For immediate release
January 23, 2020
Treaty Five Territory, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak’s (MKO) Chiefs Task Force on Health has signed the first bylaw of the Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc. during the MKO Chiefs’ Special Assembly on Health, which was held on January 22 and 23, 2020.
Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc., which means “Northern Peoples Wellness,” will work to support the health and wellness priorities identified by First Nations in Northern Manitoba.
“There are many, many health issues for our Northern people—our Elders and our children—who are extraordinarily burdened with less access to services, who are often in peril and forced to travel out of their home communities due to these well-known, long-standing Northern access issues,” stated Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “This week, the Northern Chiefs have made history. We are optimistic about the possibilities for real health transformation with the creation of the Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc. We will develop the necessary partnerships and we will improve services and access to health services while continuing to hold the federal and provincial health systems and other systems to account.”
The new health entity will set in motion First Nations-led transformation through a three-part governance structure that will include the Keewatinohk Inniniw Okimowowin Council of First Nations elected leaders; six First Nations regional caucuses; and a highly qualified, culturally proficient, and caring board of directors.
MKO acknowledges the MKO Chiefs Task Force on Health members who guided the development of the governance structure with technical support from the MKO health team. The Chiefs Task Force on Health are:
- Chair, Chief Larson Anderson, Norway House Cree Nation
- Vice Chair, Chief Marcel Moody, Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation
- Chief Gilbert Andrews, God’s Lake First Nation
- Chief Simon Denechezhe, Northlands First Nation
- Chief Clarence Easter, Chemawawin Cree Nation