Birdtail Sioux First Nation

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Birdtail Sioux is located in Manitoba
Birdtail Sioux
Location of the Birdtail Sioux First Nation in Manitoba

Birdtail Sioux First Nation are a Dakota First Nation located approximately 50 km north of Virden, Manitoba. The first nation has a population of approximately 643 people on approximately 7,128 acres (28.85 km2) of land.[1][2] It is bordered by the Rural Municipality of Miniota and the Rural Municipality of Ellice – Archie. The main settlement of Birdtail Sioux is located at 50°16′N 101°09′W / 50.267°N 101.150°W / 50.267; -101.150. The First Nation has a kindergarten to Grade12 school (Chan Kagha Otina Dakota Wayawa Tipi School –Frontier school Division), an Adult Learning Centre (Birdtail Sioux Adult Learning Centre – Frontier School Division), a police detachment (Manitoba First Nations Police, formerly known as Dakota Ojibway Police Service) and a health center.

Controversial Partnerships[edit]

Under the leadership of Chief Ken Chalmers, Birdtail Sioux's partnership with the Federal government of Canada and corporate partnerships has created some controversy. Birdtail Sioux entered into agreement with companies like Enbridge and Canadian National Railway to help build reserve projects such as the construction of a new health centre, a shopping centre, and a 62 home renovation project.[3] Some of the other Dakota First Nations are concerned that the Birdtail Sioux's attempts for "short term gains" will hurt Dakota claims going back to 1870.

The original Canadian land claim alleges that the Dakota are American refugees and as such not entitled their aboriginal rights, land compensation, funding and recognition as Canadian aboriginal people under s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.[3] The Canadian government alleges that the Dakota live in Manitoba on the good graces of the crown. The Dakota intend to use maps and papers that predate confederation in Canada to negotiate a modern treaty.[3] The rest of the Dakota are challenging this where the Birdtail are not.

Chief Chalmers justified his decisions by saying, ""The only way I can get things like the renovations going ... I can only get it by partnering, not fighting." [3] Chief Frank Brown of the Canupawakpa Dakota First Nation replied that "Divide and conquer is a game Indian Affairs plays all of the time...When you challenge Canada in court or when you challenge your rights, they take one of your people and give them money to convince them otherwise. The job creation is a good thing, but it's not fixing nothing, it's just a little Band-Aid, whereas we're working for the future of our people."[3]

At the end of March 2013, the people of Birdtail Sioux decided to break with Chief Chalmers. He was defeated by former Chief Kelly Bunn.

In March 2015, Ken Chalmers was reelected. In March 2017, the Birdtail Sioux First Nation adopted the First Nations Election Act of Canada which gave them the option of a two or four-year term for Chief and Council. Chalmers was reelected as chief again until March 2021. Present Council elected under the new act include councillors Carson Benn, Chris Benn, Lindsay Bunn Jr. and Douglas Hanska Sr.


  1. ^ "Birdtail Sioux First Nation". Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council. Archived from the original on 10 February 2005. Retrieved 3 July 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ "FIRST NATION CONNECTIVITY PROFILE - 2003". Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. 2003. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ a b c d e Cosgrove, Colleen (4 March 2010). "Birdtail Sioux progress sparks Dakota concern". Brandon Sun. Retrieved 3 July 2010.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°16′10″N 101°10′02″W / 50.26944°N 101.16722°W / 50.26944; -101.16722