I am extremely pleased to have received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As the Grand Chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), I chose to receive my COVID-19 vaccine because I want to be a role model for the First Nations I represent. I want to help protect both myself as well as my loved ones and colleagues. I want to protect the wider community.
Many Manitoba residents have lost loved ones due to complications from COVID-19—this is another reason I chose to receive my vaccine. If many of us choose to take the vaccine, the virus will have less places where it can travel and thrive. This means the virus will spread less easily.We have lived with the pandemic for more than one year now. Getting my vaccine provides me with a sense of hope that soon we will be able to move on and work towards a ‘new normal,’ where we can resume some of the activities we have been missing over the last year.
Every adult living in an MKO First Nation will have the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. I encourage you to learn as much as you can about it. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions. Let’s work together to protect our communities.
Grand Chief Garrison Settee is from the Pimicikamak Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba. He is Ininiw and was born and raised in a Cree-speaking home. He was raised in a home with strong values and work ethics, where his parents instilled strong spiritual values that keep him grounded to this day. He attended Frontier Collegiate and R.D. Parker Collegiate in Thompson and went on to obtain a Bachelor of Education degree from Brandon University. He was elected as Grand Chief of MKO in August 2018. In his leadership position, he represents 26 Northern First Nations. Grand Chief considers it an honour to serve Northern First Nations. Grand Chief Settee resides in Thompson, Manitoba.
Grand Chief Settee on the importance of partnership with province on immunization program:
I think working together has made a difference for us in our First Nations in the North, working closely with Dr Roussin has made a difference, and working with Dr Barry Lavallee. I think that without that we would have been in a very difficult situation but their support has been really awesome and I’m really thankful we were able to have that working relationship and we will continue to work closely with them.
Grand Chief Settee on how he feels after receiving his COVID-19 vaccine:
I feel very good today because I think I did something very important, it’s not for me, but its for the people I represent, and the people I come in contact with. I feel they will be safer, and I think that this is a very important step in moving past the pandemic. So I feel very good. I want to encourage everyone to get this vaccine because this will be one of the things that will allow us to move through this pandemic quicker. That we can return to a sense of normalcy because I think we are all looking forward to the day we can gather and assemble without having masks, and also being able to reunite with our families. This is a very important step.