Chief dancing

Message from the Chief May 29, 2017


We made it through the winter and can now look forward to warmer temperatures, sunny days and time outside.  The Mi’kmaq of the island have weathered a lot together, still we find many things to be thankful for.

I am proud to share with you all that our Nation has again this year received an excellent rating in our General Assessment.  Our score of 2.2, gauging effectiveness of our processes, financial management and reporting and other areas that measure our accountability, was among the best of First Nations in Canada.   We are also poised to be the first Nation in Canada to implement an International Standards Organization (ISO) Quality Management System that is representative of our entire operation in the areas of education and training, health, tourism, employment, culture, economic development and natural resources.

Recently, I met with Chief Mise’l Joe of the Miawpukek First Nation.  Along with our respective senior management teams, we looked at mutual areas of interest where we might work collaboratively and speak with a united voice for indigenous rights and issues in Newfoundland.   I’m very excited about the possibilities that exist for teamwork between our Nations.

Also, this month we formalized a partnership with Parks Canada through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  The partnership between our organizations, leading back to FNI days, has been the source of many positive shared initiatives.  Mi’kmaq interpretation in the Park, summer employment opportunities for our members, development of a beautiful exhibit now stationed in our Mi’kmaq Museum, a travelling show that celebrated our Mi’kmaq heritage throughout the province and the very successful Outdoor Education Program which continues to benefit hundreds of our young people every year.  Perhaps most dear to my heart was the HSMBC commemoration, and opening of the exhibits and walking trail for my great grandfather Mattie Mitchell, a renowned Mi’kmaq hunter and guide.

Through the MOU, we have simply agreed to continue looking for opportunities to work together in areas of mutual interest as we have in the past.  This includes things like natural and cultural heritage resource conservation, public understanding and appreciation, visitor experience, conserving heritage places, providing education and outreach, and employment opportunities for our people to tell their own stories in a land where indigenous history reaches back well beyond 150 years.

As we come into the summer months, there are several exciting events coming up that many of us are looking forward to.  For the first time, the Exploits Aboriginal Community Group will host a Mawio’mi June 16-18 in central Newfoundland.  I expect there should be more detail about this event in the days to come.

As in previous years, our calendars are marked for the first and second weekends of July for our local Powwow Trail.  The Miawpukek First Nation Powwow will take place July 7-9th in Conne River, and the Bay St. George Mi’kmaq Powwow will take place in Flat Bay July 14-16th.

I hope to see all of you out and about this summer, supporting our community events and spending time together with friends and family.


Chief Brendan Mitchell


Commercial Space for Lease in Grand Falls – Windsor

Location: 28 Hardy Avenue

Available: July 1, 2017

Approximately 790 square feet is available which is suitable for office or retail space.  Common Kitchen and bathroom areas.  Wheelchair accessible.  Large parking lot.  Centrally located.  Heat and light included.

For more information, please contact Rob Dicks at 634-6895 or email


Partners Committed to Long-term Sustainability of the Outdoor Education Program

May 18, 2017, Corner Brook—This week, staff at the Outdoor Education Program in Gros Morne National Park welcomed its first groups of grade five students, their teachers and parent chaperones for the 2017 school year.  The two-and-a-half-day, camp-based program, now in its 20th year, is an educational experience that meets

classroom curriculum requirements, while students benefit from immersion in the great outdoors.

Qalipu has been involved in the Outdoor Education Program since 2014 through the delivery of a cultural teaching module, and last year took on the enhanced role of coordinating the program in partnership with the Western Newfoundland and Labrador English School District and Parks Canada.

Ralph Eldridge, Director of Service Qalipu, said, “The program was a natural fit for Qalipu as it aligns with our mandate to engage youth in learning opportunities. The fact that it takes place in an outdoor setting helps to engrain a sense of importance of our natural world. It goes beyond the classroom, beyond the text book.”

Eldridge noted that the program is structured around seven modules that have children engaged in activities such as an archaeology dig, a night hike, painting, poetry writing, and exploration and appreciation of our natural environment.  Each of the modules corresponds with grade 5 curriculum outcomes.

Michelle Matthews, Education Outreach Officer, hired by the Band to facilitate the program, works with children and teachers on the ground at Killdevil. She said, “while helping to coordinate this program, Qalipu will also continue to deliver one of the modules, Epsisi’tat Awia’tat (Little Feet Travelling in a Circle).  The focus of the culturally based module centers on sustainability, history of the aboriginal people in Newfoundland and Labrador, and how the Mi’kmaq relied on mother earth to provide for the necessities of life. We will also continue to provide unique cultural experiences to students through participation in such things as talking circles, drumming and singing.

Future goals for the program include ensuring sustainability for generations to come, providing opportunities for schools in the central region to participate in the Killdevil program or offering a parallel program in that region, and integrating greater cultural content within the existing teaching modules.

For more information on getting your classroom involved in this opportunity, please contact Education Outreach Officer Michelle Matthews at 634-3856 or by email

Save the Date 2

Qalipu Cultural Foundation and Parks Canada partner to Deliver Gros Morne Indigenous Cultural Festival

May 4, 2017, Steady Brook, NL—Qalipu First Nation and Parks Canada today reaffirmed their longstanding partnership and shared commitment to natural and cultural heritage conservation and education with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  Following the signing, the partners announced an exciting initiative to be co-hosted by the Qalipu Cultural Foundation and Parks Canada this summer.  The Gros Morne Indigenous Cultural Festival will take place on August 4-6, 2017 in Cow Head, NL at the Shallow Bay day use area.

Parks Canada representatives Geoff Hancock, Superintendent (Western Field Unit) and Bill Brake, Superintendent (Eastern Field Unit), along with Sherry Dean, Chair of the Qalipu Cultural Foundation and Qalipu Chief, Brendan Mitchell, were on hand at Qalipu First Nation’s inaugural Indigenous Tourism Forum to announce the event to some fifty indigenous tourism operators, delegates and special guests.

Sherry Dean, Chairperson of the Qalipu Cultural Foundation shared details about the Gros Morne Indigenous Cultural Festival.  She said, “The Festival will focus on teachings, cultural celebration and experiences set in the beautiful Gros Morne National Park.  On day one of the Festival, you will have an opportunity to experience firsthand some Indigenous practices and traditions, as well as the beliefs and customs guiding them.  We’ll discover things like how to prepare for a sweat lodge, and what to expect when you get there.  Visitors will also learn some dance steps, music, and etiquette when attending a powwow. We are really excited to share in this unique celebration with Parks Canada.”

Dean went on to say that the second day of the Festival would be organized as a mini-powwow event; a day of ceremony and celebration as Indigenous elders and performers from the island of Newfoundland, Labrador as well as Atlantic Canada share their culture through prayer, song, dance and drumming.  On the third and final day of the Festival, park staff and Indigenous partners will work together to deliver interpretive programs centred on a shared vision of ecological conservation and connecting with nature.

Superintendent Geoffrey Hancock spoke to the value Parks Canada places on working with Indigenous groups and communities saying, “Parks Canada recognizes the incredible contribution Indigenous communities have made and continue to make to the social and cultural fabric of our country. Here in Newfoundland and Labrador, we have worked with our Indigenous partners to build a culture of mutual respect and co-operation which has been formally recognized with the signing of this MOU. This year, we are especially proud to be working with Qalipu First Nation on an event to be held in Gros Morne National Park that will celebrate the diversity and vitality of Indigenous cultures in our province as part of the celebrations taking place to underscore Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.”

The Tourism Forum, and the upcoming Indigenous Cultural Festival announced today, are important markers of progress towards the implementation of the Band’s Tourism Strategy and Implementation Plan.

In 2016, the Qalipu First Nation developed a comprehensive Tourism Strategy together with a Five-Year Implementation Plan. This Tourism Strategy, branded as Experience Qalipu, aligns its objectives with the economic evolution of Qalipu First Nation. It is designed to contribute in a coordinated and synergistic way to on-going community capacity building, to offer new opportunities for personal and business growth and to reinforce the credibility and profile of the Band to tourism customers and a broad range of potential partners.

For more information about the festival please contact Mitch Blanchard, Qalipu Resource Coordinator at 634-8046


Alison White
Communications Officer Qalipu First Nation
(709) 634-5163


Work at our Provincial Mi’kmaq Museum this Summer!

Work at our Provincial Mi’kmaq Museum this Summer!

This summer, be part of the youth team telling the stories of our Mi’kmaq history in Ktaqmkuk, the land across the water.  The St. George’s Indian Band is currently seeking applications for three positions.  See below for some information on the museum from the band’s website, and a link to the application information.

“Seal Rocks was the largest and principle Mi’kmaq settlement on the West Coast of Newfoundland. It was established in 1804 as permanent settlement for the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland and for the resettlement of the Mi’kmaq from Nova Scotia. Mi’kmaq oral tradition maintains occupation of the area is ancient.

To celebrate this rich culture a local historic old building has been renovated to house a cultural museum and interpretation center. This museum is the first and only official Mi’kmaw cultural historic museum for the island of Newfoundland. The significance of the tremendous contribution of our Mi’kmaq ancestors to Bay St. George will be recognized, celebrated and given its proper place.

The K’Taqmkuk Mi’kmaw Cultural Historic Museum is now what used to be the courthouse, pictured to the right, the outside of the building has been restored back to its’ former grandeur and the inside houses the K’taqmkuk Mi’kmaq Museum. It is located at Main Street, St. George’s, NL. The courthouse was built in 1903 and is one of three of its kind in the province of NL. The building has seen many changes over the years with it being a courthouse, jail, police station, post office, housed a medical clinic, public health and it was then turned over to the St. George’s Indian Band for the sum of one dollar! The St. George’s Indian Band Council has worked to turn this beautiful site into a cultural experience for all to see. The courthouse, which it is still called by the townspeople, is a large part of the rich history for the St. George’s area.”

 Click here to apply

Indigenous Women and Girl Image

Reach out to Have your Voice Heard at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has announced that hearings will start soon. As the Inquiry’s Executive Director told us, if family members, loved ones and survivors don’t tell the Inquiry they are out there and want to talk, the National Inquiry won’t know they exist.

– Family members, loved ones, and survivors of violence who want to speak to the Inquiry, at a public hearing or in private, need to write to the Inquiry a simple letter, or give the Inquiry a quick call, to say “I want to speak to the Inquiry”. That’s it. If they do that much, the Inquiry will take over from there and make sure that person participates, and receives any needed travel (flights, hotels, taxis, meals, etc.) and other supports.

– “Family members” includes “adopted family members, foster care relatives, and even really close friends.”

– To contact the Inquiry, family members, loved ones and survivors of violence should call the Inquiry toll-free at 1-844-348-4119 or email at or you may call Arlene Blanchard-White at 709-214-0256 or email

– Please note there is also a 24-hour Crisis Line for anyone who may want support at any time; that number is toll-free 1-844-413-6649.

A person holding a Red Apple with engraved heart

Assessment of Health Promotion Needs and Cultural and Traditional Practices of Qalipu First Nation Members

Members Wanted as Participants for a Research Study

During the 60 years that passed before the recognition of Qalipu First Nation in 2011, our people experienced a loss from their cultural and traditional practices. Being an off-reserve landless Band makes us unique from other First Nations and, according to what some may say, may be responsible for a grassroots disconnection.

Research indicates that culture impacts individual and community health, as it influences interaction with the health care system and engagement in health programs and services (National Aboriginal Health Organization, 2008). In both the Federation of Newfoundland Indians Health Needs Assessment (2010) and Qalipu First Nation’s Healing Waters Study (2015), members indicated that culture was important to them in terms of overall health, and they identified a need for more culturally appropriate health initiatives.

To further investigate these findings, Qalipu First Nation’s Health Division is conducting a research study that will assess our members’ needs for health promotion initiatives, and help us gain a better understanding of their cultural and traditional practices with respect to health.

Survey participants will be asked to answer questions about what their needs are for health promotion initiatives, as well as what aspects of Mi’kmaq culture and traditions are most significant to them. Survey data will be collected through on-line, paper format, or through face-to-face or telephone interviews. Paper format surveys will be mailed out to members at their request. Face-to-face and telephone interviews will be conducted by a researcher. The on-line and paper format surveys will take 10-30 minutes to complete; face-to-face and telephone interviews may take up to 90 minutes.

To participate in this study, participants must be a registered member of Qalipu First Nation and be at least 18 years of age. They must be able to communicate in the English language.

Participants who complete the survey may benefit by participating in this survey by feeling that their opinions and desires regarding health promotion initiatives have been heard. Subsequently, they may be more inclined to engage in health promotion initiatives due to QFN integrating an approach in health promotion activities that are suited towards Mi’kmaq cultural and traditional practices. It is also possible that the benefits of this study may result in improved health outcomes of Qalipu First Nation members.

To learn more about or participate in this research study, please contact Jenna Osmond, Manager of Health, Qalipu First Nation.

 Jenna Osmond, Manager of Health Services, Qalipu First Nation
Telephone: (709) 634-5041


Maw-pemita’jik Qalipu’k April 2017 Newsletter

Well it’s April, spring is finally here, and I’m happy to say there is still much good news to report on.

In this edition of Maw-pemita’jik Qalipu’k, I’m really excited to share that Qalipu will be hosting an Indigenous Tourism Forum on May 4th at Marble Inn in Steady Brook.   The forum will feature guest speakers from the Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism, Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador, and there will be an exciting tourism announcement by Qalipu Chief Brendan Mitchell and Parks Canada Superintendent Geoff Hancock.  Finally, delegates will benefit from an afternoon of specialized training with Cal Martin of Frog in the Pocket.   Find more details and a link to apply on page 7.

Did you hear that we have a new Band Manager? Keith Goulding has been a dedicated and strong leader as a Director at Qalipu for the past six years.  This April, he stepped up to take on the prominent position of Band Manager, leading staff and working with the Chief and Council.  Find the press release on page 2.

On page 3, find out about upcoming workshops and training opportunities happening soon with Qalipu and the Cultural Foundation.  Here, you’ll also find links to the latest Council Meeting Report, and reports on all the End of Enrolment Community Tours.

On page 8, we finally get around to congratulating one of our own community leaders, Judy White, who recently became the CEO for the Assembly of First Nations.  Ben Bennett, Ward Councilor for her home community of Flat Bay, wanted to make sure congratulations was announced by the Band.  Congratulations Judy!

How about a good Mi’kmaq ghost story? Check page 5.  Try page 9 for the point of view of one of our members, Brenda Paul, on the Daniels Symposium she recently attended with Chief and Council.

Find all this and lots more in Maw-pemita’jik Qalipu’k.

Click here to view this month’s newsletter

All the best,



Qalipu to Host Indigenous Tourism Forum

In 2016, the Qalipu First Nation developed a comprehensive Tourism Strategy together with a Five Year Implementation Plan. This Tourism Strategy, branded as Experience Qalipu, aligns its objectives with the economic evolution of Qalipu First Nation. It is designed to contribute in a coordinated and synergistic way to on-going community capacity building, to offer new opportunities for personal and business growth and to reinforce the credibility and profile of the Band to tourism customers and a broad range of potential partners. The Strategy recognizes the singular nature of Qalipu: as the largest by, membership, and newest Band in Canada; as a Band without reserve land; as First Nations people spread across nine Wards and deeply entrenched in the broader community. Already this year, Qalipu has begun the implementation phase of its strategy; building the Experience Qalipu brand, developing wayfinding signage, developing plans for territory gateways and other infra-structure development projects, and providing tourism training to member businesses and organiza-tions. Qalipu is currently planning an Indigenous Tourism Forum scheduled for May 4th in Steady Brook. To register for this event please click above, or call Nicole Companion at 709 634 8043

Afternoon Session: Connect your Visitors to Story with Dynamic Interpretation with Cal Martin

Cal Martin lives and breathes interpretation. For over 25 years, he has connected people and places through interpretive programming, signage, and ex-hibits. Ranging from front line interpreter to manager, Cal has worked for Parks Canada, Manitoba Provin-cial Parks, the Vancouver Aquarium, Assiniboine Park Zoo, and MetroVancouver Regional Parks.

Thoroughly passionate about interpretation, he has presented at numerous national and international conferences, and delivered training to over 50 muse-ums, parks, and sites. Cal has also published arti-cles in Interpscan and Legacy magazines, and writes for the international interpretive blog Media Platypus.

Cal has been on the National Executive Board of Interpretation Canada since 2003, holding the posi-tions of Chair, Past Chair, and Treasurer.

Qalipu Indigenous Tourism Forum
May 4
th, 2017
Marble Inn, Steady Brook

8:00-9:00 AM               Networking Breakfast

9:00-9:30 AM               Tara Saunders and Ralph Eldrdige present Qalipu Tourism Strategy

9:30-10:15 AM             Jonathan Foster, GMIST and Experiential Tourism Training Opportunities

10:15-10:30 AM           Nutrition Break

10:30-11:15  AM          HNL’s Juanita Ford will be presenting on labour market highlights.

11:15  AM                    Special Tourism Announcement! Chief Brendan Mitchell and Western NL Field Unit Geoff Hancock

12:00 PM                     Lunch

12:30-4:30 PM             Training Seminar for Craft Producers and Tourism Operators Cal Martin delivers an interactive                                                                 seminar “Connecting Visitors to Story via Dynamic Interpretation”