For immediate release
September 25, 2020

Grand Chief Settee presents a gift to Onekanew Sinclair of Opaskwayak Cree Nation

Grand Chief Settee presents a gift to Onekanew Sinclair of Opaskwayak Cree Nation

Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MBManitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. held its 39th Annual General Assembly last week in Opaskwayak Cree Nation in Manitoba. The Assembly was an opportunity for leaders from 26 First Nations to come together to work on issues of concern to Northern communities.

“This has been one of the most challenging years for First Nations as we were forced to shift our focus to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” shared Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “I thank the leaders who made time to spend time together last week to work on issues of importance to MKO First Nations. I also want to send my gratitude to the pandemic response team at the Opaskwayak Cree Nation for working closely with MKO to ensure the Assembly was carried out in way to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.”

Chiefs-in-Assembly passed three resolutions at the Assembly. The resolutions are as follows:

  • Establishing a Permanent RCMP Detachment in the Northlands Denesuline First Nation
  • Support for 2020 Western Treaty Nations NRTA Summit
  • Homelessness for MKO First Nation members on and off reserve
Chief Kennedy and Chief Ducharme

Chief Betsy Kennedy and Chief Shirley Ducharme at the Assembly

Besides passing resolutions, leaders received updates on the important work MKO is doing to advocate for Northern communities in areas such as health, mental wellness, traditional healing, crisis response services, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, child welfare, and more.

Representatives from the Artic Gateway and the Government of Canada also attended the Assembly to provide updates and information to the leadership via webcast. The Annual General Assembly was limited to a maximum of 50 participants to respect COVID protocols put in place by the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Other measures were put in place to protect both the delegates and community members, such as daily temperature checks, hand sanitizing, mandatory mask wearing, and physical distancing.

“It’s been over two years since I’ve been in my role as Grand Chief of MKO and I’m grateful for the opportunity to advocate for First Nations,” stated Grand Chief Settee. “Northern leaders are clearly unified on common issues of concern when it comes to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and taking all steps they can to protect MKO citizens. At the same time, leaders continue to push for improvements in their communities to address underlying concerns around lack of infrastructure, education, health, wellness, child welfare, policing, justice, and in many other areas.”

MKO annual reportMKO’s Annual Report provides updates on MKO’s work during the 2019-2020 fiscal year and was released during the Assembly. Anyone interested in reading it can download a copy from our website here.

The final adopted resolutions will be available on this webpage in the near future.