Two offer names in election for SCO grand chief

Southern Manitoba chiefs will go to the ballot box this month to elect their next grand chief, and the choice will come down to the incumbent or a former chief who was ousted from her job late last year.

On Tuesday, the Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO) an organization that represents 34 Manitoba First Nations announced their election for grand chief will be held in Winnipeg on June 25.

Running in the election will be Jerry Daniels, who has held the role of SCO grand chief since first being elected in 2017, and acclaimed for a second term in 2020. When he was acclaimed in 2020, Daniels was the only SCO grand chief to ever run uncontested in the organization’s history.

But Daniels will have competition as he seeks a third term, as former Long Plain First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson joins the race.

Both Daniels and Wilson are members of the Long Plain First Nation, and Wilson was elected as only the second female chief of the community that borders the city of Portage la Prairie in April of 2022.

But Wilson did not complete a first term as she was ousted from the job in 2023, after some questioned the validity of her election victory because of a snowstorm on the day of the election, and a committee ordered that a new by-election be called where David Meeches was elected chief of Long Plain.

Chiefs from the 34 SCO communities receive one vote each and all votes will be by secret ballot. A candidate must obtain a majority vote of 50% plus one to be named grand chief.

— 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