When Justin Brake saw Come From Away, one scene — about his own family — would change his life forever.

The Newfoundlander

Hosted by Justin Brake

When reporter Justin Brake saw the hit Broadway musical Come From Away, he watched in astonishment as the actors on stage sang a song that would change his life forever. It was about his grandfather, and purported to reveal that his entire family history was a lie. This sent him on a quest for answers about who the Brakes really are. What he learned not only drove a wedge between Justin and his family — it put him in opposition to a new story of shared Indigenous ancestry that is being embraced by tens of thousands of people across Newfoundland and beyond.

Illustration by Jay White

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The Newfoundlander: Chapter 3

In the final chapter of The Newfoundlander, Justin meets a distant Brake relative of the same age — someone who asked a lot of the same questions he did, but ended up in a very different place.
November 14, 2023

The Newfoundlander: Chapter 2

Starting in the early 2000s, the federal government allowed for the creation of a new First Nations band in Newfoundland, the Qalipu First Nation. Many people from across the province joined, including Justin Brake and his family. But, did they have a legitimate claim to Indigenous ancestry?
November 7, 2023

The Newfoundlander: Chapter 1

While at a production of the hit Broadway musical Come From Away in 2019, reporter Justin Brake is confronted with an old story about his family’s history, a story that challenges his sense of identity. He decides to find out what was true in that story, and what was false.
October 30, 2023
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