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Shadows on the Wall

About Sheila North

An experienced and compassionate leader

GRAND CHIEF SHEILA M. NORTH, Wikahsko Iskwew, is a Cree Leader, Politician, Policy Advocate, Activist, Journalist, and Author of the Bunibonibee Cree Nation in the Treaty 5 Territory who formerly served as the Grand Chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, MKO.  She was elected in 2015 as the first woman to hold the position. 


Grand Chief Sheila M. North is a Lifelong Activist for the Treaty, Title, Inherent, and Human Rights of First Nations Peoples.  Chief North knows that our National Organization was created by our Ancestors to Honor Our Sovereign Nations, Elevate, and Implement our Rights. 


With North’s leadership and part of Grand Chief North’s Action Plan, MKO:


  • Contributed to the completion of a Landmark Economic Impact Study measuring Indigenous contributions of approximately $9.3B to Manitoba’s Economy and GDP in one year.

  • She advocated alongside many Survivors, Families, Leaders and Allies to see the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls become a reality and continue to advocate for the implementation of the 231 Calls To Justice released in the final report of the Inquiry.

  • She commissioned a curriculum and co-created a film on MMIW with support from the Canadian Women's Foundation.

  • Created the commonly used hashtag, #MMIW, in 2012 to ensure the issue remains in the public consciousness and that it is always viewed as a Human Rights Priority in Canada.


North is the Director at the International Commission on Missing Persons [ICMP] overseeing Missing Children, Residential Schools, and Engagement.  Fighting to defend the dignity of our people, she is tasked with achieving Accountability, Justice, and Restitution while leading the engagement and political strategy for Missing Children and unmarked Graves internationally and in Canada at former Indian Residential School (IRS) sites.  


North is a trusted Indigenous voice in media as an award-winning Journalist who co-produced a documentary with Leonard Yakir, entitled 1200+, highlighting the systemic issues that place Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited people at greater risk for violence and sexual exploitation.  Increasingly, the issue also impacts Men and Boys, which is why Sheila now promotes the hashtag, #MMIR, to acknowledge all Relatives impacted by the national tragedy.


North will initiate her international contacts to frame the discussion and strategies to uphold and implement Treaty & Inherent Rights and will use her journalism expertise to broaden the Rights discussion in the country. 


Sheila comes from a large Ininew, close-knit family. She is the mother of two children and the loving grandmother of one.

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Sheila's Portfolio

My Privilege, 
My Responsibility

A Personal Memoir

In September 2015, Sheila North was declared the Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), the first woman elected to the position. Known as a “bridge builder”, North is a member of Bunibonibee Cree Nation. North’s work in advocacy journalism, communications, and economic development harnessed her passion for drawing focus to systemic racism faced by Indigenous women and girls. She is the creator of the widely used hashtag #MMIW. In her memoir, Sheila North shares the stories of the events that shaped her, and the violence that nearly stood in the way of her achieving her dreams. Through perseverance and resilience, she not only survived, she flourished.

  • Finalist, Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction

  • Finalist, Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book

1200+ DVD Case V3.8 F - Front.png

A film about #MMIWG

Former Grand Chief Sheila North was gifted a diary kept by the foster parents of 17-year-old MMIWG2S+ victim Cherisse Houle. They asked that North promise to tell Cherisse's story. 1200+ fulfills that promise.

A leading Indigenous voice and advocate for many

Sheila is a Gemini-nominated journalist previously at CTV and CBC over the span of her journalism career. Sheila shared stories that changed narratives and public opinion about Indigenous people across the Nation. She's a seasoned media pro who is a trusted communicator on pressing issues, and an advocate for others. Some of her most memorable stories she covered were that of the #HomelessHero, Faron Hall, and when she was able to bring awareness to the issues of #MMIWG2S+.

  • Radio Television Digital News Association Award

  • Gemini Award Nominee for Best Breaking News

  • One of Chatelaine Magazine's Top 30 Women of 2015

SNW Demo
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Grand Chief of MKO
Called to lead, and made a lasting, proven impact 

Sheila North was elected in 2015 to become the Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakinak.  During her tenure there, Sheila made an impact at MKO that can still be felt today. That includes supporting the creation of a Northern Indigenous-led health entity and implementing a study measuring the Indigenous contributions of $9.3B to Manitoba's economy annually.

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