Krista Cyr

Jesse Fraser is one 16-year-old native youth who knows her cultural background from growing up in Nunavut. 

Torontonian Matt Bernard is an 18-year-old who recently realized his Metis family history.

Together, they are are hosts of The Link, a new show that aims to connect young native viewers with their roots.

Broadcast from Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN), each episode challenges viewers to find a common theme that links three music videos. 

When soft-spoken Fraser tries to teach Bernard how to throat sing, the chemistry between the two hosts is undeniable. Fraser tries his best to do what his co-host has already perfected and the audience loves it. 

Bernard’s enthusiasm to learn more about native cultures, combined with self-deprecating humour, makes the show less an educational program and more an entertaining treat. 

“I’m honored to be considered a good role model for aboriginal youth,” says Fraser.

“I think that there are so many things we take advantage of to be successful and not many people are doing what I have done on the show, it feels good to show them that they can.”

Both hosts agree on their favorite show of the season was when Fraser gave Bernard a literal taste of his history.

With raw foods such as Caribou and bison, Bernard was that Fraser brought in for him to try. 

“It was interesting to try that because I am a picky eater,” says Bernard, who says the best part of that show is that it let him be himself. 

“I got to do a lot of things myself and I could adjust the script to say how I would, as long as I got to the point.”

As much as fun as the hosts have, the show also tackles serious issues like drug abuse, abortion and suicide in cultural context.

The Link focuses on the growth of kids trying to recapture youth and culture to understand who they are and where they come from,” says producer Jane Hawtin.

Hawtin says she hopes the show is entertaining and educational, without being preachy.

“The show has succeeded because it is fun, entertaining and moving.  It hits an emotional chord with kids.”