“I am honoured to recognize these remarkable individuals who continuously lift up our Nations.” – Grand Chief Daniels
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 22, 2023
ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — Today, the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is pleased and proud to announce our list of citizens who have received the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.
“On behalf of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization, I offer my sincere congratulations and gratitude to those who were honoured with the Platinum Jubilee Medal,” stated SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “As a result of their dedication to their Nations, they are improving the lives of their fellow citizens throughout our Territory, while creating a better Manitoba and Canada.”
The Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medals are awarded to individuals who dedicate themselves to serving their community. The medals mark the 70th anniversary of her late Majesty’s accession to the throne. The list of SCO medal recipients includes tireless leaders and champions for all First Nations.
“This announcement is just further corroboration of the strong connection our Nations have when it comes to sacred Treaties and relationships with the Crown,” said Chief Cornell McLean of Lake Manitoba First Nation. “Today, we acknowledge that longstanding relationship by recognizing very deserving recipients. I am honoured to receive an award alongside Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and leaders in a variety of fields.”
Recipients include Anishinaabe grandmother Mary Maytwayashing, Dakota youth leader Sophia Smoke, and former three-time National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Dr. Phil Fontaine, who negotiated the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
Dakota Elder Donna Pratt; Knowledge Keeper Lorraine Pompana; and Knowledge Keeper Josephine Hartin are being honoured alongside a range of leaders who have dedicated their lives to First Nations peoples and communities including Margaret Swan, first female Grand Chief of SCO; Loretta Ross, Treaty Relations Commissioner of Manitoba; and Dennis Meeches, former long-time Chief of Long Plain First Nation.
Community leaders and role models also being recognized include: Dr. Sandra Delaronde, long-time advocate on the national crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two spirit, and gender-diverse people; Dr. Lorena Sekwan Fontaine, professor at the University of Winnipeg, Fulbright Scholar, and long-time advocate for residential school survivors and Indigenous languages; Del Assiniboine, veteran, survivor, and leader of the Spirit Horse Singers; and Stanley Cup winner Zac Whitecloud of the Vegas Golden Knights. First Nation architects Reanna Merasty and Darian McKinney received medals for their leadership in a field with few First Nations people and their work to bring the Wehwehneh Bahgahkinahgohn project to life.
“All of these First Nation citizens have played pivotal roles in contributing to the well-being of their Nations and peoples,” added Grand Chief Daniels. “I am so proud to acknowledge their vast array of gifts and talents. I urge everyone to join us in celebrating their collective dedication to protecting, preserving, and promoting our cultures and quality of life.”
The medals were presented by the Lieutenant-Governor, Premier, and Grand Chief Daniels in a special ceremony on June 21 at the Manitoba Legislative Building.
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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