Nation Rebuilding

The Southern Chiefs Organization (SCO) has initiated a Nation Rebuilding Project to engage with its member First Nations to discuss working towards self-government and self-determination by re-establishing pre-contact Anishinaabe and Dakota Nations traditional forms of governments. This Project is a result of First Nation leadership discussion and direction, including messages heard in First Nation gatherings.  In 2019, an Anishinaabe Gathering was held, where First Nation Elders, Leadership, Youth, and other First Nation citizens developed the ‘Collective Message of the Anishinaabe Gathering’ declaration that included the statement that “We will restore our original citizenship, language, laws, institutions, ceremonies, protocols, and procedures of governance.”

The Dakota Nations have expressed the importance of unity and action on their collective issues including health and wellness, education, child welfare, research, lands, under representation, culture, and language, to help rebuild the nations suffering from years of colonialism and negative policies.

The Project proposal was supported by the SCO Chiefs’ Executive Committee and Chiefs’ Finance and Personnel Committee on March 11, 2022.  The Project will develop a strategic plan to support the Anishinaabe Nations and Dakota Nations in rebuilding and moving toward self-governance and self-determination.


  • To support Anishinaabe and Dakota nationhood and build unity.
  • To assist SCO in strengthening Anishinaabe and Dakota Nations to take on greater sectoral responsibilities, and ultimately self-determination and self-governance.
  • To identify agreement among SCO members on strategic Nation-level priorities for action and approaches to issues.
  • To enhance SCO’s ability to provide input on legislation, policies, and programs so that they are more reflective of Anishinaabe and Dakota perspectives.
  • To increase capacity for SCO to address and resolve issues at a nation-to-nation level.

Long Term Goal

  • The Southern Chiefs Organization is proposing to develop a regional traditional governance model, as it transitions from an organization to become The United Anishinaabe and Dakota Nations.  SCO will work to restore original citizenship, language, laws, institutions, ceremonies, protocols, and procedures of governance and repair more than 150 years of colonization to fully restore the Anishinaabe Nation and the Dakota Nation.
  • The model developed will respect the autonomy of the 34 First Nations that comprise SCO and involve defining how individual First Nation decisions and processes intersect with regional decisions and processes.  This complex process of aggregation will require a multi-year phased approach and comprehensive community planning to create a shared future vision. 

Short Term Goal

Development of a strategic plan outlining what was heard from SCO member First Nations identifying nation level priority issues and actions, information obtained through research, future communication, and next steps.

The activities to support the development of the strategic plan include the following:

  • Review, analyze any prior Gatherings, including SCO Summits, for discussion and/or resolutions related to self-determination priority areas identified by First Nations.
  • Explore other jurisdictions for First Nation self-determination activities/models.
  • Consult with SCO First Nations to gather their thoughts on moving forward – determine their strengths and needs – determine their priority areas.
  • Acquire First Nation aspirations by holding other First Nation (Dakota and Anishinaabe) Gatherings, including:
    • Visits to SCO Member First Nations
    • Women’s Gathering
    • Youth Gathering
    • Urban meetings (Brandon, Winnipeg, Portage la Prairie)
    • Conduct surveys (Youth, Community, Leadership)
  • Draft strategic plan and present to SCO Chiefs at Nationhood Summit (2023) for review and modification.

Nation Rebuilding Team

Contact us at 1-866-876-9701 or 204-946-1869

Melissa Hotain, Director, Nation Rebuilding – Brandon Office

Myles Courchene, Sr. Policy Analyst – Winnipeg Office

Anderson Agbugba, Researcher – Winnipeg Office

Administrative Assistant – Brandon Office