June 21st is Canada’s National Indigenous Peoples Day. Although many celebrations, gatherings continue to be on hold due to COVID-19. Virtual events will occur to acknowledge the day in Manitoba and the rest of Canada. The day raises awareness to the three Indigenous Peoples groups in Canada: the First Nations, Inuit and Metis, and celebrates their distinct cultures, languages and unique traditions.
Prairie Mountain Health spans an area from the 53rd parallel in the north to the United States border in the south and from the Saskatchewan border across to Lake Manitoba to the east. It covers an area of 64,800 square kilometres.
This land is defined as the traditional territories of the Cree, Dakota, Ojibway, Oji-Cree and homelands of the Métis. Acknowledging traditional territories and treaties confirms recognition and respect for the Indigenous populations, past and present.
There are 14 First Nation communities situated in the geographical area of PMH. The First Nation communities of Ebb & Flow, Keeseekoowenin, O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi and Skownan are signatory to Treaty # 2 that was signed in 1871. Gambler First Nation, Pine Creek, Rolling River, Sapotaweyak Cree Nation, Tootinaowaziibeeng, Waywayseecappo and Wuskwi Sipihk are signatory to Treaty # 4 that was signed in 1874.
The Dakota First Nation communities of Birdtail Sioux, Sioux Valley and Canupawakpa are not a part of the numbered treaties. However, they are recognized as having occupation of territories within Manitoba and have secured alliances and arrangements with the Crown.
The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) is represented by seven regions with a provincial Métis population of well over 120,000. The MMF-Southwest and MMF-Northwest regions are within the boundaries of PMH with a small pocket of several northern Métis Locals/communities affiliated to MMF’s The Pas Region.
On behalf of Prairie Mountain Health, we send greetings and well wishes to the Indigenous populations of this area for National Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday, June 21, 2021.
A message from PMH CEO Brian Schoonbaert