This is such a complex inquiry, at its core a story of tremendous loss, dislocation, institutionalized racism; but at its heart a story of a little girl, separated from a loving family who sought to find her, to learn her life, and to be reunited.
What happened to Cleo is interwoven with a shameful part of Canadian history and Canada’s fraught relationship with its First Nation peoples.
The narrative begins with a shred of harrowing, uncorroborated information: That, in 1978, 13-year-old Cleo was raped, murdered, and left by an Arkansas roadway. This was the central myth of Cleo’s fate, passed through her siblings, all of whom were taken from their Cree mother by the Canadian government and subsequently separately adopted out to families in North America.
But the true fate of Cleo is something entirely different, and just as tragic. With cooperation of Cleo’s siblings, this CBC investigative reporter, a Cree herself, sensitively and emphatically, doggedly pursues every twist and turn to this case until arriving at the truth.
This is riveting drama, and with each episode, the listener comes to link arms with Cleo’s siblings, virtually knowing them, following their quest to solve the mystery of their lost sister.
Great reportage, superb podcast.