SCO to host Survivors’ Healing Gathering in Winnipeg on February 27 and 28, 2023

Press Release

February 8, 2023

“Mino-si-toon Wichozani” is an opportunity to gather and heal together in a safe space

ANISHINAABE AND DAKOTA TERRITORY, MB — The Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) is pleased to present “Mino-si-toon Wichozani,” the first annual SCO Survivors’ Healing Gathering taking place at the RBC Convention Centre in Treaty One territory on February 27 and 28, 2023.

“The Southern Chiefs’ Organization is pleased to invite SCO Survivors to join us at the end of February at the Convention Centre in Winnipeg for our first ever Survivors’ Healing Gathering,” shared Grand Chief Jerry Daniels. “We will be creating space for Survivors to come together to learn, share, and heal.”

In Anishinaabemowin, the word “Mino-si-toon” means “putting things right” or “doing things in a good way.” In Dakota, the word “Wichozani” means “healing.” SCO thanks the Elders and Survivors involved in the planning for sharing these words with us. SCO is using these two words together to indicate our movement forward in our lives and that we are putting things in a good way on our healing journey.

Our gathering was developed with southern First Nation Survivors of the residential school and day school system, the Sixties Scoop, the child welfare system, and for all those impacted by the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women, girls, two spirit, and gender-diverse people. The two-day event is free of charge.

“Survivors will find supports and healing activities available all day on both days of the healing gathering. The purpose of the gathering is to put the Survivors in the center. SCO is working to ensure the Survivors will feel supported and cared for throughout the gathering,” said Martina Fisher, a residential school Survivor and SCO’s Residential School and Day School Liaison. “There will be an Elder’s lounge and a healing room. Along with spaces for healing and self-care, we will be enjoying meals together along with keynote speakers, panel discussions, and information sessions on a variety of topics important to Survivors.”

Keynote speakers include Dr. Phil Fontaine, citizen of Sagkeeng Anicinabe First Nation, residential school Survivor, and negotiator of the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, which established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada; Kevin Chief, citizen of Pine Creek First Nation, former provincial Cabinet Minister, and founder of the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre; the Honourable Senator Michele Audette, Innu from Uashat mak Mani-Utenam, long time MMIWG2S+ advocate, and former Commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; and Sixties Scoop Survivor, Volunteer Director of the 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada, and advocate Katherine Strongwind.

There will be panel discussions and information sessions on a range of topics, including reclaiming our traditional teachings; how to apply for a status card; how to access child and family services files for Sixties Scoop Survivors; presentations on harm reduction and on grief and loss; Elder and Grandmother teachings; language workshops, medicine doll making (a healing exercise); as well as orange shirt and red dress beading workshops. There will also be a presentation sharing preliminary results from SCO’s survey about the priorities of residential school Survivors.

“I am pleased SCO is hosting an event to support the ongoing healing work that is needed for Survivors,” shared Margaret Swan, a Survivor of the day school system and one of the original lead plaintiffs for the Day School Settlement Agreement. “As someone who works in child welfare, every day I see the ongoing and lasting intergenerational impacts that have been caused by the day school and residential school experiences. I encourage all SCO Survivors to join us on February 27 and 28 as we move forward in a good way on our collective healing journey.”

While there will be opportunities for learning and networking, there will also be activities to support healing. Juno-nominated musician Don Amero is performing on February 27 and renowned artist Jackie Traverse, a citizen of Lake St. Martin First Nation, will be doing a live painting each day of the gathering.

SCO acknowledges the Elders and Knowledge Keepers who have supported the development of this event, along with the Survivors’ Healing Support Team for their ongoing work to organize this special event.

Supports for Survivors will be available throughout the gathering.

There is no cost to register and the event is open to all. Space is limited, so sign up soon. Please register here by February 20, 2023.

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The Southern Chiefs’ Organization represents 34 First Nations and more than 83,000 citizens in what is now called southern Manitoba. SCO is an independent political organization that protects, preserves, promotes, and enhances First Nations peoples’ inherent rights, languages, customs, and traditions through the application and implementation of the spirit and intent of the Treaty-making process.

For media inquiries:

Email: Media@scoinc.mb.ca

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