Survivors Inspire New Programs Under Development at SCO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 1, 2023
ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) was pleased to host “Mino-si-toon Wichozani,” the first annual SCO Survivors’ Healing Gathering in Treaty One territory on February 27 and 28, 2023.
“I extend my gratitude to the 550 Survivors from 79 First Nations who joined us for our first ever Survivors’ Healing Gathering,” said Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “Survivors joined the Southern Chiefs’ Organization to learn, share, and heal together over two days. We shared stories, reflections, tears, and laughter as we navigate the healing path forward on our collective journey. It was good to come together in a positive way following several years of not being able to gather in person due to the pandemic.”
SCO thanks the Elders and Survivors who are leading our movement forward in a good way. The gathering was developed by SCO’s Survivors’ Healing Program for and by southern First Nation Survivors and intergenerational Survivors of the residential school and day school system, the Sixties Scoop, the child welfare system, and for all those impacted by the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women, girls, two spirit, and gender-diverse people. The two-day event was free of charge at the RBC Convention Centre and open to everyone.
“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. “SCO also thanks Juno-award winning songwriter Don Amero for performing at our reception.”
Conference evaluations show an overwhelmingly positive response, with many asking when the next gathering will be held. Coming out of the event, SCO is working to develop three new programs to respond to the needs of Survivors, including:
- A Traditional Healers Program is launching in March of 2023
- A MMIWG2S+ Unit, being developed in partnership with families and Survivors, including the Manitoba MMIWG2s+ Implementation Committee
- A Residential School Research Unit to support residential school Survivors and family members who are looking to access records and archives
SCO will provide updates on these new programs as further details become available.
Due to poor weather conditions and flight cancellations, Michele Audette, former Commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, was not able 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.
An Elders and Knowledge Keepers Planning Committee played an integral role in supporting the development of the healing gathering, along with SCO’s Survivors’ Healing Program team. SCO recognizes the panelists, presenters, and everyone who generously gave of their time to make the Survivors’ Healing Gathering a success.
The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 83,000 citizens in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.
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