BY DUCK PATERSON
For a Ladysmith podcaster and TV host, it’s “amazing” to have an award-winning show.
Tchadas Leo talked to the Chronicle about Our Native Land, an Indigenous-focused podcast and TV show that he produces and hosts on Chek TV.
In November, Our Native Land was honoured as the Most Outstanding Indigenous Podcast Series at the Canadian Podcast Awards in Toronto.
“If you would have told me two years ago that I was going to say that, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Leo said.
Our Native Land explores many aspects of First Nations culture, personalities, foods and all things Indigenous on the Island and around the world.
“Being the host of such a program gives me an opportunity to have fun interviews with Indigenous leaders and down-to-Earth folks about their life and times, along with the past,” Leo said. “I get to have guests from all backgrounds … We always get into engaging conversations.”
The show is recorded in studio in Victoria, but sometimes happens remotely when Leo is off the Island, and sometimes he goes on location.
“Right now I am doing a series of episodes in Lower Post, which is the most northern remote Indigenous community in B.C.,” he said. “I am going up there for a week to film a bison hunt, hot sprigs, rabbit snaring, important conferences and the beauty of the Yukon and B.C. So my show is very diverse and can take place anywhere.”
Leo, who is of Indigenous descent from the Xwemalhkwu First Nation and the Stillaguamish Tribe, said he has always wanted to reconnect with his heritage and when the opportunity came up to do an Indigenous podcast he couldn’t resist.
“This is a way to connect with my culture and allow other inspiring Indigenous people to tell their story. This is a platform that can help inspire younger generations and ultimately be a small part towards the path to reconciliation,” he said.
Leo recently received his diploma in broadcasting and online journalism from the B.C. Institute of Technology, but is continuing studying at BCIT and filling his time working on multiple podcast series.
One of the new series is called Remember: Recording of Our Elders Explored, an Indigenous history and language podcast in partnership with a Campbell River radio station. The other new series is “being kept under wraps,” Leo said.
The podcaster is also an actor, and just finished a small role in The Great Salish Heist, an upcoming feature film with Graham Greene and Ashley Callingbull that is scheduled to be released in the spring.
Leo, 31, was born in Mission but grew up in Campbell River before studying digital media at Vancouver Island University and meeting his wife. The couple have since moved to Ladysmith and now have a son, and having a young family and being away so often can be tough, Leo said.
“For now it is temporary but when schooling is done I should be home more often. We try and use remote video chat to stay connected and call each other often,” he said. “When I do come home, I treasure every moment. It is hard to watch your son grow through videos but I know that I am working hard for all of us, not just myself.”
Our Native Land can be seen on Chek TV on Tuesdays at 8:30 a.m.