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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.

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

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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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.

Sport coach training a young attractive woman on a stadium

Wanted: Chaperones and Coaches for the 2017 North American Indigenous Games

Purpose: To provide, in a volunteer capacity, support to Team Indigenous Newfoundland Labrador Athletes in preparation, training and participation in the 2017 North American Indigenous Games in Toronto, Ontario – July 16-23, 2017. All Coaches will assist and support the Chef de Mission and Assistant Chef de Mission in a variety of aspects affecting Team NL prior to and during the Games, and are accountable on these matters to the Chef de Mission.

Major Duties of Coaches/Chaperones

  • Being responsible for the athletes of their sport throughout the full duration of the Games and prior training from July 12th, 2017 till athletes return home from the games on July 24st , 2017
  • Promote a safe, harassment-free environment where team members are treated with respect so that their experience can be a positive and memorable one
  • Ensuring that all of their athletes are aware of and understand the Team NL code of conduct and disciplinary code
  • Residing in the assigned accommodation with their Athletes throughout the games
  • Agreeing to and signing the Team NL Code of Conduct
  • Abiding by and enforcing Team NL’s Dress Code
  • Coaching in a fair and respectful manner
  • Administering discipline for minor infractions
  • Reporting all incidents of harassment to Mission Staff
  • Being responsible for competitor’s preparation, performance and conduct prior to, during and after the Games
  • Assisting with administrative tasks for the team, including registration, uniform allocation, and transportation
  • Assisting Mission Staff and the Host Society with accreditation and accommodation procedures
  • Being familiar with the roles and responsibilities of Mission staff
  • Attending all required Team NL official functions and ceremonies when requested by the Mission Staff
  • Providing input and feedback to your respective Mission Staff or Assistant Chef de Mission regarding the Games

Mandatory Qualifications for Coaches/ Chaperones

– At least 21 years of age
– A resident of Newfoundland Labrador for at least two years prior to the actual Games
– Able to take time off from work to properly prepare for and attend the Games
– Possess very strong interpersonal skills, organizational skills, ability to work well with others
– Must demonstrate good moral character
– Must submit Police Criminal Record Check not dated earlier than February 2016

Preferred Qualifications for Coaches/ Chaperones

– Past/current involvement and experience in the Newfoundland Labrador sporting/cultural community
– Acquisition of basic certification from the National Coaching Certification Program in your sport if available, coaching experience will also be considered

 

If you are interested in this opportunity please check out the application which can be found here.
Instructions on how to apply and deadline are found within the application.

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Vice Chief Erica Samms Hurley appointed to Canadian Institutes of Health Research Advisory Committee

October 31, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is pleased with the recent appointment of Erica Samms-Hurley, a Mi’kmaq woman from Newfoundland and a member of the Qalipu First Nation, to the Institute Advisory Board (IAB) on Chronic Conditions at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).” –nwac.ca

If you wish to read more on this article please click here

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Benoit 1st Nation Annual Assembly and Mi’kmaw Centre Grand Opening

Band Members, general public and invited guests attended the Benoit 1st nation Annual Assembly and Mi’kmaw Centre Grand opening which was a cultural gathering and celebration that took place on Sunday, Oct 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm at the Mi’kmaw Centre in Degrau, NL

The event began with a Smudging/ Blessing of the building and the attendees with sage and sweet grass by our Spiritual Advisor Terry Muise.

This was followed by the blessing of the Spirit Wind Community Drum and then the Welcoming song and the Gathering Song.

Rev Patry of the RC Parish of Our Lady of the Cape said read a statement and blessed for the Centre and this was followed by the cutting of the red ribbon signifying the Official opening of the Centre along with the carrying of the Community flag and the Mi’kmaq Nation Flag by Elders Godfrey Benoit and Jerome Benoit.

This event marks the 1st Mi’kmaw Cultural Centre for this region and was very much needed to help the local Mi’kmaq population immerse themselves in traditions, heritage, cultural activities, drumming and language.

Then drumming of the Feast Song followed by a feast, cake cutting and more feasting with snacks, treats and finger foods.

The Benoit 1st Nation Annual Financial Report was handed out to all band members.

The event closed off with the Travellers song followed by a group photo.

The event was hosted by the Benoit 1st Nation Women’s Council who did a beautiful job with the celebrations.