“Staff working in seven additional school division helps create positive outcomes for our children” – Grand Chief Daniels
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2023
ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — Today, the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is pleased to announce further expansion of its Jordan’s Principle Program. Seven additional school divisions have partnered with SCO and now have a Jordan’s Principle Coordinator working as a part of their teams.
“It’s a great day, when I can state that another seven school divisions in our Territory now have a Jordan’s Principle Coordinator,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “Their mandate is to focus on ensuring First Nation students have equitable access to the full scope of services and supports needed to achieve the best possible educational outcomes alongside their non-First Nation classmates. With this announcement, we are helping to make that happen for thousands more First Nation students.”
“It’s no secret, our children continue to face barriers when it comes to accessing education, health care, and a full spectrum of social service supports. The importance of our children having full support, whether it’s a breakfast program, school supplies, funding for recreation and other programs—where we didn’t have the support for a healthy education, we have it now,” said Chief Cameron Catcheway of Skownan First Nation. “First Nations leaders will continue to work tirelessly to meet the needs of our Nations’ children and youth, wherever they live throughout our territories.”
Today’s announcement builds on announcements made in 2022 when SCO launched Jordan’s Principle Coordinators in the Winnipeg School Division and Brandon School Division. The new school divisions include:
- Lord Selkirk School Division
- Louis Riel School Division
- Pembina Trails School Division
- Portage la Prairie School Division
- River East Transcona School Division
- St. James-Assiniboia School Division
- Seven Oaks School Division
“We are honoured to partner with the Southern Chiefs’ Organization to hire a Jordan’s Principle Coordinator, who will play a critical role in supporting First Nation children and their families in our division,” said Darcy Cormack, Louis Riel School Division Assistant Superintendent Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Services. “This partnership aligns with our commitment to promoting equity and inclusion for all members of our community, and we look forward to working together to create positive change.”
“The Southern Chiefs’ Organization Jordan’s Principle Coordinator in Pembina Trails School Division is a valuable member of our school team who works with educators and families to access programs, services and support to increase educational success for First Nation children,” shared Colleen Roberts, Assistant Superintendent of the Pembina Trails School Division. “Pembina Trails School Division is proud to partner with Southern Chiefs’ Organization and support the extension of this important work to divisional schools and families.”
“We are honoured to partner with the Southern Chiefs’ Organization,” stated River East Transcona School Division Superintendent/Chief Executive Officer Sandra Herbst. “Our Coordinator will not only assist our First Nations families but will help our school division to better walk in the spirit of truth and reconciliation.”
SCO also has coordinators working in partnership with the Children’s Hospital and the Specialized Services for Children and Youth (SSCY) Centre. SCO fully funds the coordinator positions.
Jordan’s Principle is named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, a child from Norway House Cree Nation who was born in 1999 with multiple disabilities. When he was two years old, doctors said he could leave the hospital and move to a special home for his medical needs. However, the federal and provincial governments could not agree on who should pay for his home-based care and as a result, Jordan passed away at the age of five in the hospital without having spent even a single night at home.
In 2007, the House of Commons passed Jordan’s Principle, a commitment to ensure First Nation children would receive the products, services, and supports they need, when they need them.
“Jordan’s Principle has the ability to positively impact our children, families, and Nations. It is already a game changer for many children and families who have accessed the program. Jordan’s Principal is significant and we pay tribute to the late Jordan River Anderson for the legacy he leaves for our First Nations children and youth today,” concluded Grand Chief Daniels. “I am excited about what we can achieve, as we continue to help our children access the services they need without denial, delay, or disruption.”
SCO believes improved access to supports for success will increase graduation rates. Manitoba’s four-year high school graduation rate is 81.9 per cent (2019 data). For non-Indigenous students the rate is 89.9 per cent and for Indigenous students it drops to 50.7 per cent.
For more information on SCO’s growing Jordan’s Principle Program and to find contact information for the coordinator at each school division, visit our website.
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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