“We now have the capacity to reach more southern First Nation citizens impacted by this national tragedy.”-Grand Chief Daniels
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 8, 2023
ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB —
Today, on International Women’s Day, the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is pleased to announce the creation of a team dedicated to missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two spirit, and gender-diverse people (MMIWG2S+).
“Today, we are announcing that we are now able to increase our supports for MMIWG2S+. The Southern Chiefs’ Organization is in a better situation to assist our member Nations to respond to the ongoing state of emergency regarding our missing and murdered loved ones,” said SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “I want to acknowledge our Chiefs for their ongoing advocacy on this issue. I also commend our federal Treaty partner, in particular the Ministers of Indigenous Services Canada along with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, for partnering with us on this vital initiative.”
There is an ever-present and growing necessity for tangible support, tools, and advocacy for the families and loves ones of our MMIWG2S+ relatives. This was made painfully evident this past year, with news of the murders of four Indigenous women: Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman). These women were taken by an alleged serial killer in Winnipeg and three of the four women were citizens of SCO member Nations.
“There is a such a stark and demonstrated demand to increase the range of culturally appropriate, responsive, and trauma-informed supports and services for First Nation peoples in southern Manitoba, specifically for women, girls, two spirit, and gender-diverse individuals,” stated Chief Lola Thunderchild of the Canupawakpa Dakota Nation. “I am pleased that SCO is in the position to create a new model of support for Anishinaabe and Dakota women, girls, two spirit, and gender-diverse people in southern Manitoba that is tailored to respond to their distinct needs.”
SCO has been a Manitoba Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Coalition partner since its inception and is one of the signatories to the Coalition as a Party with Standing before the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The 231 Calls for Justice stemming from the National Inquiry’s final report are legal imperatives rooted in Canada’s obligations under international and domestic human rights law. SCO is also now part of the Manitoba MMIWG2S+ Implementation Committee as a founding member.
Today’s announcement will give SCO the resources needed to amplify the work that is already taking place following the creation of an MMIWG2S+ Liaison position in October 2022. SCO will begin this next stage by consulting and engaging with families and Survivors of MMIWG2S+. The work will include, but is not limited to:
· Advocating for families within various police services (Winnipeg Police Service, RCMP, etc.) and the judicial system, including legal support for women applying for protection orders
· Creating tangible policy and process options and change needed to implement the 231 Calls to Justice
· Coordinating and supporting gatherings, events, and ceremonies when requested by families and communities.
“One of my foundational mandates is to ensure that SCO is able to provide culturally responsive, trauma-informed, and appropriate supports in all of our programs and services,” concluded Grand Chief Daniels. “I look forward to working with our new MMIWG2S+ support team, as they work to end this national tragedy.”
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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