Urgent need to create a safer society for First Nations people
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2022
ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — On World Human Rights Day, the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is calling on all levels of government to work together to create a safer society for First Nations citizens.
SCO is urging all levels of government to find better ways to monitor the well-being of people on the streets of Winnipeg, particularly during extreme weather. This after an unresponsive woman, identified as 27-year-old Kayla Rae of the North Spirit Lake First Nation in northwestern Ontario, was found on the floor of a transit shelter on Monday as temperatures plummeted. She later died in hospital.
“First and foremost, I want to offer my deepest sympathy to the family and loved ones of Kayla Rae. Kayla’s life mattered,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “I also want to thank and honour the outreach workers who tried to resuscitate her in those frigid conditions. While the staff from various agencies are doing the very best they can, it’s painfully obvious that more needs to be done to protect the most marginalized people in the City of Winnipeg.”
This latest tragedy comes on the heels of a Winnipeg man being charged in connection with the deaths of four Indigenous women.
“How many more times do we have to learn about the death of another vulnerable person? Governments and leaders at all levels must work together to address the issues that lead to this kind of tragedy” questioned Grand Chief Daniels. “Ignoring glaring gaps in service for our urban relatives will continue to have deadly consequences.”
On World Human Rights Day, SCO is calling for a significant investment in the creation of multiple 24-hour mobile patrol units to monitor all parts of Winnipeg. SCO also advocates for the creation of more First Nation-led affordable housing and shelter spaces that are welcoming to all who need to access them.
SCO continues to receive supportive messages from allies who are wanting to support our relatives during these challenging times. SCO reminds the public that it is hosting a donation drive to benefit N’Dinawemak: Our Relatives’ Place. This is a 24-hour warming shelter in Winnipeg.
SCO is seeking donations of new socks and underwear along with a variety of warm clothing items until Friday, December 16. Donations can be dropped to 1572 Dublin Avenue in Winnipeg during SCO business hours. There is more information on our donation drive here.
“I ask our allies to continue to stand in support with us during the ongoing tragedies we are witnessing. We need your support to create a safer society for everyone. I am also asking all elected officials to challenge themselves to do everything they can to bring safety and dignity to every human being they represent,” concluded Grand Chief Daniels. “We cannot and should not accept another unnecessary death.”
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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