“You have accomplished something that is so tremendous. You have now become warriors, sky warriors, for our people. For that I am very proud.

Your courage and determination have got you to this point in your life.”

~Grand Chief Garrison Settee

On Monday, September 26, 2022, Grand Chief Garrison Settee was grateful to attend a ceremony for the graduates of the Atik Mason Indigenous Pilot Pathway in Thompson, Manitoba. Eleven participants graduated from the program and received their private pilot’s license.

The students who went through the program are:

  1. Nathan Beardy, Pimicikamak Cree Nation
  2. Noah Campeau, Sapotaweyak Cree Nation
  3. Kyla Flett, St. Theresa Point
  4. Jonas Flett, St. Theresa Point
  5. Virgil Harper, Wasagamack First Nation
  6. Sharon Lavallee, Winnipeg
  7. Bryson Lavallee, Opaskwayak Cree Nation
  8. Amber Michell, Mosakahiken First Nation
  9. Clarence Paupanekis, Pimicikamak Cree Nation
  10. Tia Scott, Pimicikamak Cree Nation
  11. Dion Zack Wood, St. Theresa Point

The Atik Mason Indigenous Pilot Pathway is a program that provides Indigenous community members with the opportunity to learn to fly and build careers as professional pilots in Northern Manitoba. The Exchange Income Corporation (EIC) sponsors this opportunity so there is no cost to the participants.

“I want to thank EIC for allowing this dream and this vision for our people to accomplish the feat of becoming Indigenous pilots. I want to thank them for the investment in these 11 warriors that stand before us because, truly, that investment has been worth it,” shared Grand Chief Settee.

MKO recognizes EIC for developing this program to ensure there are more opportunities to hire Indigenous pilots in Northern Manitoba, which aligns with Call #92 from the Calls to Action set out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

92. We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources.

This would include, but not be limited to, the following:

i. Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.

ii. Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.

iii. Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

For more information on the Atik Mason Indigenous Pilot Pathway, please visit: https://mkonation.com/atikmasonindigenouspilotpathway.

All photos by Moose Tree Photography.