Canadian country music artist Lorrie Church is a descendent of Cree and Metis ancestors. On the Sweetgrass First Nation Indian Reservation, she is called Wepi Nakwa Mek'Wanak, which translates from the Cree language as Grey Feathers. She draws on this diverse background for her mainstream country songs.
Church is a native of Meadowlake, Saskatchewan, where she was one of 16 children in her family. When she was five years old, her mom began instructing her in the art of singing. Shortly thereafter, her grandmother predicted that stardom was in her future, although the older woman did not live to see her words come true. When Church was 12, her father gave her a guitar.
The singer/songwriter entered numerous talent competitions during her youth. She established a band when she was a teenager and played around her hometown area. Upon graduation, Church hooked up with another band and started touring seriously, performing throughout the Northwest Territory and the western regions of Canada. A few years down the road, she again formed a band of her own.
Within the native community, the entertainer coordinated a musical journey called Have You Seen the Future. Within the framework of a tour that advocated goal setting, hard work, and avoiding alcohol and drugs, Church gave 60 free performances and appeared at schools and correctional centers, among other settings.
The Saskatchewan Country Music Association bestowed five awards on Church in 1996, including Most Promising Entertainer of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year. The association again conferred the honor of Entertainer of the Year in 1999. Also in 1999, Church was nominated for a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, as well as for Best Country Album and Best Songwriter from the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. In addition, she was among the nominees that year who were vying for the title of the Canadian Country Music Association's Wrangler Rising Star.