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June 3: Manitoba leaders react to the MMIWG inquiry’s final report, CTV News
Meantime Grand Chief Garrison Settee of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc., which represents a group of First Nations from northern Manitoba, responded to the release of the report by acknowledging families, survivors and members of the Two Spirit community impacted by the issue, as well as the spirits of those who went missing or were murdered. “First Nation, Inuit, and Metis women, girls, and Two Spirit individuals should be given every opportunity to thrive and grow in environments that are healthy and safe,” said Settee, saying their lives matter and MKO stands with advocates working toward positive change. MKO will hold community events in Thompson, Man., and in Winnipeg on June 10 and 11 for those who have been impacted by MMIQG “or who want to help move the recommendations forward.”
Anderson-Pyrz, who also works as manager of the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls liaison unit for Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, would like to see an Indigenous police force, which is one of the recommendations in the final report. “I’m not entirely satisfied in the Winnipeg Police’s handling of cases, there’s still some challenges and barriers there, but they are trying to do better,” she said. When it comes to training, 80 per cent of the service has been trained on Indigenous issues, said Smyth. The Winnipeg Police Service is aiming to hire more Indigenous officers and continue working with groups in the community to foster a better relationship, he said.
June 3: ‘We also need Canadians to acknowledge it’: Manitoba leaders respond to MMIWG report, Global News
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) – an advocacy group representing northern First Nations – released a similar statement Monday. “First Nation, Inuit, and Metis women, girls, and Two Spirit individuals should be given every opportunity to thrive and grow in environments that are healthy and safe. For decades, First Nations women, girls, and Two Spirit people have been powerful in their work towards making positive changes. “MKO will continue to stand with these advocates and will work with institutions to ensure the voices of Indigenous women and girls will continue to be heard.”
June 3: Indigenous leaders applaud MMIWG report, say it can’t ‘gather dust’, Canada.com
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) Grand Chief Garrison Settee said the lives of Indigenous women girls and two-spirit people matter. “First Nation, Inuit, and Metis women, girls, and Two-Spirit individuals should be given every opportunity to thrive and grow in environments that are healthy and safe,” Settee said. “For decades, First Nations women, girls, and Two-Spirit people have been powerful in their work towards making positive changes. MKO will continue to stand with these advocates and will work with institutions to ensure the voices of Indigenous women and girls will continue to be heard.”
June 10: MKO Welcomes MMIWG Commissioner Audet to Manitoba, Net Newsledger
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) is welcoming Michèle Audette, Commissioner with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), to Manitoba.
Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, manager of a Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak unit that supports families affected by MMIWG, welcomed the idea of a provincial task force. “Especially families in Northern Manitoba, when their loved one goes missing in the south, it’s very difficult,” she said. Part of Anderson-Pyrz’s work involves helping families navigate law enforcement to ensure photos of their loved ones get out to the public. Families do not always know which police agency to call if a relative goes missing far from home. “Those jurisdictional boundaries sometimes can make things difficult and slow the process of finding somebody who is missing,”
June 14: MLA Report, Thompson Citizen
I also want to thank Hilda Anderson-Pyrz and Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak for hosting a public forum in Thompson this week to share the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. This was an opportunity for affected family members and survivors to engage with inquiry commissioner Michelle Audette to determine how to implement the recommendations to ensure the safety of our society’s most vulnerable. I hope forums like this bring some comfort to families as we all work together to break the cycle of disconnectedness passed from one generation to another.
June 18: First Nations, province monitoring Thompson dam inspections, Winnipeg Free Press
Provincial and First Nations officials say they’re closely watching as Vale inspects the Thompson dams it has flagged for stability issues. “We know the company is working to protect the safety of citizens, our land, and our waterways,” Grand Chief Garrison Settee of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, which represents northern reserves, wrote in a press release. MKO did not specify how it’s working with Vale, but said it has a “partnership” to help ensure the dams around Thompson are safe. The Wall Street Journal reported last week on documents Vale issued to its shareholders, indicating at least one dam in Manitoba was not up to safety standards.
June 20: Manitobans will elect next provincial government Sept. 10, Thompson Citizen
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Grand Chief Garrison Settee said progress has been made over the last three years but that First Nations people need to reflect on whether the province has done enough to improve their quality of life. “I want to encourage First Nations people to get involved in this election, either by running as a candidate, volunteering to campaign for a candidate you support, or simply by getting out to the polling stations on Sept. 10 and casting a ballot,” said Settee in a news release. “Exercise your voice and get involved in this democratic election process here in Manitoba.”
June 20: UCN graduates honoured at first powwow in Wapanohk’s new arbour, Thompson Citizen
“We can do anything as Indigenous people,” said Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “We can get university degrees, we can get lawyers degrees, we can get doctor degrees, we can get teaching degrees because of who we are, our heart, our soul. It’s because we are a people of strength and power. Congratulations graduating class of 2019. You made us proud.”
To Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief Garrison Settee, these little displays are what makes National Indigenous Peoples Day so special, since it wasn’t long ago that there was a concerted effort to remove their culture from Canadian life. “For years and years they tried to eradicate our people … they tried to take away our languages, our songs and culture,” he said. “But today, in 2019, we are still here and we will always be here. We are not going anywhere.”
The layoffs and privatization of the service have also drawn fire from northern Manitoba First Nations. Garrison Settee, the grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, called the move “unacceptable” and “unsafe.” He worries that after the grounding of the province’s two Citation jets, a private service may use planes that won’t work in remote airstrips. “Private jets may be unable to land and safely take off from many of our First Nations — which means our citizens may be unable to access life-saving health services during times of medical distress,” Settee said in a statement. Read more:
During the ceremony’s Indigenous message, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief Garrison Settee said that these young people will also be tasked with making a series of important choices that will define the rest of their lives. “But one choice that you must make: choose not to be ordinary,” he said. “Choose to be extraordinary. Choose to be change makers. Choose to be game changers, because we need you. The future needs you.”
June 28: MLA Report, Thompson Citizen
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak hosted National Indigenous Peoples Day in Thompson last weekend celebrating thousands of years of local culture with elders, chiefs, band councillors, dignitaries and northerners. Thanks to MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee and Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Arlen Dumas, their organizations and others like them. Manitoba’s Indigenous culture is being preserved and promoted for everyone to celebrate and be proud of. This province can only succeed if Indigenous people can learn their history, live their culture, express themselves freely and are given the same opportunities to reach their potential as everyone else.