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Monthly Newsletter – January 2017

Kwe’

In this edition of Maw-pemita’jik Qalipu’k we’ve put together all available enrolment related information in a three-page spread that includes links to more information.  If you can’t find the answer to a question you’ve got in mind, you’re encouraged to get in touch.

Have you heard that Qalipu has hired a new Band Manager?  Randy Drover has a variety of employment experience, a long history of involvement with the aboriginal movement in Newfoundland, and an excellent education to boot.  Find the story Qalipu Welcomes Band Manager on page 4.

“We are English speaking Mi’kmaq people… what difference does it make if we express ourselves, our Mi’kmaq spirit, in English?  After all, my ancestors learned French and English and spoke these new languages with a strong spirit of survival and forward momentum.  Why now go back?” A secret thought I carried as I enrolled in the Grenfell Mi’kmaw Teaching and Learning course.  However, I was soon given a valuable lesson on the true importance of language, and how to Learn with Nijaqmij (my spirit).  Find the story in my editorial Rethinking Language on page 5.

Bernie Hanlon was a dedicated Qalipu employee and member of the Band who committed her life to working with, supporting and encouraging aboriginal students to achieve their dreams.  Each year, in memory of Bernie Hanlon, the Band presents a scholarship to one deserving student.  Read all about this year’s winner, and find out how you can apply to be the next recipient, on page 6.

Finally, you’ll find information on upcoming events, the latest Council Meeting Report and a few snapshots from our communities on pages 7-9.

Please enjoy the newsletter and as always, keep in touch.

Click here to view this month’s newsletter

Alison

Event

2015 Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Nation Green Team (Green Crab project) to be featured on new TV show: EcoVision

The Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador’s (CCNL) has a new TV show, EcoVision, and our youth will be on it!

Each episode of EcoVision has 4-6 short segments about the exciting environmental action happening right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. The segment about the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation’s initiative is in Episode 4: Ocean Protection. The premiere for this episode is Tuesday, February 14th at 8:00pm on ROGERStv St. John’s. After the initial premiere, our episode will screen another 12 times throughout the week of its release (February 14th – February 21st).

For those outside of the St. John’s area: EcoVision will air cross-island (Gander – GFW- Corner Brook areas) on Saturdays @ 12:00 p.m. / Sunday @ 2:30 p.m. ROGERStv and Rogers subscribers can also stream content live online at www.rogerstv.com. All they have to do is enter their MyRogers account information on the main page. In addition, after each initial premiere week, full episodes will be made available for free on CCNL’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/CCNLvideo

Click here for a short video promoting the show on Facebook, and spread the word about our appearance on EcoVision!
https://www.facebook.com/ccnl.ca/videos/10158054809730611/

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Video: Chief Mitchell talks Enrolment at Corner Brook Café

Earlier this week, Qalipu Chief Brendan Mitchell sat down with Wendy Woodland at Corner Brook Café to talk about the upcoming conclusion of the Qalipu enrolment process; at the end of January, 101,000 letters will be mailed out to applicants, including current members, outlining the decision of the Enrolment Committee and next steps.

While the enrolment process may be at an end, the story of our people is far from over.  Click play on the video below to hear Chief Mitchell talk about the process he inherited when he was elected to lead the Nation in 2015, what he’s been doing to represent our people at the table with Canada, and how he feels about the too often unkind commentary that is dividing the people on social media.

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Qalipu Natural Resource Division to Host Engagement Sessions, Review Proposed changes to Fisheries and Navigation Protection Acts

Later this month the Qalipu First Nation Natural Resource Division (QNR) will host engagement sessions with members to request input on the federal government review of the changes to the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act.  The focus of the review is restoration of lost protections and the addition of modern safeguards to both Acts.  It is important that our First Nation community provide input regarding the best ways to safeguard our fish and fish habitat for future generations, as well as comment on the impact of legislation change on the long-term viability of commercial and recreational use of Canada’s waterways.

QNR is requesting that Band members come forward and participate in one of two upcoming regional engagement sessions to be held in Western and Central Newfoundland.  Feedback can be provided to us in-person at the sessions, or through written submissions to the email below.

Regional sessions will be held in the following locations:
Corner Brook (Western): January 24th at 6:00 pm in the Qalipu Community Room at 1 Church St.
Grand Falls-Windsor (Central): January 26th at 6:00 pm in the Qalipu Community Room at 28 Hardy Ave.  Light refreshments will be provided.

For background information on the Fisheries Act changes, please visit here. For background information on the Navigation Protection Act changes, please visit here.

For more information on the work of QNR and the upcoming engagement sessions please contact:

Andrea Coombs, Natural Resources Technician
Tel: 709-634-1500
E-mail: acoombs@qalipu.ca

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Qalipu First Nation Announces Hiring of New Band Manager Randy Drover

Corner Brook, January 9, 2017—The Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce the hiring of a Band Manager.   Randy Drover of Bishop’s Falls joined staff at the Qalipu administrative office in Corner Brook today.  In this position, Drover will report directly to Chief and Council, and be responsible for oversight and management of all Band business, including management of a group of staff at four office locations.

Chief Mitchell noted that choosing an individual with strong leadership skills along with the right blend of education, experience and engagement with the aboriginal movement, was a significant task for the Qalipu Council.    He noted that there were many strong applicants, and that he relied on the assistance of an independent recruiter to help make the decision.

“Randy Drover’s involvement with the Mi’kmaq movement in Newfoundland from a young age, his former experience with Qalipu Council, collaborative approach to leadership, his education and work experience, made him the top candidate for the important job of Band Manager.”

Randy was first engaged in the Mi’kmaq movement in Newfoundland at 18 years old when he attended youth conferences and meetings through the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.  In 2001 he was elected to the Sple’tk First Nation’s Board of Directors.  Since then, Randy has served as National Youth Representative (Chair of the National Youth Council) for the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (2005-2008), Central Vice President for the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (2006 – 2008), National Vice-Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (2010 – 2011) and, most recently, as Central Vice-Chief of the Qalipu First Nation (2012 – 2015).

Between 2006 and 2016 Randy worked with the Town of Bishop’s Fall’s in various capacities; he managed projects including development and implementation of the Town’s strategic community development plan, served two years as Town Clerk, and in 2010 was promoted to Town Manager/Clerk.  During his time with the municipality, Randy gained extensive experience in preparing and managing annual budgets, policy development, strategic planning, human resources, project management, program development, labour relations/collective agreement negotiations, clerking, and a variety of other assignments.  Prior to becoming Band Manager, Randy was employed by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador as a Manager of Operations with Service NL.

In terms of education, Randy holds a Master of Public Administration Degree from Dalhousie University, a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Memorial University, and a Diploma of Business Management (Human Resources) from the College of the North Atlantic.

Randy reports that he is excited to get started.  He said, “I am very excited to begin working with the Qalipu First Nation.  After more than 16 years of engagement with the Mi’kmaq movement in Newfoundland, this feels like a right fit and natural next step for me both professionally and spiritually.  I look forward to working with the Chief, Council, and staff in pursuit of the best outcomes for our Nation.”

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Questions and Answers Regarding the Conclusion of the Qalipu Enrolment Process

The Enrolment Committee has completed its review of all 101,000 applications.  A letter regarding the Enrolment Committee’s decision on your file and next steps will be mailed on January 31, 2017.  You should expect to receive this letter in the mail within the first ten days of February.

For a comprehensive list of Questions and Answers regarding the upcoming conclusion of the Qalipu enrolment process, please click here

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A group of approximately 25 people gathered outside the office of MP Gudie Hutchings

Chief to Demonstrators: “I have an obligation to act in the best interest of our First Nation”

Corner Brook, January 3, 2017—Approximately 25 demonstrators gathered outside the Qalipu administrative office in Corner Brook today to raise concerns related to the upcoming conclusion of the Qalipu enrolment process.   At the end of January, some 101,000 letters will be mailed to Qalipu members, and those seeking membership, advising them of the Enrolment Committee’s decision on their application to become members of the Qalipu First Nation.  This marks the end the Bands registration process that began in 2008 when the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) partnered in signing the Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band.

The primary concern expressed by the demonstrators gathered at the gazebo on the Majestic Lawn before walking to MP Gudie Hutchings’ office, was that many people will not be found eligible for Founding Membership in the Band following their assessment under the enrolment criteria.  Some expressed the concern that their ancestry alone should be enough to qualify for membership in the First Nation.  Organizer and Qalipu member Blain Ford argued that the process should be thrown out, and the fight for recognition be taken up anew.

Chief Mitchell, who stood in solidarity with the demonstrators along with Corner Brook Ward Councilor Brian Dicks, said that while he is sympathetic to the concerns of applicants, walking away from the table or starting over would not be in the best interest of the First Nation.  He said, “I’m concerned about jeopardizing the decades of effort and persistence which allowed us to form the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.  After an incredible investment of time and resources, it would be unreasonable to walk away and expect that Canada would be willing to sit with us again any time soon on a new enrolment process.”

He also expressed concern over the risk of losing or suspending the many programs and benefits available to those who gain membership in Qalipu First Nation.

In a related statement, Chief Mitchell commented, “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 might have negotiated things differently had I been in a leadership position at the time that agreements were made. However, this is the legal agreement that created our First Nation and I have an obligation, as difficult as the outcome will be for many, to act in the best interest of our First Nation to see the enrolment process through as it had been previously negotiated.”

For more information on the Qalipu enrolment process please see the below fact sheet.  An updated series of Questions and related answers regarding the end of the Qalipu enrolment process has been added to the Band’s website.  Find these at qalipu.ca/band-registration/faq

Fact Sheet

In 2008 the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) partnered in signing the Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band.   In September of 2011, Qalipu received recognition as a First Nation under the Indian Act.  This was the culmination of decades of fighting for recognition as the Federation of Newfoundland Indians.  Negotiations had not accounted for the number of people who would eventually come forward laying claim to Mi’kmaq heritage.  In the final days allotted for review of applications under the Agreement in Principle (Agreement), tens of thousands of additional applications were received bringing the total to over 100,000 individuals seeking membership in the First Nation.  Leadership at the time, which consisted of INAC and the 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 INAC and the FNI.  The Supplemental Agreement outlined that all outstanding applications would be reviewed, including those that had already been assessed.  To ensure everyone was assessed with the same criteria, even those who had received status cards were reviewed under the criteria laid out in the Supplemental Agreement.

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 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.

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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