Lenny Fisher

Mike Jackson | Evan Adams | Michelle Bryant | Candis Callison | Ian Campbell | Bernard Casavant | Stacey Edzerza | Lenny Fisher | Dave Griffin | Trevor A. Joe | Tewanee Joseph | Rose Lesner | Duncan McCue | Carey Newman | Cherie Joy Rochelle Peal | Jason Rock | Lisa Sam

‘Work’ used to mean training once and then doing the same job for life. Now, it means re-training and changing careers several times through a lifetime.

Lenny Fisher is a great example of lifelong learning.

Lenny is part of the Sto:lo nation. Though he didn’t grow up on reserve, he was raised in Chilliwack with a family very involved with the Coqualeetza Cultural Centre.

“I sat in the bighouse, our communal gathering place, and heard a lot of people talk when I was young. They could address the gathering, the circumstance, and the situation, and speak profoundly, spontaneously. That’s one of the cultural attributes I’d like to to be able to develop and maintain. My grandmother was involved with these people and these people were always coming around, and we were participating in groups like the one that became the United Native Nations. They were friends of our parents, or friends of our grandparents, and it was kind of like osmosis — the hopes and ideas. I knew they were committed, and there was a certain conviction that they conveyed. It’s all fuel for the fire of what I like to think is the revolutionary heart that burns in myself.

That’s part of my personal mandate, is to dispel myths. We’re dismantling a lot of mythological concepts about who we are and what we represent. We are changing perceptions of the aboriginal identity.”

Lenny has re-invented himself several times throughout his career – from bricklayer to lighting technician to business owner and operator of a recording studio targeted toward the First Nations community.

After realizing that professional sports might not be a viable career option for him out of high school, Lenny looked around for other options. His grandparents told him “if you have a trade, no matter what you do – you have a trade”. Government funding was available for trade training, and Lenny went to vocational school and became a bricklayer’s apprentice for about six years in his 20s. His plan was always to work to make money to go to school.

He went to Langara College for Liberal Arts, where he introduced to media and the power of communications. In that, he says, he found his life’s purpose and preferred career choice.

After earning some more money for schooling, he entered Capilano College and the Chief Dan George Memorial Foundation program. Leonard Geoge and his family had put the program together to help create access to the media for First Nations people. “To be autonomous, you have to have control of the ways and means – in this case to technical production for media.” After this intensive 10 month program training in every media, Lenny became a lighting technician in the film industry.

Five or six years into that work, he was watching the dgital revolution from inside the film industry. Watching transitions take place, he realized ‘this is the future’. He had done some work in digital media-making, and realized the opportunities it offered for independent voices to have media access. Lenny entered the 10 month Audio Engineering program at Trebas Institute.

After several attempts at a business plan he secured a business loan, and launched his own company. “Right now with Reztown, I’m mainly working with musicians with the recording studio. I’m trying to position myself as a technical service provider for people who have project ideas in the audio or short-form video media.”

Lenny Fisher’s lifelong learning continues.

Stepping Stones
How did you get to where you are now?

Lenny Fisher
High school – realized that professional sports was not to be his career
Vocational school – training to be a bricklayer
Bricklayer’s apprentice
Langara College – Liberal Arts; fascination with media began
Capilano College with the help of the Chief Dan George Memorial Foundation – 10 month program in technical production for media
Became a lighting technician for film
Trebas Institute – 10 month Audio Engineering program
Created a business plan, and got a loan from Aboriginal Business Initiatives
Started his own company – recording studio for the aboriginal community

Thinking About School
“Find something to study that’s interesting to you. It’s a period in life when you have time to study. You have the time to indulge your interests and passions – and ambitions, even.
You have to be surrounded by an atmosphere that is conducive to that environment and atmosphere, and it has to be cultivated by someone around you – be that a family member or family friend or mentor or teacher — they’re out there.”
– Lenny

Copyright 2012 First Nations Education Steering Committee and First Nations Schools Association