Lisa Meeches hopes MMIWG documentary series returns to the airwaves

A documentary series that aimed to help solve the mysteries behind missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada could one day return to television.

Taken, which aired on APTN and the public broadcaster, lasted four season and more than 50 episodes.

Producer Lisa Meeches says discussions are happening now and there are hopes for renewing the series that last aired in 2019.

“The show was designed out of fear for my daughter,” says Meeches on the latest episode of Face to Face with Dennis Ward. “She’s going to be 11, next week and not much has changed, in terms of safety for our women in city centres.

“But, we’re becoming more proactive in working with the families and taking suggestions from them and how change can happen and you’re seeing the results of that.”

In addition to hosting Taken, Meeches was also the host of one of the longest running Indigenous television show in Canada. Meeches, who is Anishinaabe from Long Plain First Nation in Manitoba, got her break in television as a reporter, nearly 40 years ago.

Being one of the few Indigenous TV reporters “was intimidating” says Meeches but she had a loyal fanbase from the Dakota and Ojibway Nations around Brandon, Man.

That was bearing out in the TV ratings and Meeches was presented with the idea of having a weekly show.

“They offered me a show of my very own and I took that back to ceremony to my grandfather and my grandparents on the Rez,” says Meeches.

“He didn’t say congratulations, he said ‘you’re going to be responsible for people’s half hour, every Sunday night. What are you going to do with that and how are you going to earn that right?’ So, I thought, ‘hmm that’s not what I wanted to hear’ but nonetheless I was up for the task so he put me on a four day fast behind his house to earn the right to tell peoples stories,” says Meeches.

After the four day fast, Meeches said she breathed the biggest sigh of relief when her grandfather said “your camera is like your bundle now.”

That show, The Sharing Circle ran on TV from 1991 to 2008.

During that incredible run, Meeches helped found Eagle Vision, which has become one of the most prolific production companies with Indigenous ownership in Canada.

Eagle Vision has produced content from the Oscar-winning feature Capote, international hit TV series like Ice Road Truckers, award-winning documentaries like We Were Children and award-winning television movies like Elijah.

Elijah went on to win a Canadian Screen Award, known then as the Gemini’s.

“At the time, they couldn’t believe an Indigenous person would be a producer at a budget at that level and we were going to eat lunch at craft services and the head of craft services was telling me to go outside and eat with the extras, the extras who were playing the Chiefs in the movie,” says Meeches “My co-producing partner was standing with me and he says to the crafty, she’s the boss, she’s the lead producer on this movie. And he was so embarrassed and I remember it being that a-ha moment.”

In addition to producing numerous award-winning projects for the screen, Meeches has also been critical to the success of the Manito Ahbee Festival, which returns this weekend for it’s 19 year.

She is also a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba.

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