Where is Cleo? Taken by child welfare workers in the 1970’s and adopted in the U.S., the young Cree girl’s family believes she was raped and murdered while hitchhiking back home to Saskatchewan. CBC news investigative reporter Connie Walker joins the search to find out what really happened to Cleo.
Introducing: The Village: Season 2
Transgender women, and trans sex workers in particular, know what it means to be marginalized, overpoliced, and underprotected. In season two of The Village, host Justin Ling investigates the stories of two women, Alloura Wells and Cassandra Do, whose deaths remain unexplained, and whose cases expose the systems that failed them. More episodes are available at: smarturl.it/thevillagecbc
S2 Episode 10: Cleo’s letters
Even though it was supposed to have been destroyed in 1983, the police file documenting the investigation into Cleo’s death still exists and it contains more detail than Christine ever imagined learning about the last days, hours and even minutes of Cleo’s short life.
S2 Episode 9: Reunion
Christine travels to Pennsylvania for an emotional reunion with her brother, Johnny, who she hasn’t seen since she was a baby. Determined to get more answers about the days and weeks leading up to her sister’s death, Christine finally gets a copy of Cleo’s death certificate. That, and other documents begin to shed light on the truth she’s been seeking for decades.
S2 Episode 8: Salesperson of the year
Digging through archives in Saskatchewan, Connie makes a shocking discovery. As she investigates the controversial Adopt Indian Metis program which Cleo and her siblings were a part of, the man who started the program agrees to speak with her about its controversial origins, and legacy.
S2 Episode 7: Lillian
Connie’s chance meeting with the father who Cleo never knew is followed by new revelations about the Semaganis children’s biological mother, Lillian. A picture begins to emerge about why her children were taken, and when she joined the fight to stop the adoption of more Indigenous children into white homes.
S2 Episode 6: Little Pine
A brief encounter with someone who knew Cleo perhaps better than anyone else just before her death reveals crucial details. Connecting new facts about her life leads the investigation to a world far from where Cleo died, back to Little Pine First Nation.
I learned a lot about Intergenerational trauma within just one Cree family. I now want to find out more, Very knowledgeable and gripping.
2 stars for teaching me something
As a big true crime fan who enjoys diving deep into stories (Counterclock and the Pelley family murders, i.e.), this podcast far from satisfies me. The only reason I do not give one star is because Connie Walker does a good job of teaching and exposing the Canadian residential school system, something I knew very little about. I appreciated that she connected this heartbreaking unsolved murder to the historical context.
Otherwise, this podcast is highly flawed. Each episode is too long and contains information repeated over and over and over ad nauseum. It felt unedited as if every second of every call and interview was dumped carelessly as if everything being said was crucial. Thank you for giving a voice to the family, but there is so much crap that needs to be cut.
Besides that, this podcast exploits so many characters. The accusatory bias towards Jack Little is felt in the first seconds of episode 1 and is unrelenting throughout. Listeners are biased from minute one. Connie Walker often accosts the people she interviews, going so far as to crash a funeral to get an interview. It seems haphazard and more like a high school journalist grasping at straws.
For a CBC podcast, I expected something far more professional. I do not see myself listening to season 2 ever and will never listen to another Walker production.
This podcast is so beautifully done. The compassion with how Connie investigated and covered this sensitive topic is so palpable. I am amazed at the siblings’ resilience. I absolutely loved this!