MKO sets First Nations-led health and wellness initiative for Northern Manitoba in motion

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) chiefs released a statement regarding the establishment of Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc., “a First Nations Aggregate Entity to Support Health Transformation for The North.”

The Treaty Five Territory MKO Chiefs Task Force on Health signed the first bylaw of the aggregate entity during the MKO Chiefs’ Special Assembly on Health, which was held Jan. 22-23.

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MKO says that Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin, which means “Northern Peoples Wellness,” aspires to improve the health and wellness of First Nations in Northern Manitoba.”

MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee is committed to the monumental task.

“There are many, many health issues for our northern people—our elders and our children—who are extraordinarily burdened with less access to services, who are often in peril and forced to travel out of their home communities due to these well-known, long-standing northern access issues,” he explained in the statement. “This week, the northern chiefs have made history. We are optimistic about the possibilities for real health transformation with the creation of the Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc. We will develop the necessary partnerships and we will improve services and access to health services while continuing to hold the federal and provincial health systems and other systems to account.”

The establishment of an aggregate entity enables health and wellness solutions that “set in motion First Nations-led transformation through a three-part governance structure that will include the Keewatinohk Inniniw Okimowowin Council of First Nations elected leaders; six First Nations regional caucuses; and a highly qualified, culturally proficient, and caring board of directors.”

 The Treaty Five Territory MKO Chiefs Task Force on Health includes Norway House Cree Nation Chief Larson Anderson (chair), Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation Chief Marcel Moody (vice-chair), God’s Lake First Nation Chief Gilbert Andrews, Northlands First Nation Chief Simon Denechezhe and Chemawawin Cree Nation Chief Clarence Easter.

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