SCO’s 2020 Spring Equinox Day of Prayer

February 19, 2020

What is the Spring Equinox, and why should we celebrate it?

Spring is a time of rebirth, renewal, and a time of transition to let go of the old and plant new seeds. The spirit awakens from the cold of winter and seeks nourishment on many levels, as the warmth of the sun awakens those spirits within us. The increase in daylight hours warms us as it propels us make changes and move forward. It is about finding a way to exist in our reality as a new chapter begins.

While the spring equinox is celebrated and marked differently between cultures, observing the movements of the sun and moon and our connection to them creates a mutual awareness of the seasons, and for Indigenous peoples, one that reveres women, birth, and renewal.

The Spring Equinox (also known as the “vernal equinox”, or March Equinox) marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when the sun moves north across the celestial equator. The word equinox originated in Latin, and means “equality of night and day.” The equinox occurs at two specific moments in time when the sun is directly above the equator. The 2020 Spring Equinox in Winnipeg will occur at precisely 10:49 p.m. on March 19, 2020.

Southern Chiefs’ Organization would like to invite folks from all communities, religious denominations, and cultural groups. The 2020 SCO Day of Prayer will be celebrated this March 19, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at The Forks in the Oodena Celebration Circle. You are invited to come out and pray with us—hot beverages will be served!

Visit for our Facebook event.


Manitoba Government and Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Northern Airport and Ferry Operations

Premier Brian Pallister and Grand Chief Arlen Dumas, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to formalize discussions toward an agreement on the transfer of the province’s northern airports and marine operations to First Nations ownership and operation.

“The Manitoba government continues to support the creation of First Nations-led partnerships and ventures and this is the first formal step in developing a viable ownership model and sustainable business plan for a First Nations-led northern airports authority,” said Pallister. “Such an agreement would give First Nations independence in controlling the transportation infrastructure they depend on daily and benefit northern economies. This is a critical step toward furthering true reconciliation in Manitoba.”

The province’s Northern Airports and Marine Operations (NAMO) has a network of 23 airports and five marine facilities. The network covers an area of Manitoba from Selkirk north to Sayisi Dene First Nation and from Brochet east to Shamattawa First Nation. The northern airports and ferry infrastructure provides a lifeline for remote communities, as it enables the transportation of medical patients, essential supplies such as food and medication, and provincial service staff from several departments.

Throughout the negotiation process, the premier committed to maintaining this vital service at current or improved levels, and finding a solution that ensures uninterrupted, reliable and cost-effective services for all Manitobans who rely on them.

“The AMC leadership has been resolute for many years on the need for improved transport infrastructure, including air services, for our First Nations across our traditional territories,” said Dumas. “Discussions with government officials and representatives from the private sector on the creation of a Manitoba First Nations Airport Authority represent a critical first step towards First Nations control of air transport and marine infrastructure. On behalf of the AMC, I commend the premier and Province of Manitoba for their efforts at strengthening our relationship through economic reconciliation.”

Building on the sale of Grace Lake Airport near The Pas to Missinippi Airways in 2019, the province expanded its discussions with Indigenous partners through the AMC to consider transferring assets, ownership and operations of NAMO to the jurisdiction of Manitoba’s First Nations.

“The Barren Lands First Nation welcomes this important announcement as a sign of good faith by the Province of Manitoba,” said Chief John Clarke. “I applaud my colleagues within the AMC leadership for their vision and determination for First Nations-led transport independence, and recognize the political will of the government of Manitoba for joining us at the discussion table for joint planning on the way forward for Manitoba First Nations air transport infrastructure.”

The province and AMC will work diligently in the coming months in hopes of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement with a smooth transition of assets beginning this summer.

Information on AMC is available at

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Background Information

The Province of Manitoba is distributing this news release on behalf of
the government of Manitoba and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

For more information:

  • Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
  • Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
  • Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-945-4916.


Rail blockades should end now that RCMP have moved off disputed area of Wet’suwet’en territory, feds say – CityNews Winnipeg

Feb 20, 2020

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The Trudeau government believes the rail blockades across the country should be lifted, now that the B.C. RCMP has agreed to withdraw officers from a disputed area on the Wet’suwet’en territory.

The Mounties’ arrests of pipeline opponents who tried to block the construction of a Coastal GasLink natural gas line through the territory is what initially sparked solidarity blockades nation-wide, grounding most passenger and freight rail traffic to a halt.

“[The RCMP] have currently been deployed out of a structure on the roadway, about 22 kilometres down the road,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said of officers while on his way into a cabinet meeting Thursday morning. “They’re now going to deploy their officers from the nearby town of Houston, which is off the roadway.”

Blair said the RCMP officers will remain in the area in order to make sure no further barricades go up.

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Grand Chief Settee meets with new Chief and Council of Marcel Colomb First Nation

Feb 19, 2020

Grand Chief Garrison Settee met with the Chief and Council of Marcel Colomb First Nation on February 18, 2020, along with Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to discuss advocacy and ideas for addressing challenges that come with leadership positions in Northern Manitoba.

Grand Chief Settee congratulates recently-elected Chief Christopher Columb along with Councillors Evelyn Sinclair, Don McCallum, and Celestine Hart.


Indigenous Peoples Report Racism Surge as Wet’suwet’en Rail Blockades Grow – VICE

A Cree woman from Winnipeg went viral after posting a tearful video detailing racism she experienced last week.

Violet Baptiste, a Cree woman living in Winnipeg, says she was waiting for her bus after work when a group of white people—who she said were issuing racist commentary about the nearby Wet’suwet’en rally—ambushed her and started hurling racist, anti-Indigenous insults.

In a five-minute video that went viral, a teary-eyed Baptiste recounts the story, detailing several prejudicial comments allegedly issued at her.

Baptiste said that a pro-Wet’suwet’en rally, which took place on February 10, inspired the vitriol, because it forced several bus routes to change course, delaying commuters. Baptiste stood at her transit stop while others started venting about the Wet’suwet’en supporters.

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MFNERC sent copies of “Little Tree” by Cree author Natashia Moodie to all affiliated First Nations schools.

Little Tree is a children’s book that talks about the importance of taking care of the earth, water, and taking immediate action to reduce the effects of climate change.

“A young curious spruce tree, from the Boreal forest of northern Manitoba, longs to experience the world outside of his own roots. Through the help of a young First Nations Warrior named Strong Eagle Man, Little Tree learns the affects of climate change. Now, he is on a mission with Strong Eagle man to encourage immediate action to save the planet – before it’s too late.”


Winnipeg U: Curating around town

Three UWinnipeg history (honours) students, who are in the final year of UWinnipeg’s curatorial studies practice program, have jumped on the opportunity to put their theory into practice. Laura Bergen, Sonia Gaiess Somersal, and Adele Ruhdorfer have all contributed to public exhibits in the city.

“The practicum course is designed so students can succeed in the museum/art world,” said Dr. Serena Keshavjee, associate professor, history of art. “We aim to introduce some of the hard skills into the class, but the best way to figure out what you need to complete a job is to actually do it. This year it worked out that these incredibly bright students who have a critical lens had these incredible opportunities.”
Curating public medical history

As long as Bergen can remember, she has been interested in the history of medicine, as well as the aesthetics of curiosity cabinets. Bergen discovered she could combine her interests when she started working at a museum after high school curating medical history exhibits.

This time, Bergen was able to use her past experience and her continued interests to curate a public medical history exhibit at the Health Sciences Centre. She worked with the Health Sciences Centre’s Archives and Museum archivist, Emma Prescott, to create an exhibit that showcases a number of eye-catching anatomical models previously used at the hospital.

“It allowed me to shed light on a unique area of Winnipeg’s past through these previously hidden pieces,” shared Bergen, who is in her fourth year of studies. This exhibit can be seen until the end of March.
Curating conservation

Gaiess Somersal has been working with the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) conservator, Vitaliy Yatsevych. In her first week she helped install the Kent Monkman show, Shame and Prejudice. She now works in the conservation lab at the WAG assisting in treatments, and preparing outgoing art piece loans.

She also was given her own project.

“I’m currently working on recreating a missing tail and fin for an Inuit sculpture of a beluga whale.,” said Gaiess Somersal. “Once completed, this piece will be kept for educational purposes.”

Gaiess Somersal is also in her fourth year. She began her studies at the University of Prince Edward Island. Once she completes her BA at UWinnipeg, she plans to pursue the Material Conservation program at Queen’s University.
Curating experiences with disability

Ruhdorfer’s practicum placement is at UWinnipeg‘s Gallery 1C03, with curator Jennifer Gibson as her mentor. Ruhdorfer has been immersed in courses that deal with ableism, and so she invited artists who identify as disabled to the exhibition. The result is Gallery 1Co3’s exhibit, Yearning for Comfort, Not Cure, that ran from January 9 – February 8, 2020. The exhibit featured work by six artists who explore their varied embodied experiences with disability, chronic illness, and madness, which are materialized and given form through the labour-intensive processes of performance, craft-based, and digital media.

UWinnipeg’s curatorial studies practice program gives students an excellent foundation in both the academic and professional aspects of gallery and museum work. The mixture of theoretical and practical courses introduce students to critical issues in the study of visual cultures. The practicum is cross-listed between an honours history degree and a master’s program, which allows undergraduate students like Bergen, Gaiss Somersal, and Ruhdorfer to gain experience and make professional contacts in this field.

Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7130, E:


3rd Annual SCO Youth Gathering

February 18, 2020

The Southern Chiefs’ Organization and Youth Council are proud to announce our 3rd Annual SCO Youth Gathering taking place from Friday, March 27th – Monday, March 30th, 2020 in Winnipeg, MB.

*This is the application form to attend the gathering and does not guarantee you a registered spot.

Registered participants will be staying at the Viscount Gort Hotel, 1670 Portage Ave, Winnipeg, MB R3J 0C9. All participants under 18 years old will require a MANDATORY chaperone who agrees to assume SCO outlined responsibilities for themselves and the underage youth during the registration process. All chaperones must be at least 23 years of age. Chaperones will be sharing accommodations and travel with their registered youth.

The gathering will include keynote speakers from Indigenous and government leaders from across Manitoba. Programming and workshops will include important issues and themes such as MMIWG, restorative justice, climate change, water protection, cultural teachings, and self-defense. For those interested, there is also a full day of Red Cross training taking place on Monday, March 30th.

SCO Youth Council elections for regional representatives and Youth Chiefs will take place at this meeting!

*SCO will subsidize two youth from every southern First Nations member community to attend. Accommodations, meals, programming, and tickets to the Manitoba Moose game are provided for registered youth! There is a shared travel pool, and transportation will be subsidized for one vehicle per community, so we encourage carpooling to maximize resources and reduce carbon footprint. Registration is first-come, first-serve. Spaces are limited to 2 youth per community to be fair and inclusive. We will assess opening availability further at a later time in registration. Spaces are limited.

If you are selected we will contact you and will require you to sign a Roles and Responsibilities agreement.

For more information please contact:, or call (204) 946-1869

Here is the link to the application form to attend the 3rd Annual SCO Youth gathering:

Please fill this out and submit, then wait to hear back from organizers.

Facebook event page and updates can be found here:

Miigwetch!! / Pidamaye do!!


Manitoba RCMP search for information in relation to the homicide of Bobbie Lynn Moose

February 18, 2020

his week, officers from Major Crime Services, Thompson Detachment, Thompson General Investigation Section, and North District Crime Reduction Enforcement Team, will be in Thompson to canvass residents and to take additional statements from people who may have seen Bobbie Lynn Moose of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation in the days prior to her death.

Bobbie, 29, was last seen by family in Thompson at the Walmart on Mystery Lake Road, on October 1, 2019. She was found deceased by a member of the public on October 17, 2019, near Nelson Road in Thompson, Manitoba.

In an effort to gain more information about Bobbie’s time in Thompson, over 90 RCMP officers and employees have:

  • Spoken with over 1500 people through canvassing neighbourhoods and areas frequented by Bobbie.
  • Taken statements from 190 people.
  • Obtained video from 64 locations in Thompson and collected 52,560 hours of video surveillance.
  • Distributed pamphlets requesting information to every residence in Thompson (over 4,000).
  • Distributed an additional 1000 pamphlets, in Cree, requesting information throughout Thompson and surrounding communities.
  • Placed posters in English and Cree requesting information in locations throughout Thompson and in every northern detachment.
  • Aired a plea, in both English and Cree, over radio stations in Thompson and surrounding First Nation communities.

“Our efforts to find the person or persons responsible for taking Bobbie’s life will not diminish” said Corporal Morgan Page, the lead Major Crime Services investigator. “We will continue to do everything we can to solve this homicide but we need the help of the public. If you know anything about what happened to Bobbie, please contact the RCMP.”

The RCMP believes that someone has details about Bobbie’s time in Thompson between October 1st and October 17th, 2019. Anyone with information regarding Bobbie’s activities in Thompson during this time is asked to contact Thompson RCMP at 204-677-6909. Anonymous tips can be made to CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or secure tip online at



Legion donates funds to assist student’s quest to compete in the North American Indigenous Games – Thompson Citizen

February 18, 2020

The Thompson Royal Canadian Legion presented a $500 cheque on Feb. 14 to Grade 8 student Emma Carnegie, who will be competing in swimming at the 2020 North American Indigenous Games in Halifax this July 11-18.

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