Chiefs from across Canada gathered in Vancouver last week to work on a number of issues that are important to our communities. They came together to discuss and share their combined experience and expertise on issues such as housing, clean drinking water, health, justice, and more.
During this time, the Chiefs as well as other leaders heard from five strong First Nation candidates who were vying for the position of National Chief. They included Perry Bellegarde, Russ Diabo, Sheila North, Miles Richardson, and Katherine Whitecloud.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) sends congratulations to Perry Bellegarde on his re-election to the position of National Chief. The AMC also congratulates all candidates who put their names forward, but we especially want to acknowledge the two Manitoba candidates: Sheila North and Katherine Whitecloud. They have led with courage, strength, and wisdom. They have also brought honour and respect not only for themselves and their families/communities but have once again highlighted the leadership for which Manitoba is known.
Sheila North from the Bunibonibee Cree Nation is currently the Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO). Grand Chief North has a background in journalism, broadcasting, and communications. She became the first female Grand Chief of MKO in 2015 and has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls as well as northern and remote First Nation issues.
Katherine Whitecloud from the Wipazoka Wakpa Dakota Nation is a traditional knowledge keeper, a grandmother, and she has worked for the community for over 30 years in several roles, including Chief, Director of Education, CEO for the Assembly of First Nations, Executive Director of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
Elders and community members asked both women to run for the position of National Chief. It was clear from their speeches and statements that both North and Whitecloud take the advice of Elders and traditional people seriously.
“We completely support and bolster our women leaders. I’d like to thank both Sheila North and Katherine Whitecloud for sharing their wisdom and drawing on their connection to culture throughout their campaigns,” said Grand Chief Dumas. “I’d also like to commend the strength and integrity of these two strong women. These two leaders serve as role models to other young women who are thinking of running for any kind of political office, including Chief and Council.”
AMC also acknowledges the Chiefs of Manitoba who travelled to British Columbia to ensure that Manitoba’s presence was felt. Chiefs and proxies worked to ensure that Manitoba had a strong voice in all aspects of the election and the Assembly.
“In the end, we are all working for the betterment of our people,” stated Grand Chief Dumas. “The Chiefs and candidates have honoured the long legacy of leadership that Manitoba provides.”
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