A Manitoba filmmaker
of Ojibwa heritage is set to join the Order of Canada in recognition
of her contributions to Canadian film and broadcasting.
Lisa Meeches, 52, is the only Manitoban among 61 recipients, announced
by Rideau Hall on Wednesday. Meeches, who was born and raised on
Long Plain First Nation near Portage la Prairie, calls herself a
"storyteller and a story keeper."
Ojibwa filmmaker Lisa
Meeches was born and raised on Long Plain First Nation, near
Portage. (photo by Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press files)
She joked that when Rideau Hall called, she thought the Governor
General was getting in touch with her to vouch for someone else.
"I started crying, I couldn't believe someone would think that
highly of me to nominate me for such an award," she said.
Meeches has worn many hats: some may recognize her as the host
of the former television series Sharing Circle, or the founder
of Eagle Vision, a production company with an impressive list of
credits, including Academy Award winner Capote and the popular
History Channel series Ice Road Truckers. Much of her work
focuses on the trauma and impact of colonialism. She hosted Taken,
a television series that ran for four seasons, which investigated
cases of missing and slain Indigenous women in Canada, and produced
We Were Children, a 2012 documentary about residential schools.
"I thought, 'This needs to be accepted on behalf of all of those
stories, all of the hurt, all of the shoulders I've stood on for
my entire career,'" she said. "I will accept this award for them."
From the start of her career, keeping Indigenous communities central
to her work has been a priority for Meeches. After studying broadcasting
in North Dakota, she returned to Manitoba to work with Winnipeg-based
Native Media Network, and later as a news reporter for Craig Broadcasting
Systems in Brandon and Alberta, where she created a team that would
connect the newsroom to surrounding First Nations communities.
Today, she takes pride in mentoring Indigenous youth, whom she
calls the "eaglettes," through Eagle Vision.
"We have something quite magical going on, and it allows us the
opportunity to train Indigenous youth and take risks other companies
wouldn't be able to take with Indigenous youth," she said. "I'm
I know how to do this. It's natural for me
I'm an auntie to over 100 adopted nieces and nephews from the program."
She received the Order of Manitoba in 2017, the National Aboriginal
Achievement Award for Media and Communication in 2007 and the University
of Manitoba's Excellence in Aboriginal Business Leadership Award
Meeches continues to run Eagle Vision and serves as the executive
director of Manito Ahbee Festival. She took on a new challenge in
July she returned home, to a piece of land eight kilometres
from Long Plain First Nation, to a property she's named "Medicine
Hat First Nation" after her daughter. The "real test," she said,
has been "earning" her place in the local community.
"This is my dream come true in my life, to come back here and rest
my brain and my spirit so I can finish the last part of my journey
here on Earth," she said. "I'm just now scratching the surface of
how explosive my career had become."
More than 7,000 Canadians have received the Order of Canada since
its inception in 1967. This year's recipients will be honoured at
a ceremony at an undetermined date.
Malak Abas - Winnipeg Free Press Reporter - City