The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) recognizes all Indigenous women and girls are sacred. They are mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, aunties, grandmothers, granddaughters, and leaders.
Traditionally and historically women were valued in their communities and society, yet today due to colonization, racism and gender discrimination, First Nations women disproportionately face tragic and life-threatening, gender based violence.
For far too long, Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual (2SLGBTQQIA) have been publicly devalued, their human rights infringed and the violence against them ignored. Perceptions and values shaped by the past results in persistent and harmful colonial stereotypes. Every Indigenous woman, girl, and 2SLGBTQQIA person has an inherent beauty, strength, and sacred worth.
Through this project SCO recognizes this is one small step to help women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA to reclaim their traditional roles and support families in their healing journey. SCO wants this tragedy to end and we all have a role to play.
SCO MMIWG Billboard Campaign
SCO will launch a MMIWG Billboard Campaign in the Spring of 2020, to honour the legacy and lives of Manitoba’s missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA. Grand Chief Jerry Daniels stated, “Our goal is to end the violence by raising awareness of this national tragedy. Through art we can acknowledge the loss in our communities, and send a message of resilience and hope.” The artwork is placed on 10 high visibility billboards in Winnipeg and in southern Manitoba, as well as on bus boards and posters.
The SCO MMIWG billboard project aims to use art as a tool for public awareness, education and commemoration of loved ones, which is necessary to build a foundation for healing, justice, and reconciliation in society. The project honours the lives and legacy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA, while bearing witness to injustice, and calling for change in our communities and our country.
You can take action, by becoming aware of and responding to the Calls for Justice for All Canadians, from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls:
Calls for All Canadians
Each person has a role to play in order to combat violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people. We encourage every Canadian to consider how they can give life to these Calls for Justice.
We call on all Canadians to:
15.1 Denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
15.2 Decolonize by learning the true history of Canada and Indigenous history in your local area. Learn about and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ history, cultures, pride, and diversity, acknowledging the land you live on and its importance to local Indigenous communities, both historically and today.
15.3 Develop knowledge and read the Final Report https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/. Listen to the truths shared, and acknowledge the burden of these human and Indigenous rights violations, and how they impact Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people today.
15.4 Using what you have learned and some of the resources suggested, become a strong ally. Being a strong ally involves more than just tolerance; it means actively working to break down barriers and to support others in every relationship and encounter in which you participate.
15.5 Confront and speak out against racism, sexism, ignorance, homophobia, and transphobia, and teach or encourage others to do the same, wherever it occurs: in your home, in your workplace, or in social settings.
15.6 Protect, support, and promote the safety of women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people by acknowledging and respecting the value of every person and every community, as well as the right of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to generate their own, self-determined solutions.
15.7 Create time and space for relationships based on respect as human beings, supporting and embracing differences with kindness, love, and respect. Learn about Indigenous principles of relationship specific to those Nations or communities in your local area and work, and put them into practice in all of your relationships with Indigenous Peoples.
15.8 Help hold all governments accountable to act on the Calls for Justice, and to implement them according to the important principles we set out.
Ka Ni Kanichihk
Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre
Suggested Resources for Learning
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls.
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: Their Voices Will Guide Us: Student and Youth Engagement Guide.
Transcripts, testimonies, and public statements offered during the Truth-Gathering Process, available at www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/transcripts/ and http://www.mmiwgffada.ca/part-ii-and-part-iii-knowledge-keeper-expert-and-institutional-hearing-transcripts/.
Suggested Resources for Allyship
Amnesty International: “10 Ways to Be a Genuine Ally to Indigenous Communities.”
Dr. Lynn Gehl: “Ally Bill of Responsibilities.”
Indigenous Perspectives Society: “How to Be an Ally to Indigenous People.”
Where can I go for immediate support?
If you require immediate support, please contact the national, independent toll free 24/7 support line at 1-844-413-6649 to speak to a counsellor. The service is available in Anishnaabemowin (Ojibway), Cree, Inuktitut, and French.
If you are impacted by the issue of violence and of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) covers counselling and cultural support services. More information is available at the ISC Services Page.
What support services qualify?
Cultural Supports are provided by local Indigenous organizations that coordinate the services of Elders, traditional healers, and/or Indigenous community-based workers. Cultural supports will listen, talk, provide support, and can provide specific services chosen by the individual such as traditional healing, ceremonies, teachings and dialogue.
Counselling is provided by psychologists and social workers that enroll with Indigenous Services Canada. They will listen, talk, and assists individuals to provide support and find ways of healing.
Transportation assistance may be offered when professional counselling and cultural support services are not locally available.
Where can I go for help?
If you have questions about missing and murdered loved ones, Family Information Liaison Unit (FILU) members work directly with families to gather information from government services and agencies, such as child protection, polices services and coroner’s offices, to address outstanding questions about the loss of their loved ones. For more information about the services they offer or to find a contact near you, visit the FILU webpage on the Department of Justice website.
The Family Information Liaison Unit lead for Southern Manitoba is
Ashleigh Bear: 204-953-5820, ext 216