Former Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak grand chief and longtime CBC and CTV journalist Sheila North is seeking to lead the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.
North, who served as MKO grand chief from 2015 to 2018, is running for election as AMC grand chief for the second time. She also ran for the position in the spring of 2021 but was beaten out by incumbent Arlen Dumas, who was stripped of the leadership this summer as a result of an AMC investigation into sexual harassment and sexual misconduct allegations that were made against him.
North finished second to Perry Bellegarde in the Assembly of First Nations election for national grand chief in 2018.
A member of Bunibonibee Cree Nation at Oxford House, North also spent as time as the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs communications officer and is well-known for her journalism about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
“My overriding reason in running for this position is that I feel we, as First Nations, are at a critical time to reset our relationships and work towards unity for the greater good, to foster stronger relationships with people from other communities, organizations, and all levels and departments of governments,” North said in a Sept. 21 press release announcing her candidacy. “While AMC’s integrity and reputation have suffered over the recent years, I am prepared and willing to lead the ways through which all its members can rebuild AMC into a credible, valid and reliable political voice that is truly representative of its members. We all understand the value of the impact this can have, from each individual First Nation to each individual family and its members. We must work at this for it means facilitating the empowerment of our people’s voices as united fronts.”
The AMC represents 62 of 63 Manitoba First Nations, whose chiefs elect the grand chief. The byelection to select Dumas’s replacement will be held Oct. 25-27 in Winnipeg and the winner will hold the position for a three-year term.
In addition to Dumas, a member of Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, Ron Evans of Norway House Cree Nation is the other northerner to have served as AMC grand chief, in back-to-back terms from 2005-2011.