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Chief Mitchell with the Qalipu Directors (L-R) Ralph Eldridge, Chief Brendan Mitchell, Keith Goulding and Rob Dicks

Christmas Greetings from the Chief

Kwe’

I am pleased to greet you during this festive season and I pray that each of you finds joy in the twinkling lights, the snow-covered trees and Christmas treats.  I also pray that during this holiday season each one of you is blessed with many special moments of love and sharing.  May your homes be warmed with the presence of children, grandchildren, family members, friends and beloved pets.

I know that, for many, Christmas is not always joyous and it can be a difficult time of year.  I pray too that the Creator be with those who may have lost a loved one, is experiencing illness of a loved one, or finds themselves without the means of enjoying the kind of Christmas they would like.  Trust that there will still be many good moments for which to be thankful.  Creator is with us in good times, and in bad.

As I extend best wishes for 2017, I am struggling as your Chief, with the knowledge that we will share difficult times in the year ahead.   As we approach January 31, 2017, the conclusion of the enrolment process for membership in Qalipu First Nation, I recognize that applicants, which includes current members, are apprehensive and worried about possible outcomes.  I share your worries and concerns.  I have been working diligently on behalf of applicants while also lobbying Canada to minimize impacts and outcomes of the enrolment process.

In September of 2011, we received recognition as a First Nation under the Indian Act.  This was a truly momentous event that was the culmination of decades of fighting for recognition as the Federation of Newfoundland Indians.  Then something happened that surprised everyone; over 100,000 people came out and said, “I am Mi’kmaw!”  In the final days allotted for review of applications under the Agreement in Principle (Agreement), tens of thousands of applications were received.  Leadership at the time, which consisted of the Government of Canada (Canada) and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI), realized the need to negotiate an extension to the Agreement, as well as giving more guidance to the Enrolment Committee on applying enrolment criteria as presented in the Agreement.

In July, 2013, the Supplemental Agreement and its associated Directives to the Enrolment Committee, was introduced by Canada and the FNI.  The Supplemental Agreement meant that all outstanding applications would be reviewed, as well as all those that had already been assessed.  Indeed, even those who had received status cards were reviewed under the criteria laid out in the Supplemental Agreement to ensure everyone was assessed with the same criteria.

At the end of January, 2017, approximately 101,000 letters will be mailed to Qalipu members, and those seeking membership, advising them of the decision on their application. These letters are expected to be received within the first ten days in February. For those with a right to appeal the decision of the Enrolment Committee, there will be forty-five days to file such an appeal. The Appeal Notice Form will be included in the letters sent out.  An independent team of legally-trained Appeal Masters will review all appeals submitted and a final determination will be made on the appeal. The appeal process will be completed in its entirety by the fall of 2017. The decisions of the Appeal Masters will be final.

When I was elected in 2015, I inherited this process.  The legal agreements setting out how Founding Membership in the Qalipu First Nation was to be determined had already been established.  I have been asked the question, ‘Will you walk away from the table?’, and ‘will you fight to start over?’  My answer is no, I will not.  I might have negotiated things differently had I been in a leadership position at the time that agreements were made.  Today I have an obligation, as difficult as the outcome will be for many, to act in the best interests of our First Nation as a whole and to see the enrolment process through as it had been previously negotiated.  After having taken decades for the Newfoundland Mi’kmaq to achieve recognition, it is not in our First Nation’s best interest to leave it in a state of limbo by walking away from the table at this time.  This could potentially allow the Government of Canada to be in a position to unilaterally determine how all unresolved membership issues arising from the current enrolment process should be addressed.    Furthermore, I am concerned about the risk of losing or suspending the many programs and benefits that will be available to those who gain membership in Qalipu First Nation.

Many of you have made your concerns regarding the enrolment process known to your MP’s and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC).  Others may exercise their right to do so.  I have been working with various levels of government to minimize the potential negative impacts of the ongoing enrolment process.  I have met three times with the Honourable Minister Carolyn Bennett of INAC and with Joelle Montminy, Assistant Deputy Minister of INAC and with other senior staff members at INAC.  I have also met with Newfoundland Members of Parliament to express my concerns on this important situation.  I have asked for support from the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and the Assembly of First Nations and I continue to meet with Canada’s legal representatives on the Enrolment Implementation Committee in an attempt to minimize impacts on current Qalipu members, particularly those that live outside established aboriginal communities.  Furthermore, I have written to Prime Minister Trudeau asking for a meeting on the topic of the Qalipu enrolment process.    These efforts will continue.

The most important thing I want you to know now, all of you, is that whether you are found eligible to hold a status card under the Indian Act or not, you will find that you are welcome at Qalipu First Nation.  The pinnacle of our focus going forward will be a culture of inclusion, and ensuring that it is the Mi’kmaq in our hearts that defines us, not what is stated on paper.

On behalf of Council and all of our staff I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.  We look forward to working diligently on your behalf in 2017.

Magnifying glass over a newspaper classified section with Job Market text

Linkages Employment Program Deadline Date: March 31, 2017

Program Description

The Qalipu Linkages Program is a youth employment program funded by the Department of Advanced Education and Skills.  The program provides participating youth with a 26-week career-related local job placement combined with regular workshops on employment skill-building topics. After a week of orientation, participants will conduct their own job search to find a placement that suits their skills and interests. Upon completion of the program, participants will earn a “completion bonus” to support their future career and education goals.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Linkages program, participants must:

  • Be a registered member of the QMFNB between the ages of 18 to 30;
  • Be EI eligible and have limited work experience
  • Have completed a minimum of level II high school, and have NOT completed post-secondary If an applicant has not completed high school or equivalent, they must be out of school for a minimum of six months prior to applying to the program.

Apply:

To apply to the Qalipu Linkages Program, please submit a resume or cover letter by mail, in person, or via e-mail to:
Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation
Attention: Vickie MacDonald
3 Church Street
Corner Brook, NL   A2H 2Z4
vmacdonald@qalipu.ca

Deadline for receipt of Cover Letter and Resume: March 31, 2017

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Become a Member-Bay St. George Cultural Center

The Bay St. George Cultural Center has been undertaking an application to obtain registration as a Native Friendship Center.

They are in the final stages of this two year process and will hear in the New Year, if their application has obtained final approval. In preparation for this, one of the things they will require is an identified and registered list of their members and those who attend and support the Center in its activities.

Friendship Center status will open up new opportunities to reclaim and celebrate our culture as well as provide some much needed financial support. Belonging to the Friendship Center Family will also give them the opportunity to network with other Centers and Elders.

Please see below for links to the membership letter and application. Please support our efforts to bring this much needed resource to our communities.

Please click here to view the membership letter
Please click here to view the application

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Glenwood Ward Councilor Frank Skeard with his wife, Deneka

Ke’tipnemk Fundraiser an Important Gathering Point for Dispersed Newfoundland Mi’kmaq Communities

On October 22 the Qalipu Cultural Foundation (QCF) held their second annual Ke’tipnemk Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction at Jennifer’s Restaurant in Corner Brook.  The purpose of the fundraiser was to raise money in support of the Foundations’ mandate to support Mi’kmaq culture in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The event attracted more than 100 guests from throughout Qalipu territory, including Frank Skeard, Ward Councilor for Glenwood, and his wife Deneka.  Skeard said he was more than happy to travel some 300 km for the event which he and his wife had been looking forward to for some time.

“We are all on our own journey,” he said. “While I was pleased to attend to represent the people of the Glenwood Ward, I also attended for the cultural discovery that is part of my own personal journey.  This event was a great balance of social get together, and cultural sharing.  I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.”

Sherry Dean, Chairperson for the Foundation, was pleased to report that again this year, the Foundation surpassed its fundraising goal.  She said, “Through individual and business sponsorships, sale of the beautiful works of art and craft donated by local indigenous artists and craft people, and ticket sales we raised over $17,000!”

Sherry also expressed thanks for the hard working volunteers who she said “brought the event to life.”

The Qalipu Cultural Foundation was formed in 2014 to support Mi’kmaq culture in Newfoundland and Labrador. We are making every effort to reach out to individuals with limited knowledge of their heritage, and providing them with information and experiences that will assist them in the discovery process. We also seek to unite the people who have the experience and knowledge of Mi’kmaq traditions.

The girl at the table makes Christmas gifts. Hand made

Attention Youth aged 10-16

Make your winter a little warmer by getting together at the Qalipu Community Room evenings and/or weekend for crafts like quilting, beading, bracelet making and other possible activities depending on what youth would like to do/learn.

This initiative is being planned by Lorraine Stone and volunteers

To show your interest in participating or volunteering please contact Lorraine Stone.  Email: guiderstone@hotmail.com or call 634-2221

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Maw-pemita’jik Qalipu’k November 2016 Newsletter

Kwe’

In this edition of Maw-pemita’jik Qalipu’k discover a new take on medicine wheel teachings through the wise words of our friend Brad Firth, aka Caribou Legs, in my editorial “God Shots”.

On page three, check out some great snapshots of some of the work that has been keeping our Chief and Council busy for the past month, and learn about the Seniors Mentoring and Leadership Project recently held at Kildevil Lodge.

Have you heard about the important appointment of our Western Region Vice Chief, Erica Samms-Hurley, to the Canadian Institute Health Research Advisory Board? Find the story on page four.

On page five we’ve got the popular Mi’kmaw language lesson from Dean Simon and on page six our Tourism Development Officer Tara Saunders explores the question ‘What is authentic indigenous art?’ through her discussion with local artist Jordan Bennett.  If you’re an artist who has a different opinion on the subject, get in touch with Tara for a new perspective in a future newsletter.  Reach her by email at tsaunders@qalipu.ca or by phone at (709) 634-5972.

You won’t believe the success of the Qalipu Cultural Foundation at this year’s Ke’tipnemk Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction.  Get the scoop from Chairperson Sherry Dean on page seven, along with a link to a photo gallery on our Band’s Facebook page.

Find all this, and a little more in this edition of our monthly newsletter.  Please enjoy and remember, you’re encouraged to get in touch with your thoughts or contributions to the next edition of Maw-pemita’jik Qalipu’k (The Caribou are Travelling Together).

Thanks,

Alison

Click here to view this month’s newsletter

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Expression of Interest – Consulting and Contracting Services

Qalipu First Nation (QFN) is currently updating their database of Consulting and Contracting Services.  The Band is currently involved in post-secondary education, labour market data collection, management properties, commercial fisheries, organizational development, community economic development and cultural enhancement.

QFN anticipates the need for consultants with experience in industry analysis, feasibility studies, aquatic science, enforcement and conservation, database development, communication etc.  This list is not exhaustive but does provide some anticipated skill sets required over the next three years.

QFN invites prospective consultants or contractors interested in working with the Band to submit an Expression of Interest.

QFN will assess all submissions and develop an eligibility list.  This list will be used to invite consulting firms to submit proposals or construction tenders in response to specific opportunities.  The Eligibility List will be valid for the period of January 1, 2017 to December31, 2019.

Please provide to QFN a proposal outlining the company profile, resumes, consulting services offered, technical expertise, relevant experience and references.  Company must be bondable.  Three copies of the submission must be received by QFN at 3 Church Street, Corner Brook, NL A2H 2Z4 by 4pm on December 2, 2016

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Caribou Legs Makes his Way Through Qalipu (Caribou) Territory

Brad Firth, AKA Caribou Legs, has been making his way through Qalipu territory since arriving in Newfoundland on November 5th.  A large crowd came out to meet him in St. George’s at the Bay St. George Cultural Circle, and after his stop at the Qalipu Community Room in Corner Brook today, he will go on to meet groups in Grand Falls-Windsor and Gander before moving on to his final destination, St. John’s.  More than 50 individuals gathered for today’s meet and greet hosted by Qalipu First Nation in partnership with the Corner Brook Aboriginal Women’s Association.

Brad is an ultra-marathon runner who has become a message carrier in the style of the traditional Gwich’in message runners. He’s currently in the midst of a cross-country run promoting three main points: to increase support for the issue of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG); end violent measures & reactions (Warriors Against Violence); and to promote health in body, mind and spirit.

He began his journey in Vancouver, B.C. on May 8th, 2016 (Mother’s Day).  He intends to reach St. John’s by November 20th for a total distance travelled of 7,420 km.  His daily average is 60-75 km but, he has been known to run up to 100 km in one day. Brad is running alone, without any on-road support. It’s just him, a backpack and his hand drum.  He receives support from his “quarterback”, Robyn Lawson, in B.C. who helps work out details on speaking engagements and gatherings along the way.

Brad was personally motivated to do this run to raise awareness about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls after the loss of his sister to domestic violence. He wanted to honour her in the best way he knows how; talking about his experiences and sharing his story of overcoming adversities.

Further Details:

All funding for Brad’s running, surviving and educating needs are provided for via donations, speaking honoraria and a crowd-funding page:
http://www.plumfund.com/fundraising/cariboulegs

We are marking the Newfoundland leg of Brad’s journey on our events calendar.
Find out where he will be next: http://qalipu.ca/events/

If you want to host Brad in your community before his journey ends, please contact Robyn Lawson by email at lawsonrobyn@hotmail.com

Caribou Legs on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carboulegs1/

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Pictured here are researchers Mary Elsa Young and Madonna Louvelle at work in Qalipu’s Stephenville office along with interviewee Rodney Bennett. Rodney is one of many members of the Band who are contributing their knowledge of woodland caribou species. Rodney is also one of Qalipu’s River Guardians.

Two Weeks Left to Participate: Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Research on Woodland Caribou in Newfoundland

The purpose of the Woodland Caribou Study according to Melissa Brake, Project Manager,  is to “formally collect and document Traditional Knowledge on the woodland caribou species including such topics as historical population trends, distribution and behavior in the Bay St. George area.”

Jonathan Strickland, Manager of the Qalipu Natural Resource Division added, “Sometimes researchers might overlook the value of our elders’ traditional knowledge and oral history.  As an indigenous organization we understand the value.  Through this project we hope not only to collect and preserve this valuable knowledge, but also build on it by following up with collecting scientific data in the field that supports what our elders have told us.”

If you haven’t scheduled your interview yet, please do so.  This project will end on November 25th.  Please contact Madonna or Mary Elsa at 649-0593.