MKO Mission Statement
“To maintain, strengthen, enhance, lobby for and defend the interests and rights of First Nation people within it’s jurisdiction and to promote, develop and secure a standard quality of life deemed desirable and acceptable by its First Nations without limiting the generality of the foregoing and the objectives of MKO” MKO Mission Statement, 1983
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.
Incorporated in 1981 as the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), MKO is a non-profit, political advocacy organization that provides a collective voice on issues of inherent, Treaty, Aboriginal and human rights for the citizens of the sovereign First Nations we represent. The MKO First Nations are signatory to Treaties 4, 5, 6 and 10.
MKO receives its mandate by resolution of the MKO Chiefs in General Assembly. The Grand Chief, elected for a three-year term, serves as the principal spokesperson. A regionally representative Executive Council of Chiefs provides ongoing direction between General Assemblies.
MKO Executive Council members also assume responsibility for directing work in specific portfolio areas. The MKO portfolios are:
- Education and Economic Development
- Child Welfare and Women
- Transportation and Capital
- Land Claims
- Treaty Land Entitlement
- Self-government, Treaty and Bill C-31;
- Natural Resources
- Social Development, Youth and Recreation
- Special Projects
MKO continues to explore ways to strengthen and promote the interests of First Nations by achieving autonomy and self-sufficiency with respect to all areas that affect the lives of Northern First Nations’ citizens. Our view is that the government powers of the MKO First Nations must be recognized as inherent and our governing systems must have an administrative branch or “civil service” to address the technical and program aspects of the First Nations governments. The full restoration of First Nations’ self-government in Northern Manitoba is envisioned by MKO as a three-part process:
- the repeal or amendment of The Indian Act and the dismantling of the federal government department of Indian and Northern Affairs;
- the transfer of federal and joint federal-provincial programs, services, and related funding allocations directly to First Nations in Manitoba; and
- most importantly, the legal recognition and extension of First Nations’ jurisdiction and self-governing authority over our traditional lands.
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak is the Cree equivalent of northern Manitoba Chiefs. Okimakanak means “made Chiefs,” or those persons who were chosen for the purposes of signing Treaty and who have been elected in subsequent years to govern the affairs of First Nations in a form consistent with the provisions of the federal Indian Act.