Aniin, wash-tay, and hello, my relatives.

As we move through the last weeks of Winter 2023, the
Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is looking ahead as the next turn of the medicine wheel will direct us to the East and springtime, where all life will begin again. 

With a balanced approach between reflection and action, the Chiefs of the southern First Nations continue moving forward on the shared vision to build safe, strong, and prosperous communities in this territory for generations to come.

Respecting, listening, and applying the teachings of our Elders and Knowledge Keepers to SCO programming and services has kept us rooted in our mission to support Survivors and those dealing with ongoing traumas associated with residential schools and day schools, the Sixties Scoop, the child welfare system, and the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two spirit, and gender-diverse people (MMIWG2S+).

We give thanks to the 550 Survivors from 79 First Nations who attended our first annual SCO Survivors’ Healing Gathering earlier this week in Treaty One Territory. The gathering was an excellent opportunity to see and connect with so many citizens from our Nations.

I am proud the Survivors’ Healing Program, along with the Harm Reduction Program and Land Based Healing Fund, were developed to provide the opportunity for Anishinaabe and Dakota people to continue re-connecting with their cultures and traditions.

For now, we continue to call on the wisdom of Creator and our ancestors to guide us and our families as we move forward in a good way towards the Spring equinox, which is just around the corner.

Miigwetch, pidamye, and thank you.


Grand Chief Jerry Daniels
Southern Chiefs' Organization


SCO is offering condolences and prayers to our Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. We were saddened to learn of the passing of his mother, Valerie Contois, last week.

Losing one’s mother is a profoundly difficult experience. May the Creator provide comfort to all who are impacted by the loss of their beloved family matriarch.

SCO stands with the Grand Chief and his relatives as they mourn this tremendous loss in the days, weeks, and months to come.

SCO also expresses condolences to all those who are mourning the loss of Peter Chartrand, Health Director at Skownan First Nation.

Mr. Chartrand was an important advocate for Health Transformation and actively participated actively in the development of the First Nations-led health authority we are working to build.

A huge supporter of Skownan First Nation, Peter always showed up for his community to make sure their voices were heard. He was a man who shared the gift of humour with those around him.

Honest and straightforward, Peter enjoyed connecting with others.

SCO sends prayers for all those who are impacted by the loss of Peter, including the entire community of Skownan First Nation.


“First Nation peoples have long experienced systemic racism and discrimination within the criminal justice system. SCO’s First Nation court workers will assist our citizens to obtain fair, just, equitable, and culturally relevant supports within and beyond the courtroom.”

~Grand Chief Jerry Daniels

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Earlier this week, SCO played host to a very special two-day Survivors' Healing Gathering for Survivors and intergenerational Survivors of residential and day schools, the Sixties Scoop, the child welfare system, and for families impacted by the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two spirit, and gender-diverse people (MMIWG2S+). The gathering had been gifted the name Mino-si-toon Wichozani. In Anishinaabemowin, the word “Mino-si-toon” means “putting things right” or “doing things in a good way.” In Dakota, the word “Wichozani” means “healing.”

“SCO expresses our appreciation to our keynote speakers, Dr. Phil Fontaine and Kevin Chief. Both speakers shared powerful stories and reflections that inspire us to continue with the healing work we are focusing on. Their speeches, along with the wide variety of healing activities and talented people who shared their gifts at our event, encourage us to continue working to provide programs, services, and events to support Survivors,” stated Grand Chief Daniels.

Artist Jackie Traverse created two powerful paintings during the gathering while talented songwriter Don Amero performed at our reception. Due to poor weather and flight cancellations, Michele Audette, former Commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, was unable to travel to Winnipeg. We are working on rescheduling and hope to bring her in this fall to speak about moving the
 Calls for Justice forward.

Our gathering provided Survivors with the chance to reconnect with old friends, family members, fellow community members, and themselves.

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SCO honours and congratulate the people of Lake Manitoba First Nation, as the community hosted a special grand opening ceremony for its’ new and long-awaited health centre.

The ceremony, which was 11 years in the making, started in a good way with Knowledge Keeper Robert Maytwayashing blessing the proceedings.

After Elder Florence McLean cut the ribbon, guests had the opportunity to tour the beautiful state-of-the-art facility.

Like the building itself, the day was filled with positivity and brightness.

Huge congratulations to Chief Cornell Mclean, Council, Health Director Lawrence West and his team, and most importantly, the people of Lake Manitoba, who now have access to heightened levels of healthcare.

SCO looks forward to continuing to work with everyone at the Lake Manitoba Health Centre, as we transform the system to better serve all our people.


SCO continues to stand with the relatives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two spirit, and gender-diverse people.

Last month, it was reported that the City of Winnipeg is looking at a “total financial impact” of $915,000 in 2022 due to a protest outside of the Brady Landfill site in south Winnipeg. The protest began as a way to back up demands that a search be conducted for the sacred remains of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and other missing Indigenous women.

It is essential to remember that there never would have been any financial impact to the City of Winnipeg’s water and waste revenues if those in positions of power had conducted a search for our loved relatives back in June 2022. Decisions were made to NOT search without any discussion with First Nations leadership. Sadly, systemic racism continues in Manitoba.

It is only due to the ongoing pressure from the loved ones of murdered women that there is now a feasibility study underway to assist in creating a plan to search for these women.

“It is unacceptable that a decision was made to not search for our women. Our women are not garbage. They deserve to be found and laid to rest in a way that respects and honours their role as sacred givers of life.” ~Grand Chief Jerry Daniels

Photo: Grand Chief Jerry Daniels and SCO staff member Anna Huard visited the Brady Landfill site to offer support and prayers in honour of our missing and murdered relatives


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 April 14, 2023.

Take Survey

This year, the team of Community Liaisons that work with SCO Health Transformation wanted to take a stand against bullying and promote healthy relationships. SCO was more than happy to help and invited everyone to “be the bear, be the protector” and participate in Pink Shirt Day, on February 22 by wearing any pink-coloured clothing to show they stand against bullying. 

Southern First Nations colleagues and community members rose to the challenge, and wore pink at events across the southern region of Manitoba, promoting kindness and healthy social relationships.

Pink Shirt Day began in 2007 when a student in Nova Scotia was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. In response, his classmates came together and distributed pink shirts to everyone in the school to wear. The simple act of kindness became a globally celebrated day for supporting anti-bullying movements.

Bullying continues to be a major problem that impacts people of all ages, everywhere: in our schools, workplaces, homes, and online.

But, helping each other builds strong support systems and has positive impacts on the four roots of First Nations wholistic wellness: Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

SCO thanks everyone who participated and looks forward to many more days where the southern First Nations of Manitoba wicoznani hduha mani (walk with health)!


SAVE THE DATE: Economic Reconciliation Business Forum on June 13 and 14, 2023

SCO and Southern Chiefs Economic Development LP are pleased to present an Economic Reconciliation Business Forum.

Please mark June 13 and 14, 2023, in your calendar and plan to attend our forum in Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Who should attend:

· Chiefs & Council members of SCO-memberNations

· Economic development officers

· Chief executive officers and senior executives from corporations in Manitoba

· Business owners/entrepreneurs

· Government representatives dealing in business development and procurement

· Professional advisors on business expansion and partnerships

Join us for presentations, speakers, trade show booths, networking reception, and more. Space will be limited.

Stay tuned to SCO’s social media and website for registration information.


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

We are seeking:

  • First Nation Court Worker, Selkirk Manitoba -
    •  Apply by Tuesday, March 7, 2023
  • Administrative Assistant, Justice and Rights Department
    • Apply by Tuesday, March 7, 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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