Mohawk Girls — created and directed by Tracey Deer — is the first TV comedy series ever made in Kahnawake.
The show premieres next Tuesday on APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network).
The TV series takes a humorous look at the lives of four women in their 20s trying to stay true to their roots and still find love. It’s kind of like Sex in the City — but instead of being set in New York, it’s filmed in Kahnawake.
Deer says dating is complicated for Mohawk girls.
“Coming from a very small pool, we all want love, connection, but when you’re related to half the people there and the other half has dated your sister, and your cousin, and your aunt — you’re really left with not a lot of choices,” she says.
Deer used to teach drama at a summer camp in Kahnawake. She says she wrote the series with some of those campers in mind, including lead actresses Heather White and Brittany LeBorgne.
“I was a young girl who wanted to be a filmmaker and I ended up telling [the campers] one day I'm gonna make a TV show and you girls are gonna star in it," she says.
"We all have a good laugh about the fact that it’s actually happening.”
'Authentic' series aims for universal appeal
Producer Christina Fon from Rezolution Pictures says the show has universal appeal.
“APTN thinks Mohawk Girls will change the way Canadian audiences see native people,” Fon says.
The series' first season will air across Canada starting this Sunday and will be broadcast in English and Mandarin. There's also international interest from US distributor GRB.
Despite all of the buzz, Deer worries about how members of the Mohawk community will react once they see themselves on television Tuesday night.
"You know for so long we haven’t been properly represented in the media and that has been a big gripe and I’m a bit worried that I’m putting out a show that is very authentic to the experience of my people," she says.
"I’m afraid the opposite criticism is going to come. People might say that’s our business, it’s private and shouldn’t be shared."
The 13-episode half-hour comedy premieres on Sunday, Nov. 23 on OMNI 1 and on Tuesday, Nov. 25 on APTN.