June is National Indigenous History Month. At Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc., we are proud to represent 26 Northern Cree and Dene First Nations. Our First Nations have a rich cultural history and have lived on Turtle Island for time immemorial.

You may be aware that First Nations people lived through generations of policies and programs that have negatively impacted the overall wellness of our communities. Some examples include the residential school system, the day school system, and the Sixties Scoop.

Despite the many difficulties First Nations have encountered, we always persevere. We come from a long line of strong warriors who protected the land and worked to ensure the health and wellness of future generations. Traditional knowledge has been passed on through generations via storytellers, Medicine People, Elders, and other relatives.

Today we are working to reclaim and honour our traditional knowledge. We are proud speakers of our First Nations languages. In the political advocacy we carry out at MKO, we continue to pay attention to the spiritual element of this work we are doing and keep ourselves grounded through ceremony and through spending time on the land.

“During National Indigenous History Month, I want to encourage all of the people who are working for the betterment of our future generations to maintain your strength and keep going,” stated Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “Living in a colonized environment is not an easy thing to do, however, I am encouraged by the many up and coming leaders who are constantly striving to create a better world for Indigenous peoples. Let’s continue to work together in unity as we navigate our way forward through the COVID-19 pandemic. I take this moment to send warm wishes for good health to all MKO citizens during National Indigenous History Month.”