Heather Bishop CM, OM, Hon.LL.D. – A Powerful Package
Heather Bishop is an accomplished musician/singer-songwriter, social activist, keynote speaker, visual artist, published author, and tradeswoman. And her country would concur – Heather has been awarded the Order of Canada (2005), the Order of Manitoba (2001), and an Honourary Doctorate of Laws (2011). She is best known around the world as a talented and respected musician, having released 14 acclaimed folk and children’s albums, winning JUNO nominations, Parents’ Choice Gold Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, and NAPPA Awards. Her latest CD, released in the spring of 2009, is entitled ‘my face is a map of my time here’. In the spring of 2011, Heather released a hardcover coffee table book of her artwork by the same name.
Highly admired for her social activism, Heather has spent more than 4 decades championing feminism and the environment, and speaking out against racism, homophobia, and discrimination of any kind. In 1976, she piloted and taught the first Pre-trades Training for Women Course in Canada and in 2010 another first – teaching the Canadian pilot of the Art of Managing Your Career, a business course for artists of all stripes, which continues to be a waiting list course.
Most recently she has launched an exciting new career as a Hypnotherapist, Time Line Therapist, and NLP Practitioner. Check out Tour de Trance Meditation.
Heather Bishop has always lived her belief that when she gives voice to the truth in her own life, it strikes a chord in other people’s lives as well. She is dedicated to an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just world.
Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments (Government of Canada) – 2016 – ongoing
Advisory Council to the Order of Manitoba – Chair – 2009 to ongoing
Manitoba Film Classification Board – Chair – 2014 to ongoing
Manitoba Cultural Society of the Deaf – Consultant – Board Development – 2011 – 2014
Manitoba Film & Music – Finance Chair – Director – 2000 – 2014
Manitoba Music – Chair – Finance Chair – Director – 1987 – 2009
From fighting to save the environment, to struggling against racism, to fighting for women’s rights and against homophobia, Heather Bishop has never been afraid to stand up for what she believes.
In the late 60s, Heather was among the first women to form an independent feminist movement in this country. Following in the footsteps of the suffragettes, she began to champion equal rights for women.
In the early 70s, she went on strike with the United Pressman’s Union and spearheaded the first ever effort in Canada to seek equal pay for work of equal value. Although that effort only netted the women a small gain in closing the gender pay scale gap, equal pay for work of equal value legislation was passed federally a few years later.
Prior to the passage of that legislation, Heather was instrumental in having the first CUPE contract ratified in Canada that not only included equal pay for work of equal value, but also included a highly controversial clause banning discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation along with race, gender, ethnic origin and religious affiliation.
During that decade, Heather helped organize the first Aboriginal women’s caucus of the Metis Society of Saskatchewan. The MSS crushed this first attempt at organizing Aboriginal women. Shortly thereafter, the first Saskatchewan Organization of Aboriginal Women formed independently.
The 70s were still dangerous times for gays and lesbians, so Heather Bishop appeared on various radio shows and at many public speaking engagements to try to eradicate homophobia. She spoke to medical students, psychiatric students and the police force in an attempt to change archaic attitudes towards the homosexual population. In 1975, Heather was a founding member of the first Lesbian organization in Manitoba.
Heather Bishop has, over the years, developed a broad set of non-traditional skills. She is a carpenter, plumber, electrician and auto mechanic. With these skills in hand, she helped initiate and then taught the first Pre-Trades Training for Women courses in the country at Red River Community College in the late 70s. She was a founding member of the Women in Trades organization which has grown to become a national organization of stature.
With an eye to walking softly on this earth, Heather built her own solar home in 1979 in rural Manitoba. At the time, it was, and still is, a state of the art solar passive home with separate grey water disposal systems. She has been involved in the construction of several solar buildings since then, not the least of which is a straw bale cottage she built on her land.
Heather is perhaps best known for her work as a musician. Her career has spanned 4 decades and taken her around the world. She performs to both children and adults and has garnered numerous awards including JUNO nominations and Parent’s Choice Gold Awards.
In 1976 Heather formed her own recording company, Mother of Pearl Records, Inc. She was one of the first Canadian musicians to make their own album and helped to start the trend of independent labels in Canada. The Canadian independent recording industry has become the lifeblood of the Canadian music business.
Heather has recorded 14 albums, selling close to 150,000 copies world-wide from her rural based company in southern Manitoba. She is a well-known name at all the major Canadian Folk Festivals as well as at all the Children’s Festivals in this country and many abroad. She has performed with almost every major symphony orchestra in Canada as well as some in the USA. Heather was a regular guest performer on the internationally acclaimed Fred Penner Show.
Heather has dedicated an equal part of her career to touring in the United States, again for both adult and children’s audiences. Since their inception, she was a regular performer at the two largest Women’s festivals in the USA. Internationally, Heather has toured Scotland, Wales, and Australia. Australia became a regular stop on her international schedule, touring there several years in a row and appearing at all their major folk festivals, including their largest, the Woodford Folk Festival.
Heather Bishop has always believed that music is one of the most effective tools for change and has dedicated her career to addressing the issues facing our society that need changing. She has been a champion of women’s rights and gay rights, sacrificing gain in her own career to stand behind her truth and her beliefs. Heather was the first publicly “out” Lesbian to perform at major Canadian Folk Festivals, thereby breaking down the barriers for Gays and Lesbians in the music industry. Through her music, she is recognized and honoured in both Canada and the United States as one of the pioneers who opened doors for gays and lesbians to come out and take their rightful and equal place in society.
To try to record the sheer number of benefit performances Heather has given and the diversity of the causes that she has generously supported with her music would be an impossible task. Suffice it to say that she is always called upon and readily gives her time to numerous worthy causes:
- Heather is a director on the Board of Manitoba Film and Music.
- She has also been appointed to the Advisory Council for the Order of Manitoba.
- She joined Shirley Douglas, Keifer Sutherland, and Mary Walsh in Alberta to rally that province in an attempt to impede the privatization of health care.
- She gave a month of her time driving her own support vehicle for Habitat for Humanity’s Bike Atlanta trip which raised over a quarter of a million dollars towards building homes for low-income families.
- Heather was a founding member of the Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association and, as board president, helped build it into the powerful industry voice in Canada that it is today.
- Heather spent five summers studying American Sign Language and currently donates her time to a Deaf Mime Project
- Heather is a Certified Master Hypnotherapist, Time Line Therapist, and NLP Practitioner.
Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal – 2012
Honourary Doctorate of Laws – University of Brandon – 2011
The Order of Canada – 2005
Western Canadian Music Awards Industry Builder of the Year – 2006
Above & Beyond Awards for the Arts – 2005
Her Majesty the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal – 2002
The Order of Manitoba – 2001
Women in Trades Join Us At the Top Award – 2001
Prairie Music Award Nomination – Best Roots & Traditional Album – Heather Bishop Live – 2000
Spirit of Smith Street Award for Outstanding Community Service to the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transgendered Communities – 2000
YWCA Woman of the Year Distinction Award -1997
Parent’s Choice Gold Award – Chickee’s on the Run – 1997
National Association of Parenting Publications Awards, Gold Award – Chickee’s on the Run – 1997
JUNO Nomination – Best Children’s Album – Chickee’s on the Run – 1997
Manitoba Award for the Gay Community -1992
Parent’s Choice Gold Award – A Duck in New York City – 1989
JUNO Nomination – Most Promising Female Vocalist – A Taste of the Blues – 1987