Restoring Inherent Jurisdiction: Advocating for Northern First Nations at MKO’s 38th Annual General Assembly

Community Submission

Left to right: Opaskwayak Cree Nation’s (OCN) Chief Sinclair, OCN Junior Chief April Harris, Grand Chief Garrison Settee, OCN Councillor William Lathlin, and OCN Vice-Chief Jennifer Flett gather in OCN during the MKO Annual General Assembly. Grand Chief Settee thanks the OCN community for welcoming the MKO Assembly in Treaty Five Territory from August 13 to 15, 2019.
Left to right: Opaskwayak Cree Nation’s (OCN) Chief Sinclair, OCN Junior Chief April Harris, Grand Chief Garrison Settee, OCN Councillor William Lathlin, and OCN Vice-Chief Jennifer Flett gather in OCN during the MKO Annual General Assembly. Grand Chief Settee thanks the OCN community for welcoming the MKO Assembly in Treaty Five Territory from August 13 to 15, 2019.

Treaty Five Territory, Opaskwayak Cree Nation, MBManitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) has wrapped up its 38th Annual General Assembly today in Opaskwayak Cree Nation in Manitoba. The Assembly is an opportunity for leaders from 26 First Nations to come together to work on issues of concern to Northern communities.

“I am so inspired by the work that was completed at our Assembly this week. I thank the leadership for taking time out of their busy schedules to meet and provide direction to MKO on the advocacy work we need to carry out in the coming year,” says Grand Chief Garrison Settee.

Chiefs-in-Assembly unanimously passed 10 resolutions throughout the week. The resolutions are as follows:

  • Termination of airport searches by Northern Airport and Marine Operations, Manitoba Infrastructure
  • Canada Post monitoring of incoming mail to remote and isolated communities
  • Keeyask Generating Station construction sexual harassment and sexual assault incident
  • National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Calls for Justice
  • The Centre for Aboriginal Human Resources Development (Urban Indigenous human resources training model for Thompson)
  • MKO to secure funding for the foundational strategy
  • Medical transportation
  • Bill C-31
  • Health as a Treaty right
  • Amendments to the Constitution of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.

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, fisheries, airports, skills and employment training, and more.

Representatives from the RCMP, the University College of the North, First Nations of Northern Manitoba Child and Family Services Authority, the Artic Gateway, Perimeter Aviation, Indigenous Services Canada, and the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch also attended the Assembly to provide updates and information to the leadership.

“It’s been one year since I’ve been in my role as Grand Chief of MKO and I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead positive changes when it comes to jurisdictional issues for First Nations,” stated Grand Chief Settee. “Northern leaders are clearly unified on common issues of concern when it comes to reasserting our jurisdiction over our lands, children, and culture.”

MKO’s Annual Report provides updates on MKO’s work during the 2018-2019 fiscal year and was released during the Assembly. Anyone interested in reading it can download a copy from our website here.