Journalist from Oxford House hoping to step into MKO grand chief role

Sheila North Wilson is making the switch from broadcasting to running for Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) grand chief.

North Wilson, originally from Bunibonibee Cree Nation, moved to Winnipeg when she was 15 to further her education. Two children and a husband later, her broadcasting career took off. In the beginning she worked for NCI Radio as a Cree radio announcer, then moved to CBC, then to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) to work as the chief communications officer, before eventually landing at CTV.

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In the past, the Oxford House native has been asked to run for chief or other positions, but never felt ready enough until now.

“I feel like now that I know the issues. I’ve known them since I was a little girl growing up in Oxford House, heard about them, lived through them all my life. Now I feel obligated in any way I can to address the concerns and find some of the opportunities that are out there.”

When asked what her priorities would be if elected as grand chief, North Wilson had a handful. “Housing, poverty, poor health, and of course we will work with our chiefs up there to get people in the government and policy-makers at the table to start addressing these issues that are ongoing.”

She also noted the implementation of treaties that were previously broken, and how she’d like to continue work with lands and resources and work on justice issues, including missing and murdered indigenous women.

North Wilson’s slogan is “supporting collective solutions for our north,” and she believes it’s time a woman runs the show. “The people behind me are saying it’s time for a woman to lead, because it’s the women that did all the planning, and the organizing in the home and community. They’re telling me it’s time to restore some of that order back.”

At the right time and place in her life North Wilson finished off by saying how excited she is for the chance to run, and how thankful she is that leaders approached her to take on this opportunity.

North Wilson was in The Pas this week for the AMC annual general assembly and then will continue on her campaign trail.

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