May 19, 2021

The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and our collective efforts to battle it, are front and centre this month!

Last week, SCO, in partnership with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), Keewatinohk Innniw Minoaywain (KIM), Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (FNHSSM), and the province of Manitoba launched a campaign encouraging our people to get vaccinated!
Protect Our People MB encourages vaccine uptake and confidence among younger First Nation people throughout the province. It features a number of First Nation leaders and influencers, including several from our southern communities such as Sherry Mckay (Sagkeeng First Nation), William Prince (Peguis First Nation), and Leonard Sumner (Little Saskatchewan First Nation).

The timing of the #ProtectOurPeopleMB campaign is critical as the pandemic, particularly variants of concern, is taking its toll on younger citizens.
On the Front Lines
Along with the need for heightened vaccine awareness and education, SCO is pleased to see our community leaders and citizens continue their tireless efforts to do what they can to keep people safe!
A great example of this are two members of Birdtail Sioux Dakota Nation.
Self-nicknamed “The Dependables” (after The Expendables), this team, comprised of Malcolm Blacksmith and Billy Chatkana, has been staffing community checkpoints as part of its pandemic response since April of last year.

No one enters or leaves without Malcolm and Billy knowing!

As our communities continue their vigilance during the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, we pay tribute to these two local heroes and all frontline workers doing their part to keep our people safe.
Southwest Success
Initiative and leadership have paid off in a big way for a number of our communities including two located in the southwest corner of what is now known as Manitoba.

The people who call
Gambler First Nation home, have had almost no cases and ZERO deaths. 
From Chief David Ledoux to Health Director Mackenzie Olynyck, the community’s leadership has stepped up to do whatever it takes to ensure their citizens are protected.
Meanwhile, just over an hour’s drive away, the same kind of success is being reported by the leadership of Canupawakpa Dakota Nation.

Meet their Education Lead, Noelle Eagle!
Thanks to Noellea's efforts along with Chief Viola Eastman and Councillors Gabriel Sutherland and Gerald Sandy, every household with a student has been provided with new fibre-optic internet service.
This has proven to be invaluable, as most Canupawakpa students travel to Reston or Virden to attend school. When those communities reported COVID-19 outbreaks, it was then relatively easy for the First Nation’s students to stay safely at home.

As more school divisions throughout the province deal with the struggles associated with having to switch to remote learning, this community was more than adequately prepared, thus ensuring positive outcomes for its children and youth.

It’s because of this leadership and foresight, Canupawakpa has also yet to record one case of COVID-19!

An amazing achievement and one they should all be very proud of!
Have Your Say! MMIWG2S Calls for Justice Survey
Fill out our survey to help us identify the priorities of southern First Nations around the 231 Calls for Justice, so that SCO can advocate with governments for accountability and action on MMIWG2S!

This survey consists of approximately 20 questions and should take 5-8 minutes.

Your participation is anonymous. No identifying information is collected as part of this survey and all responses are confidential. You can choose to provide your e-mail at the end of the survey in order to receive a pocket-sized booklet of the National Inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice.
Celebrating Our Nurses
May 12th was Indigenous Nurses Day in Manitoba, a time for many communities to honour their nurses who have sacrificed so much over the past 14 months!

Special congratulations goes to Chief Karen Batson of
Pine Creek First Nation.

Chief Batson is this year’s recipient of the Award for Excellence in Psychiatric Nursing Leadership!

The award is given out annually by the Registered Psychiatric Nurses Foundation.

Miigwetch Chief Batson for everything you do in your community and as the Chair of SCO’s Chiefs’ Health Action Table!
Staying in Pine Creek, we also want to acknowledge Vanessa Klyne & Loretta Wellburn.

As members of Pine Creek First Nation, they have returned to their home community to deliver health care and nursing services to their fellow citizens and family members.
And finally, we salute the healthcare team at Hollow Water First Nation.

Hollow Water First Nation has had few cases and ZERO deaths due to COVID-19.

Much of that success can be attributed to the community’s health care leadership! From daily radio announcements, to vaccine house calls, this team has exhibited exemplary care of its community and the results speak for themselves.
The health leadership team is made up of Public Health Nurse, Wayne Desrosiers, Jordan’s Principle Coordinator, Robin Hall, and Health Director, Michelle Bushie along with Home and Community Care Nurse, Sherry Duffenais.

We all know too well how difficult the past year has been for frontline health care workers. We commend all of you for your unwavering commitment to the health and well being of all SCO citizens!
An Icon Passes

 It’s with great sadness we learned of the passing of Theodore (Ted) Fontaine.
A former Chief of Sagkeeng First Nation and Survivor of the Fort Alexander and Assiniboia Indian Residential Schools, Ted was a leader who held many senior positions, including being instrumental in negotiating the national employment equity settlement with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Ted was brave and outspoken, and he wrote several books including Broken Circle, the Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools, a national best seller, ensuring that his teachings will be passed down for generations to come.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Ted’s family at this trying time.
Heart of Gold

We want to introduce you to another one of our community champions.

Pine Creek’s Audrey Brass has rescued over 500 dogs in her community and the surrounding area!
It’s all part of her Pine Creek and Area Animal Rescue program.
In just a few years, Audrey has formed lasting partnerships with humane societies across southern Manitoba, set up spay and neuter clinics with veterinarians in the area, and has even started to rescue cats. 

Audrey tells our community correspondent, Al Foster, that she has seen a positive shift in attitudes around domestic animal care since creating this initiative. Her commitment to all living creatures in only superseded by her kind heart. 

On behalf of the animals and those who love them…. 

Miigwetch Audrey!
SCO Employment Opportunities

SCO is seeking qualified individuals for these great summer employment opportunities to support our vaccination efforts.

We are hiring:
Vaccination Clinic Indigenous Liaisons

We are always looking for talented professionals to join the SCO Team.
We offer a competitive salary scale, generous benefits including pension plan matching and a positive work environment.

Keep Checking Our Careers Page for Updated Opportunities
If you have any story ideas or items you would like shared in future weekly updates, please contact the SCO Communications team.
Call 204-806-6837 or email
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