Wiikwemkoong youths host two episodes of TVO series

Hope Eshkibok introduces herself in this screenshot from the new season of Raven’s Quest, a TVO series that showcases the lives of Indigenous children across Canada.

WIIKWEMKOONG – Two Wiikwemkoong youths, nine-year-old Javier Salas-Cooper and 11-year-old Hope Eshkibok, are set to be featured in the new season of the award-winning children’s TV show ‘Raven’s Quest’ which airs Mondays on TVOkids.

“I’m very excited to see myself on TV,” said Javier, who has already seen a preview of his episode. “I liked the part when we went running in the forest.”

Javier, who lives in Buzwah, told The Expositor he was happy that the show allowed him to highlight his talents and favourite activities, such as cross country running, drawing, coin collecting, fishing, dancing and sewing with his grandmother. 

One of the items Javier shares with viewers is his boys’ traditional regalia, handmade by his mother. He was especially proud of his bustle that features eagle and hawk feathers.

Hope’s episode centres around her Three Sisters garden where she showcases her prized crops of corn, beans and squash. She also takes viewers on a trip to the Wiikwemkoong Fall Fair where she likes to enter her vegetables in the annual contest. 

Hope introduces viewers to her friends while they complete some crafts, and shares stories about hoop dancing at powwows. She took home first and second place for her gourds at the fair and then shows viewers her harvesting process with her father, Richard Ashley Manitowabi.

There are 20 cast members and 20 episodes for this second season of ‘Raven’s Quest,’ each of which run for seven minutes and premiere Mondays at 8:30 am. Repeats can be seen on Thursdays at 3:45 pm and Saturdays at 1:50 pm. Both Hope and Javier’s episodes have also been posted on the TVO website and on its YouTube channel, ‘TVOKids’.

“We’re passionate about sharing young people’s perspectives and the kids who share their passions with us this season on ‘Raven’s Quest’ are exceptional,” said Jonathan Finkelstein, the president of Apartment 11, the company that co-produced ‘Raven’s Quest 2’ alongside TVOkids. ‘Raven’s Quest’ recently received an award of excellence for best live-action, non-scripted show for an audience aged six to nine from the Youth Media Alliance.

In every episode, the featured child shares a word from their native tongue. Hope’s word in Anishinaabemowin was gitigaan, which means garden. Javier shared the word zhibiige, which means draw. 

This show offers a new chance for Indigenous youth across Canada and beyond to discover a newfound appreciation for their heritage and express that passion for viewers.

“I’m proud of my Mexican and Ojibwe heritage. My dad’s awesome; he always speaks Mexican,” said Javier.

Hope’s episode premiers on July 1 and Javier’s episode premiers on July 15, both at 8:30 am.