A well-known Winnipeg journalist has announced she will step away from her current career, and now has her sights set on the position of Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC).
“While AMC’s integrity and reputation have suffered over the recent years, I am prepared and willing to lead the way through which all its members can rebuild AMC into a credible, valid and reliable political voice that is truly representative of its members,” Sheila North said in a statement, announcing she would be stepping away from her current position as a reporter and anchor with CBC Manitoba, and will run for grand chief.
AMC currently represents and advocates for 62 First Nations in all corners of Manitoba, but the organization has dealt with scandal recently stemming from sexual assault allegations and a criminal complaint made against now former Grand Chief Arlen Dumas, who was removed from the position in August. No charges have been laid against Dumas, and no allegations have been tested in court.
North said along with wanting to restore AMC’s now tarnished reputation, she also wants to see the organization do more to build relationships at “all levels.”
“My overriding reason in running for this position is that I feel we, as First Nations, are at a critical time to reset our relationships and work towards unity for the greater good, to foster stronger relationships with people from other communities, organizations, and all levels and departments of governments,” North said.
North, who is a member of the Bunibonibee Cree Nation, formerly known as Oxford House First Nation, has a background in both journalism and politics, as she served as Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc., (MKO) an organization that represents more than two dozen northern Manitoba First Nations, from 2015 to 2018.
She has also run for leadership positions unsuccessfully in recent years, as she ran for AMC grand chief once before, in the spring of 2021, but was beaten out by Dumas, who was running as the incumbent at that time.
And she finished second to Perry Bellegarde in the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) election for national grand chief in 2018.
North is also well known for her work, both as a journalist and as an advocate, bringing attention to the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada.
North is trying to become the first woman to serve as grand chief of the AMC.
With Dumas ousted from the position, Lake Manitoba First Nation Chief Cornell McLean currently lead the AMC and is its deputy grand chief and the by-election to pick a permanent replacement for Dumas is scheduled for Oct. 25-27 in Winnipeg, with the winner taking on a three-year term.
— Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun