Jonathan Meikle is the founder and Executive Team Lead of Strength in the Circle. He is an Anshinew napew, with Scottish and Irish bloodline, a member of Norway House Cree Nation, Treaty Five Territory, Manitoba. Jonathan was introduced at the age of sixteen to the military through the Bold Eagle Basic Training program in Wainwright, Alberta. He later joined the full-time Canadian Forces at the age of seventeen. Jonathan graduated his Basic Infantry Qualification days before his eighteenth birthday, posted to Edmonton’s First Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, to be the youngest in the unit. He later deployed to Afghanistan with the Alpha Company Red Devils at the age of twenty in 2009 for a seven-month operation. After six years of service in the military, Jonathan released in November 2012. He was later diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder in 2015. Due to lack of coping skills, he slowly moved towards illicit activities, alcohol and violence in his home community of Norway House Cree Nation.
Over the years, Jonathan’s involvement in the criminal justice system was very cyclical and in 2017, he had four incidents involving charges placed against him by police. Because of Jonathan’s service in the military, support was made available to him through Veteran’s Affairs Canada and he was able to attend two months of residential treatment. There, he was able to gather the tools needed in order to cope with life.
“Where I am today in my recovery, is a product of my community being there for me when I needed help.” -Jonathan Meikle
Jonathan has since become a public speaker and has even had the opportunity to present a TEDx Winnipeg Talk titled ‘Acknowledge the Story Behind the Label.” He accredits his strong foundation of recovery to his volunteerism with Winnipeg’s Bear Clan Patrol, surrounding himself with positive people, taking positive action, engaging with the community in a positive way. To further attest to his character, he has received the Royal Canadian Humane Association Silver Medal of Bravery for intervening in a dangerous situation on a Winnipeg Transit System bus, where he was stabbed in the process of disarming and detaining a man with a knife. Jonathan pursues a career in Social Innovation where he hopes to send positive ripples of change through the Indigenous Community in Canada.