Youth Representative

First Youth Representative Elected to Qalipu Council at Mawita’jik Maljewe’jk (Youth Gathering)

September 19, 2019, Corner Brook—The Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce that following the recent youth gathering where an election was held to choose a representative, Jessica Saunders of the Exploits Ward will join the Qalipu Chief and Council filling the newly created youth seat.

Jessica is twenty years old, she’s originally from Bishop Falls, but now resides in Sandy Point. Jessica has always been an active volunteer; she served on the Leo Burke Academy Student Council throughout high school, and she coached volleyball. Jessica also served on a youth advisory committee that helped bring mental health issues to the forefront at her school through the planning of a mental health conference.

At the gathering, Jessica spoke passionately about the environment and the importance of good mental health; topics that were high on the list of priorities for all youth as evidenced in conversations and break-out sessions. Jessica is the mother of 15-week-old Leo, who also attended the gathering, and reports that she is motivated by thinking about future generations. She noted, “We need to have the important conversations about conservation, climate change, and things we can do in Newfoundland to protect the future for our children.”

Jessica plans to engage youth through the newly created Facebook Group “Qalipu Youth Network” as well as through Instagram and Twitter. She will keep in touch with the growing youth network and represent their concerns at meetings of Council. All Indigenous youth, status, and non-status are invited to join the youth network and be a part of the Mawita’jik Maljewe’jk gathering. Jessica’s first Council meeting will be the next regular meeting of Council in November.

The inaugural youth gathering was held September 13-15 at West Haven in Pasadena. The gathering brought together twenty youth, age 16-28, from all across the nine wards. Four candidates were nominated for the role of Youth Representative, Jeff Young (Stephenville Ward), Sam Gardiner (Exploits Ward), Jessica Saunders (Exploits Ward) and Kaylee Sullivan (St. George’s Ward). As part of the election code, the youth also established the position of Alternate Youth Representative to support and enhance the youth seat. Salome Barker (Exploits Ward) and Victoria Stacey (Glenwood Ward) were nominated for this position; Salome Barker was elected.

In addition to the election, the gathering also focused on connecting youth with elders through cultural teachings; hearing the issues and concerns of youth delegates and; guiding youth to form resolutions to impact change. The event included traditional ceremonies, teachings, roundtables focused on learning and leadership, drumming, singing and opportunities to network and enjoy time outside around the campfire. On day two of the conference youth were joined by Mark Murdoch, a Youth Representative on the Premiers Youth Council, who spoke about the benefits of being involved and engaged in the community. Michael R. Denny of Eskasoni was also a special guest; he shared stories and language teachings, got youth involved in dancing the gojua dance, and led a game of Waltes.


Message from the Chief September 2019


As we approach our Annual General Assembly, coming up this weekend on September 15th in Corner Brook and on September 29th in Grand Falls-Windsor, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the year gone by and the accomplishments of our Nation.  It brings me great pride to report on some of this good work being done by our Council, staff, committees and community leaders to move us forward together, for a better tomorrow.

In October 2018, our new Council was elected, and I am excited about the active participation that our Councilors are demonstrating in our Ward communities, and the progress made during the past several months.

For the first time, the Annual General Assembly (AGA) is being held in both central and western regions as a means of facilitating greater direct participation by our members.   Further, also for the first time, the AGA will be live-streamed and available to those who can’t attend the AGA in person.

At this time, I would like to take the opportunity to thank our Council members for their support and collaboration in moving Qalipu forward in a positive way on behalf of our members.

On July 26, 2018 (St. Anne’s Day), Qalipu First Nation was accepted into the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).  This was a significant and important move for us as we now take our rightful place with other First Nations in Canada.  Membership in this national group, representing some 900,000 First Nation citizens in Canada, signifies acceptance and acknowledgment for the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland.  This represents a significant step forward in our own journey towards reconciliation.  Qalipu continues to participate in all major events hosted by the AFN.

In April 2019, Qalipu became a member of the Atlantic Policy Congress (APC) all Chiefs Secretariat.  This policy and advocacy body represents more than thirty First Nation communities in Atlantic Canada and Gaspe region of Quebec.  The APC plays an important role in economic development activities in support of all Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Innu communities across the Atlantic Region.

Qalipu has been working with the APC in areas of Education, Community Development and Natural Resources and looks forward to new ways of collaborating and building strength as a united First Nation peoples.  Our wish at Qalipu First Nation is to work collaboratively with other Chiefs and Indigenous communities across Atlantic Canada in an effort to work to build a better tomorrow for all Mi’kmaq.

Also in this past fiscal year, Qalipu entered into a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) which will see both parties collaborate on the delivery of new educational pathways, as well as community and business development initiatives.  Throughout the term of the MOU the organizations will explore educational opportunities which will allow students to complete high school and transition into post-secondary education; build professional capacity in educational programming in health sciences, tourism, business development and environmental stewardship; and, explore mutually beneficially partnerships on applied research and innovation that lead to sustainable community and business development.

Qalipu was recently recognized as a committed supporter of Reservists in the Canadian Armed Forces and received the Special Award for support to the Reserve Force (Black Bear Program) on May 9, 2019, during a formal ceremony at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.  I am proud of the commitment that Qalipu has made to promote and encourage our youth to participate in this worthwhile program.  This past summer a total of eleven youth enrolled in the Black Bear Program.  Nine successfully completed the program, seven of whom were members of the Qalipu First Nation.

On March 14, 2019, Qalipu signed a ten-year grant funding agreement with Indigenous Services Canada. The agreement marks a significant departure from annually allocated funds that were often lacking in flexibility and autonomy for the Band and marks a new opportunity for creating a shared vision for the future with the members it represents.  The new comprehensive funding agreement will allow the Band to design its own programs, carry money forward from year to year, and focus on creating a vision for the future that is driven by the people and communities it represents.  In conjunction with the ten-year grant funding agreement, Qalipu will be developing a Comprehensive Community Plan.  We look forward to the active engagement of our membership in developing a long-term plan for our future.

Early in 2019, Qalipu staff and Councilors traveled around the island to deliver information sessions regarding the many programs services and benefits that are available through the Band, and to familiarize new members about what it means to belong to the Qalipu First Nation. In total, eleven sessions were hosted.  Sessions were well attended by our members who were provided with an information guide that outlined the many programs available through the Band.  The Membership Information Guide is available at our offices and on our website and is an excellent resource for all Band members.

On November 15, 2018, the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians entered into exploratory discussions to “…address outstanding concerns regarding members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans, RCMP and FNI members or members of other Mi’kmaq organizations who were named in the 2008 agreement and denied Founding Membership.” Discussions began in December 2018 and will continue as we strive to finalize membership.

In the coming year, you will experience the same high level of engagement in our communities by our Council.  The focus will continue to be directed toward completing the many initiatives that have been identified in our strategic plan and to new initiatives that will be brought forward by our community members.  We endeavour to work together in peace, harmony, and unity with our member communities as we strive to build a better tomorrow for our people and our Nation.

Chief Brendan Mitchell

AGA news

Annual General Assembly scheduled in western and central Newfoundland, Live Stream for those who cannot attend in person

The Qalipu Annual General Assembly (AGA) is held every year to share audited financial statements and information about Band business during the previous fiscal year.  The Assembly is attended by members of Council, the Band Manager, lead staff and is open to all Band members.

In the past, the AGA has been held in different locations across central and western Newfoundland to ensure the broadest possible inclusion for all communities within our traditional territory.

This year, thanks to a Council resolution to amend our General By-Laws that was passed at a meeting in January, two AGA’s will be held annually, one in western and one in central.

This change will come into effect this year with the first AGA being held in Corner Brook on September 15 at the Greenwood Inn and Suites from 1:30- 3:30 PM, and the second AGA will take place in Grand Falls-Windsor at the Mount Peyton Hotel on September 29 from 1:00-3:00 PM.

For those who cannot attend in person, a live stream option has been made available.  As the Assembly is intended for members only, access to the live stream will be through our members only portal, ginu.  All members, whether they have ever logged in before, have a profile in ginu.  Please access the portal here:

If you require assistance logging in, please contact Charmaine at (709) 679-2142, or 1-855-263-6440 (toll free available in Newfoundland only)


Council Meeting – July 18, 2019

The next meeting of Council will be held at 10 am on Thursday, July 18, 2019 in the Qalipu Community Room at 1 Church Street, Corner Brook.

To register, please contact Tina Diamond at 634-5111 or email with your Full Name and Band Reg #.

A newspaper on a wooden desk - Press Release

Federation of Newfoundland Indians and Qalipu First Nation Protect the Right to Solicitor-Client Privilege

July 8, 2019 Corner Brook— It is fundamental to the effective operation of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) and Qalipu First Nation (QFN) that we receive the best possible legal advice available in order to move forward to achieve the goals of our people and organizations. A recent decision by the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in Benoit v. Federation of Newfoundland Indians and Her Majesty the Queen of Canada determined that legal advice from our lawyers published on the internet, illegally and without permission, by persons unknown was no longer covered by the blanket of solicitor- client privilege. This issue is of concern to Qalipu First Nation and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians. The Financial Management By-Laws of the Qalipu First Nation Band clearly state in Exceptions to Disclosure, Section 54, that the General Manager, must refuse to disclose information; (b) legal opinions which are subject to solicitor-client privilege.

Such privilege is fundamental protection for individuals and businesses to comfortably seek legal advice outside the public domain. It means that conversations, phone calls, e mails, documents and discussions regarding confidential matters are private between a client and their lawyer. Solicitor-client privilege is an important legal concept that allows clients to trust their lawyers with private information. The Supreme Court of Canada has called it, “a principal of fundamental justice and civil right of supreme importance in Canadian law.” Such privilege is that of the client.

In deciding to appeal the decision of Justice Marshall, FNI/QFN are seeking to preserve a fundamental right necessary to the effective operation of our Band Council. QFN and the FNI must continue to have full and frank discussions with its legal advisors without fear that the information or advice might somehow become available to persons who might not share our stated goals. The appeal of Justice Marshall’s recent decision is limited to this single issue, and that issue only. While the Benoit case, in its initial intent, continues with our cooperation and respect, we are appealing the decision of Justice Marshall regarding our right to maintain the principle of solicitor-client privilege.

As many of you may know, in a previous Benoit decision Newfoundland Supreme Court Justice Jillian Butler required the FNI to communicate to the Minister that individuals named in Benoit remain on the Founding Members List created under the Settlement Agreement. We did as directed by carrying out Justice Butler’s Declaratory Order which required that a letter be written to the Minister demanding that the Plaintiffs in the Benoit Case be maintained as Founding Members. In the letter to the Minister we went further than consideration for the six plaintiffs stating that they were representative of a larger group who lost status and requested that all who lost status be reinstated. We received no reply from the Minister in response to demands. Neither the FNI nor QFM appealed Judge Butler’s decision on the Benoit case. Further, regarding earlier court decisions rendered in favor of the plaintiffs including Foster, House, Wells and Wells and Kennedy, neither the FNI nor QFN appealed the court decisions made in favor of those represented by these court cases and encouraged the Government of Canada to do likewise.

Protecting the principle of solicitor-client privilege, which is the only issue in response to the recent decision by Judge Marshall, is our fundamental right. It appears that at least one group calling themselves “Friends of Qalipu Applicants” is presenting our concern for protection of our solicitor-client privilege in a different and misleading context.

The Band Council of the QFN will continue to move forward to achieve the stated goals of our people and organization and will stand by the collective view that the preservation of the Band’s legal rights is essential to achieving this objective.



From August 6-9 2019, The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and Qalipu Cultural Foundation are partnering to host the Junior Police Academy at Killdevil Camp.   This camp is designed to create stronger relationships with youth (ages 10-12 years old) and police as well as with other community partners.

Participants will have an opportunity to take part in this fun filled and educational camping experience, where the RNC and partner organizations will foster stronger and healthier relationships between the participants and the police by breaking down historical barriers.  The Junior Police Academy will enhance participant learning on a variety of topics by providing a healthy, active and unplugged environment where they will be educated on the benefits of healthy, responsible decision making. Youth at the camp will receive education on a variety of topics including (but not limited to) healthy eating, decision making and lifestyle choices, bicycle safety, fire safety, environmental sustainability, police investigative techniques and Mi’kmaq cultural awareness.

For youth who attend the camp, transportation will be provided from Corner Brook to Killdevil and return (transportation to and from Corner Brook is the participants responsibility). Transportation can be arranged for pickup and drop off in Deer Lake for those youth and volunteers that are east of Deer Lake (transportation to and from Deer Lake is the participants responsibility).  While at the camp, all accommodations and meals will be provided. Participants will be asked to bring their own sleeping bag, or bedding, and their own clothing.

To facilitate this event, we are currently seeking volunteer chaperons. Volunteers will be responsible for general supervision of youth during the camp. All accommodations and meals will be provided to volunteers while at the camp. Volunteers will be asked to bring their own sleeping bag or bedding and their own clothing.

If you are interested in being a volunteer or are seeking additional information, please contact Nicole Travers.

Youth participant click here for the RNC Junior Police Academy 2019 application

Volunteer Chaperons click here for Volunteer Application

Deadline to apply is July 15, 2019

All participant and volunteer application forms can be submitted to Mitch Blanchard, Resource Coordinator at 3 Church Street Corner Brook, NL or faxed to: 709-639-4706 or via email

Sponsored by:
United Way Newfoundland and Labrador
Communities Foundation of Canada – Canada 150