The Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle calls upon Premier Heather Stefanson and the Foundations to review recent funding for non-Indigenous organizations.

Today, the Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle (WIEC) published a statement indicating its disappointment in the government favouring a church-based organization over an Indigenous-led organization.

On October 3, the Government of Manitoba announced that Marymound Inc would receive over $2 million to administer the Zaagiwe Oshinawe Inaakonigewin youth justice program to reduce the number of Indigenous youth in the justice system.

The statement says the decision was made without consulting Indigenous-led organizations familiar with and currently working in the sector.

"Just days after the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we were shocked, concerned and saddened that yet another government and these foundations are handing over the administration of an Indigenous-focused program to a church-based organization," says Dodie Jordaan, Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle member. "This is a missed opportunity to renew efforts to reverse the lasting effects of residential schools. Indigenous-led organizations are rooted in the grassroots community and have the solutions to meet our community needs."

The WIEC expresses its frustration even further, indicating that Manitoba has the highest Indigenous population per capita in Canada with the number consistently rising. It also states that 15 per cent of the entire Provincial Prevention Service budget goes to Indigenous-led organizations

"WIEC has extended an invitation to the Premier and the Foundations to gather in Winnipeg to initiate a meaningful process to work together moving forward so that Indigenous-led organizations are leading the healing and growth and development of our Indigenous youth. Many Indigenous-led initiatives across Canada and in Winnipeg and Manitoba have been working very hard to address inequities that are direct barriers for Indigenous-led organizations to serve our people with specific solutions that we know work," says Kendell Joiner, Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle Co-Chair. "What we need, however, is for governments, philanthropy and all Canadians to treat us as true partners in this work, and not sidelining us in favour of non-Indigenous organizations."

For more information on the WIEC, visit its website.

For more information on the Zaagiwe Oshinawe Inaakonigewin youth justice program, visit the Manitoba Government website.