Representatives of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council, the traditional governing body of the Mi’kmaq people, recently visited Newfoundland to meet with the Qalipu Chief and Council, and community members. Grand Chief Norman Sylliboy, Grand Keptin Antle Denny, Keptin Stephen Augustine spent the weekend on the west coast including a meet and greet in Corner Brook, attendance at a Council meeting, a visit to the community of Flat Bay and a potluck feast and community gathering at the People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre in St. Georges, the oldest recorded Mi’kmaq settlement on the island. Grand Council Keptin Mi’sel Joe, Chief of Miawpukek First Nation was also on hand during the visit.
Grand Keptin Antle Denny, spokesperson for the Grand Council, noted that the visit to Newfoundland was an acknowledgement of the extended Mi’kmaq family in Newfoundland, the eastern edge of the traditional Mi’kmaq territory, Mi’kma’ki. He said, “We were happy to visit and meet some of our relations, visit communities and acknowledge our extended Mi’kmaq family. Unity is the Mi’kmaq way.”
Building relationships with Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia and throughout the broader Indigenous community has been an important priority for Chief Mitchell and Council. In 2018, the Band was formally recognized and accepted as a member of the Assembly of First Nations and in April of 2019, Qalipu was brought into the group known as the Atlantic Policy Congress. Relationship building with the Mi’kmaq Grand Council is another important step for the Band and the communities it represents.
Qalipu Chief Brendan Mitchell was pleased to welcome the Grand Council delegation, the first visit of its kind in the province. He said, “I’m extremely honoured and pleased that the Grand Council made this inaugural visit to Newfoundland to meet our Council and membership and visit our communities. It was an opportunity for us to share with them who we are and hear about the history of the Grand Council.”
Many community members came out to meet the special guests including Michelle Bennett who presented a special gift for Chief Stephen Augustine. She said, “I loved watching his creation story on YouTube, so I decided to paint what I was hearing. It doesn’t matter how many times I hear him tell the story, it’s powerful every single time.”
Chief Mitchell added that the Qalipu First Nation looks forward to a long-lasting and positive relationship going forward with the Grand Council.