The Southern Chiefs Organizations (SCO) in Manitoba recently elected Long Plain First Nation’s Jerry Daniels as its new leader.

Daniels, 34, was voted into the SCO office last week in elections held at Long Plain, replacing Terry Nelson. Daniels majored in economics, and has been involved in the past with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, National Friendship Centres and the Idle No More movement. He is the son of Long Plain Chief Dennis Meeches.

“It was a great day for Jerry,” Meeches says. “Obviously I’m very proud of his achievement. It’s kind of a rare thing to have a person as young as him to assume that office.”

“It will be a challenging job for him no doubt. It’s a big, big task,” continues Meeches. “…And over the years the (Southern Chiefs) office hasn’t had the best of luck in terms of Grand Chiefs. But I wish him well, and I think he’ll do a very good job. He’s got a lot of good political capital behind him and he’s worked towards that.”

Meeches says Daniels’ background in economics will help him prioritize economic development for different First Nations communities that are part of SCO.

“And that’s kind of where we want to key in on, creating jobs, creating a stronger indigenous economy,” Meeches explains. “For myself, I’ve always believed that is a big priority. As Chief of Long Plain, (I try) to create jobs, create wealth for the nation and a lot of the other stuff like health, education and housing will be supported by that.”

“Going forward, I think working with the SCO, there’s a lot of opportunities out there where the Grand Chiefs can support First Nations that are moving towards wanting to strengthen their economies.”

According to a CBC report, Daniels will serve a three-year term for SCO — which represents 32 First Nations from across Manitoba.

(Article courtesy of Portage Online)

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