The Making of Taken

When TAKEN’s co-creator Lisa Meeches found out in 2013 that the she was expecting a baby girl, the mother of two boys was excited to have a daughter, but something kept her up at night:  the fact that Indigenous women and girls are statistically at a higher risk than any other group to be the victims of violence, abduction, and murder in Canada. As an Indigenous woman, Lisa didn’t want her daughter to grow up unsafe, or in fear. That inspired her to work with her team to support change. She dedicated herself to create a television series that would share the stories of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, to raise awareness and provoke change, and try to help bring justice in these cases.

Lisa Meeches’ company with her business partner Kyle Irving, Eagle Vision Inc,. is one of Canada’s most successful Indigenous production companies. Its productions include the Oscar-winning feature film Capote, the Samuel L. Jackson thriller Reasonable Doubt, and the multiple award-winning film We Were Children, considered by many to be the definitive documentary on the issue of residential schools. Lisa produced The Sharing Circle, one of the longest-running Indigenous series in Canadian television history, and Tipi Tales, an award-winning preschool series for Treehouse and APTN that brought the Seven Sacred Teachings and their guidance to children in Canada and around the world. Together with co-creators Kyle Irving, and Rebecca Gibson, who also serves as Creative Producer and a Writer and Director on the series, Lisa developed TAKEN, set to premiere its first thirteen episodes, and currently in production for a second season. The team is deeply honoured to have the support of many families from the MMIWG community.

post-lisa-meeches-taken-series-thumb4Lisa Meeches. Photo Credit: Kyle Irving

TAKEN focuses on individual stories of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, each of whom is so much more than the victim of crime. TAKEN travels across Canada to invite loved ones to share touching, sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring stories that honour the lives and memory of these women and girls. In TAKEN’s first season, the stories of sixteen women and girls were shared. Families are coming forward to share the stories of their daughters, sisters, mothers, nieces, cousins, wives, girlfriends, friends for season II. Politicians, academics, and community leaders have also come together with TAKEN for the MMIWG. And with the support of law enforcement across the country, the team behind TAKEN is hopeful that viewers will share what they know and help solve cases, much like America’s Most Wanted.

Lisa, Kyle, Rebecca, and the TAKEN team have felt the delicacy of their work for the families of the MMIWG since beginning, inviting loved ones to speak freely and have their stories shared authentically. Often, the stories of Canada’s MMIWG have been exploited in the media, and the truth of these women and girls has never been shared. The TAKEN team is guided by Indigenous spiritual advisors. Each member of the team walks with the Seven Sacred Teachings of Wisdom, Respect, Love, Humility, Honesty, Courage, and Truth every step of the way, particularly in dealing with loved ones, but also in interviewing those involved with the cases and the issue. TAKEN is versioned in Cree, with host George Muswaggon offering his insight, strength, and fluency in Cree. For many of the loved ones of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the honour shown by sharing their stories in an Indigenous language is very powerful.

Eagle Vision is proud that TAKEN provides mentorship and opportunity to much of its crew. In Season I, more than 50% of episodes were directed by Indigenous filmmakers. 100% were written by women, and more than 50% written by an Indigenous writer. More than 50% were edited by Indigenous editors, and more than 50% were edited by women. The research team, led by Order of Manitoba recipient Bernadette Smith, whose own sister Claudette Osborne-Tyo is one of the MMIWG, is 100% Indigenous, and 100% female. The score was composed by an Indigenous composer. In all departments, from research, through post-production, Indigenous Canadians helped tell the stories of TAKEN. Additionally, over 100 Indigenous actors were engaged to perform in the series.

One of the most important elements of TAKEN is its beauty. These women and girls were most often taken from homes they loved. The beauty of their communities shines through in every episode. This is part of Lisa, Kyle, and Rebecca and the rest of the TAKEN team’s vision for the series, to share the beauty of these women and girls’ stories, juxtaposed with the horror of this issue that deserves the attention of the world.

KÁKÍ OSÍTÁNIWAK OMA KÁ OTINÍCIK

Ispíhk awa Lisa Meeches é-kiskénítak é-kikiskawáwasot é-kospihk oma 2013 é-wi ayáwat iskwésisa, okáwímaw níso nápésisa kí mócikénítam kita otánisit máka kí kinomáyénítam é-tipiskánik oma óci ininiwiskwéwak ékwa iskwésisak nawatc wínawaw mistahi é-kitimayícik, é-otinícik, ékwa é-nisiwanácihícik ota askík Kanata. È-ininiwiskwéwit awa Lisa, mwac oci natawéniméw o’tánisa ékosi kita isi ópikinit é-kostátikwaninik, ápo kita sékisinit tápitaw. Èkota kákí oci maci atoskátak kita wícíwét nantaw kita tócikaték oma ká ispanik mískwacipaniwin oci. Èkota kí ayánisow é-atoskátak kita osítaht oko kita kanawápacikáténiki oko acimowina ota oma Kanata ka wanihícik ékwa ká nisiwanácihicik ininiwiskwéwak ékwa iskwésisak nantaw kita isícikáték ékoni óko oci kita wícíkápanik onasówéwinihk isi oko kákí ispaniki. Lisa Meeches tipénítam ékwa oko o’wítatoskémakana Kyle Irving oma Eagle Vision Inc. ká isiníkaték, éwako oma péyak ota Kanata mwawaci kwayaskóciképanik ininiwi kanawápácikéwin ká isi atoskácikáték. Èkoni oko atíht kákí osítacik wápácikéwina tápiskoc oma kákí paskinákétihk “Capote” isiníkátéw ékwa mína Samuel L. Jackson ká nókosit oma “Reasonable Doubt”, ékwa mína oma mícétwa kákí paskinákétihk “We Were Children” ká isiníkáték éwako oma kákí acimonániwak tánisi kákí ispanik “residential schools” oci. Lisa mína kí atoskátam “the Sharing Circle” kákí isiníkáték, éwako oma mwawaci kinwés kanawápácícikéwin kákí pimakoték ékí nókwak, ékwa mína “Tipi Tales” kí isiníkátéw apiscawásisak oci kí nókwan ota Treehouse ékwa APTN ékoni oko éki apatáki tépakohp kícítwawi kiskinwámátowina kita kiskinótahiwéwícik awásisak ota Kanata éwka misiwé ota askíhk. È-isi nísicik oko Kyle Irving ékwa Rebecca Gibson atoskátamok ékoni ká nókwaki, Lisa oma kákí níkániskak oma KÁ OTINÍCIK , kita nókwaki mitátaht nistosap táto kanawápácikéwina ékwa méwac atoskátamok kíwam kotakíya kita ati nókwanwa kisítaniwákowi. Mistahi kisténítamok oko kákí atoskátakik oko ká nókwaki éki wícicikémikocik mícé kistótéwéwinimákana ota oci MMIWG mamawinítowin.

post-lisa-meeches-taken-series-thumb4 Lisa Meeches. Èkí cikástépitaht Kyle Irving

KÁ OTINÍCIK oma é atocikátéki oko oci ká wanihicik ékwa ká nisiwanácihicik ininiwiskwéwak ékwa iskwésisak pá péyakonohk isi nawac mistahi éwako oma oci kakwátakítawinihk manitótamowin. KÁ OTINÍCIK pimotéhowak misiwéskamik oma Kanata é-wíkomácik oko sakihéwi o’wákámakana kita acimonit, askaw wawiyaténitakonwa, askaw pikotéhéwin, tapitaw sikiskawéwinihk acimowina ká kisténícikasocik o’pimátisiwiniwawa ékwa kita kiskisitotacik oko iskwéwak ékwa iskwésisak. Èwako oma KÁ OTINÍCIK nistam wápátinikéwina, ékoni oko acimowina mitátaht nikotwasosap iskwéwak ékwa iskwésisak kákí pahkwénamáwátéki. Wakómakaniwawa pé aciméwak o’tanisiwawa, wícisaniwawa, o’mámawawa, o’stimiwawa, o’ciwámiskwéwawa, o’wikimákaniwawa, o’tiskwémiwawa, o’wicéwakaniwawa oko kítwam ati nókwakowi. Opimpátawikimáwak, kiskinohamákosowin, ékwa ká nikániskákik mámawi wítatoskéméwak oko KÁ OTINÍCIK éwako oma oci MMIWG. Èkwa mína ká wicikápawístakocik simákanisa ota misiwéskamik oko KÁ OTINÍCIK, ká atoskátakik pakoséniméwak oko ká kanawápátakik oko ká nókwaki kíspin kékon awíyak kiskénitam ékoni oko oci kákí ispaniki kita pé acimot kita wícítácik kita miskikátéki tanisi kákí ispaníkocik, tapiskoc oma “America’s Most Wanted” ékoni péyakon..

Lisa, Kyle Rebecca ékwa oko KÁ OTINÍCIK ká atoskátakik nahikatótawéwak oko ká isi wákótonit oma MMIWG mwawaci nistam oci, éki wíkomácik péyátak kita acimonit kíci pikiskwéwinik oci. Mícétwa anis oko acimowina ékoni oko oci Kanata MMIWG mwac kwayask itácimowak, mwac kwayask mitoni aciméwak oko iskwéwa ékwa iskwésisa kákí ispaníkonit. KÁKI OTINÍCIK ká atoskátakik wícihikok ininiwi ayámihéwi pimátisiwin ká pimicisayákik ékoni oko tépakohp kicitwawi kiskinwamátowina pimicisamok, nipwakáwin, mámácihiwéwin, sakihiwéwin, péwénimowin, kwayaskwésicikéwin, sokénimowin ékwa tapwéwin ékoni oko pimicisámok oma ká isicikémácik oko wákómakaniwawa. KÁKI OTINÍCIK anis mína oma náynowétin éwako awa George Muswaggon é-ahcimát é-náynowét oko oci Kanata kákí wanihicik ékwa kákí nisiwanácihicik ininiwiskwéwak ékwa iskwésisak, mistahi é-iténimícik oko kákí isapnikocik wéci apaták ininimowi ayamiwin é-sokékoték. Eagle Vision mamíciténitamok oma oci KÁ OTINÍCIK kákí atoskátakik nistam oko ká nókwaki apítaw inikok anis ininiwak kí atoskátamok oméniw ékwa kakinaw iskwéwak oko kákí masinahakik kita itácimonániwáki. Éwako awa kákí nikániskak kákí mínít oma “Order of Manitoba” Bernadette Smith, éwako wícisana Claudette Osborne-Tyo éwako péyak ká acimít oma MMIWG, awa iskwéw. Ká pétakwak mína anima mékwac ká nókoki oko acimiwina, ininiwi okitócikéw kanakacítat anima kákí paminák é-kwéniw. Kakinaw oko ká nókosicik ota ininiwiwak ékwa mína oko ká acimocik. Éwako oma péyak oci KÁ OTINÍCIK, ká isi minonákwak, Ékonik oko iskwéwak ékwa iskwéwsisak kákí otinícik wikiwáwak oci ita éki sakihicik. Mamawintowin oma kí wápáténánaw oko ká kanawápátamak. Ékoni oko oci Lisa, Kyle, ékwa Rebecca ékwa kakinaw kákí atoskátakik oma KÁ OTINÍCIK kita pakwénamákoyékok oma monisíwin oko oci iskwéwak ékwa iskwésisak o’tácimowiniwawa éki mamawastániwaniniki mistahi sékisiwinik isi kita wápácikáték ota misiwéskamik.