SCO Celebrates Historic Moment for First Nations and the Province of Manitoba

October 4, 2023

“We express much pride in Wab Kinew being elected
the first First Nations Premier-designate of Manitoba” – Grand Chief Daniels


ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — Today, the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is offering congratulations to leader Wab Kinew and the Manitoba New Democratic Party (NDP) on forming the next provincial government. Kinew, who is Anishinaabe and a citizen of the Onigaming First Nation, becomes the first First Nations Premier-designate for the Province of Manitoba, and the first First Nations premier in Canada.

“I said from the moment the writ was dropped, that this election provided a huge opportunity for the citizens of SCO member Nations to have their voices heard,” stated SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “With an Anishinaabe man now elected as Premier-designate, it’s clear that our peoples had a significant impact on the final results. First Nations have a strength-based culture and we commend the majority of voters for rejecting the divisive campaign of the Progressive Conservatives.”

Going into the provincial campaign, SCO highlighted several key issues for our Nations, including the affordable housing crisis; decreasing racism in the health care, policing, and correctional systems; and creating changes that improve the lives of our citizens. SCO will also hold Premier-designate Kinew to his promise to support a search of the landfill for our murdered sisters.

SCO reminds the new government of its’ duty to live up to the Path to Reconciliation Act, which serves as a guide on how it conducts business, and specifically that it includes First Nations peoples at the decision-making tables. SCO will ensure that our provincial Treaty partner respects, engages, and understands our vital role in the day-to-day running of this land that we all share.

“For far too long, our Nations in southern Manitoba have been neglected and even ignored by the province,” added Grand Chief Daniels. “I am excited at the opportunity to forge a new and respectful relationship with the Kinew government. I know we both share a common goal of protecting and enhancing our peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions, along with creating positive health and economic outcomes for our Nations and for all people living in Manitoba.”

SCO acknowledges outgoing Premier Heather Stefanson, and we thank her and all citizens who serve through elected roles, and also those who play an active role in democracy and run for office.

“For now, I want to bask in this moment with all our relations. Manitoba voters have made a significant show of support for truth and reconciliation,” concluded Grand Chief Daniels. “Up until now, I could only imagine what it would be like to have a First Nations person in the Premier’s chair. This morning, that dream is a reality!”


The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 85,500 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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