Journalist wins award for Indigenous-focused podcast

Tchadas Leo portrait

April 6, 2023 - 8:30am

Former Digital Media Studies student Tchadas Leo shares his story

Building skills for a career in broadcast journalism brought Tchadas Leo to Vancouver Island University in 2009. Fast forward to today and he now hosts the award-winning podcast Our Native Land. The podcast explores “all things Indigenous and First Nations” and features guests ranging from former BC Premier John Horgan to Cedar Étoile. Recorded at CHEK’s studios in Victoria, Our Native Land recently won “Outstanding Indigenous Series” at the fifth annual Canadian Podcast Awards.

Leo, who is from the Homalco First Nation and the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, shares how the series came about and what’s next for him.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am an Indigenous/South American journalist, podcaster and actor residing in Ladysmith, BC.  I am currently the host/producer of Our Native Land through CHEK TV for the past two years. I am a father and husband and enjoy working in my prospective fields.

Why did you choose VIU? 

I originally chose VIU due to the campus being close to my hometown of Campbell River and the Digital Media studies course was a great way to continue my already started career in broadcasting. The faculty seemed nice and the programs spoke to me.

Can you share a highlight of your time here?

One of my fondest memories at VIU was when I met my now wife through my program. We met in class and had our first date inside the library. She motivated me to keep studying and be my best. I even borrowed the couch that my wife was sitting on when I first spoke to her to use in the proposal.

Tell us a bit about your career path since leaving VIU. 

With my education, I was able to continue along my broadcasting path. Having a base of skills from VIU gave me the confidence to continue my career and continued education in broadcasting and online journalism.

Where did the idea for Our Native Land come from? 

It was an idea that developed between myself and CHEK TV. I was informed through the station that they were building a podcast studio. We wanted to properly showcase Indigenous ideas, people and talent on Vancouver Island and across the country. 

Do you have a favourite interview so far? 

I get this question a lot and I have difficulty answering this. I pick who I want to talk to so I ultimately love all of my guests. I have had memorable moments with guests such as Lorne Cardinal, Eddy Charlie, John Horgan and Cedar Etoile.

How did it feel to win a national award for the series? 

This was an amazing feeling. To be acknowledged for the hard work that my team and I do feels wonderful. It is gratifying to know that people are listening to my show and that it has an impact. The recognition is reassurance that I am doing the right thing and that I must keep on going. Attitude is altitude. 

Can you give us one random thing you’ve learned from one of your podcasts?

I’ve learned to listen. I find a lot of podcasts can be filled with interruptions when a guest is involved. Taking the time to let the person talk and speak their truth has made for some amazing moments these past two years. 

What else have you got on the go?

Currently I am finishing up my second year of a Broadcasting and Journalism Diploma from BCIT. I am also working on a couple other podcasts. One of them is called “Remember: Recordings of Elders Explored,” which focuses on old Elder recordings and then discussed with a modern twist. The other one is a partnered project with 4VI and Everything Podcasts. It’s called the Indigenous Voices of Vancouver Island podcast.

What’s next for you?

I hope to continue with my platform and the career I have developed so far. I am working on trying to create other Indigenous content that is primarily visual. I have some hopes of working on some documentaries and getting them submitted to film festivals as well.

Tags: Digital Media Studies | Our Alumni

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