's series in the 1960s and early 1970s, as well as Beachcombers, Spirit Bay, The Rez, and North of 60 - series whose complex characters created rewarding relationships while dealing with issues ranging from addiction to unemployment to the aftermath of the residential school system.
Outside Looking In addresses the need of the non-Native society that created these programs to know what it has told itself about the culture of its first peoples. It presents a vital descriptive record of material in danger of slipping from the public consciousness - or from the national archives (as is the case with Radisson) - and provides a much-needed historical perspective for more recent aboriginal television drama and that which will be created in the future."