Historic MOU Signed: Southern Chiefs & Winnipeg METRO Region Mayors & Reeves
March 1, 2019 – Municipal leaders of the Winnipeg METRO Region (WMR) and the Chiefs of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) made history on Friday March 1, 2019 at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site in St. Andrews, Manitoba - the location of the historic signing of Treaty 1 in 1871, 148 years ago. The 25 elected leaders working together in the Collaborative Leadership Initiative (CLI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding recognizing the considerable political value of First Nation and municipal governments formally agreeing to work together on common goals and interests.
“This is the first ever Indigenous-municipal government MOU signed with this many partners anywhere that we know of,”
said Brad Erb, Co-Chair of the WMR, “In the spirit of reconciliation and re-building trust between our governments, this demonstrates our commitment to working together.”
This was the fourth gathering of the CLI, facilitated by the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER) which began in October 2017 when a number of the Chiefs of SCO and mayors and reeves of the WMR met for breakfast and agreed that the status quo was not good enough. The assembled CLI leadership agreed that they needed a better way forward - a collaborative and strategic approach towards reconciliation based on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In addition to shared interests and overlapping territories between First Nations and municipalities, the leaders recognized a critical need for building positive relationships, identifying common interests and barriers, dispelling myths and providing critical fact-based information for decision-making and coordination. The leadership involved committed to these four collaboration sessions that were designed to transform relationships and establish trust.
“Through the CLI, we have created a strong platform to further build our relationship by sharing the priorities and needs of our communities with each other,”
said Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of SCO, “By signing the MOU on Friday, we are formalizing our relationship, as two levels of government. This enables us to progressively lead our communities toward shared prosperity, sustainable economic development and healthy lands and waters, working with other levels of government and the business sector”.