Aniin, Wash-tay, and hello, my relatives!

With 2023 upon us, the
Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) remains committed to working collaboratively with partners and allies from governments, businesses, academia, and the grassroots to create a better future for First Nations people.

As a result of listening to the voices and needs of our members, I am proud SCO will build on the programs established in 2022, such as the Status Card Registry Office, Mobile Crisis Response Team, and Survivors' Healing Program with the recent launch of the Harm Reduction Program and Land-Based Healing Fund, and the expansion of our Jordan’s Principle Program to every school division in southern Manitoba. 

With our important work rooted in the Seven Grandfather teachings of truth, love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, and humility, another priority for this year is to move forward on Nation Rebuilding. We are looking at how to integrate traditional knowledge into transforming and strengthening Dakota and Anishinaabe governance. 

Having just celebrated six years of service as Grand Chief, I anchor my leadership values in my role as a father, son, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend to build safer, stronger, and more prosperous communities for everyone.

As the Chiefs of the southern First Nations continue moving the goals of First Nations forward in Manitoba, I send prayers to you and your loved ones with blessings for a safe, healthy, and prosperous new year ahead.

Miigwetch, pidamye, and thank you.

Grand Chief Jerry Daniels
Southern Chiefs' Organization


“Healing from trauma and addiction begins with a return to our mother, the land,”

~Grand Chief Daniels

SCO has unveiled a new Harm Reduction Program and Land-Based Healing Fund. The program aims to help keep our loved ones who use substances safe and offer positive change through minimizing harms. The primary focus of the healing fund is to provide opportunities for those struggling with substance use to seek healing on the land.

The SCO Land-Based Healing Fund will provide up to $25,000 to its member Dakota and Anishinaabe Nations and organizations to support land-based healing projects that address problematic substance use. 

SCO has a harm reduction specialist on staff who is able to provide harm reduction supplies, such as fentanyl test strips, nasal Narcan, and safer sex supplies, at no cost. This specialist is also available to make presentations that can help to promote destigmatize and raise awareness around the importance of using a harm reduction approach when working with First Nations citizens living with addictions issues. You may reach our specialist via email:

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“Wearing and displaying such beautiful colours is a meaningful tribute to this important day. I am optimistic this day will lead to more conversations and dialogue that increase understanding and respect for First Nations cultures—ultimately contributing to our ongoing journey of reconciliation.” 

~Grand Chief Jerry Daniels

On January 4, 2023, First Nations people of all ages across Canada were joined by allies in celebrating the first-ever National Ribbon Skirt Day—a day to honour Isabella Kulak, a girl from the Cote First Nation, who was shamed by a staff member for wearing her ribbon skirt to her Saskatchewan school.

At SCO, staff members wore their ribbon skirts and ribbon shirts as part of this special day. SCO Traditional Healing Program Lead, Justin Courchene, sang an honour song for Isabelle. 

We look forward to continuing to support the reclamation of First Nations cultures as we continue to heal from colonization.

Miigwetch, pidamiye, and thank you to everyone who wore their beautiful handmade creations in support of National Ribbon Skirt Day.

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SCO congratulates the 104 youth athletes from our First Nations who are participating on 28 teams in the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) 2023!

We honour the commitment and dedication it takes to be selected to compete in the games. We commend the youth for being strong role models for children and young people in our First Nations.

For a complete list of these exceptional trailblazers, check out the post on our Facebook page.  

We wish all athletes the best with their training and look forward to cheering them on when they compete in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Nova Scotia on the territory of the Mi'kmaq from July 15-23, 2023!


We want to introduce you to Giselle Demach of the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation. 

Giselle is a recent graduate of the new skilled trades training programs being offered by the First Nation along with Assiniboine Community College. 

Thanks to this initiative, Giselle was able to stay in her community to get her education, along with being able to raise her young family.

She is now a Level 1 electrician and is the only woman helping to build Sandy Bay’s new water treatment plant. Giselle is a role model to other women in First Nations who want to explore a career in skilled trades. 

We honour Chief Trevor Prince and Councillors for making education and training a priority for the First Nation. Giselle’s success is proof that this is a worthy investment.


It continues to be a difficult time for those who love Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and Buffalo Woman. The lives of these women mattered, and they are loved. 

Earlier this month, representatives from SCO joined a ceremony at the Brady Road Landfill. A water ceremony took place and 101 red dresses were hung along the fence outside at the landfill to represent missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two Spirit people (MMIWG2S+).

SCO expresses support for the citizens who have set up camp to express their desire that the landfill should be searched for human remains.

If authorities had taken time over the years to search more thoroughly for the remains of our relatives who have been so violently taken from us, it is unlikely that this landfill would be the site of a protest camp.

Let’s ensure we remember the families of these women in our prayers, and all others we have lost.

Warning: This video contains distressing imagery. 

SCO has initiated a Nation Rebuilding Project to engage with member Nations and discuss working toward self-government and self-determination by re-establishing pre-contact traditional Anishinaabe and Dakota forms of governance. 

This project results from discussions with and direction from First Nation leadership, including voices heard at First Nations' gatherings.

To inform the development and content of the strategic plan, we are seeking all citizen input. If you participate, you can enter a draw to win one of four $50 gift cards. Please complete the survey by March 3, 2023.

Take Survey

Those words all apply when it comes to describing Jason Taylor. 

A member of the Canupawakpa Dakota Nation and a teacher at the Virden Collegiate, Jason has been educating students in Indigenous studies, mathematics, and other subjects for the last three years. 

This remarkable young man is teaching his students how to make their own hand drums and how to create ribbon shirts, moccasins, and mittens. 

Jason is also a role model for students and instilling a sense of pride in First Nation traditions and culture. 

He wants to recognize Virden Collegiate principal Mark Keown. Jason says he is a true ally and acknowledges him for the support he has provided. 

We salute Jason and Mark for what they have created in Virden, and we look forward to seeing what they accomplish in the years to come.


Save the Date: SCO Survivors’ Healing Gathering on February 27 and 28, 2023, at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Treaty One Territory. 

More details are coming soon! 

Follow SCO on social media, visit our website on a regular basis for updates, or sign up for our newsletter to receive monthly updates about our events, programs, and more! 


SCO continues to grow and we are looking to hire individuals who are committed to serving our people and Nations.

We are seeking a Status Card Intake Pathfinder. Apply by Monday, February 6, 2023.

For more information and to apply, please visit SCO Careers.


If you have any story ideas or items you would like shared in future monthly updates, please contact the SCO communications team:

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