Left to right: Chief Brendan Mitchell, Lindsay Batt, Salome Barker, Alex Antle at the inaugural Mawita'jik Maljewe'jk Youth Gathering
Left to right: Chief Brendan Mitchell, Lindsay Batt, Salome Barker, Alex Antle at the inaugural Mawita'jik Maljewe'jk Youth Gathering

Message From The Chief – September 21, 2020

Kwe’

On behalf of Qalipu Council, our Executive Committee, and staff, I welcome you to our Annual General Assembly (AGA) 2020. Our approach to conducting our AGA this year differs from past years in that a virtual meeting, made available through live streaming, will allow a greater number of our members to view and participate in the AGA.

In recent months, there have been many precautions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.  This situation has changed the way we interact, communicate, work, and socialize.  Qalipu First Nation continues to deliver beneficial programs and services to its membership.  While it’s not business as usual, we have been able to maintain a satisfactory level of service. I wish to take this opportunity to thank our Council and staff for their dedication and commitment in support of our members during this time. Going forward in dealing with COVID-19, we will continue to take necessary precautions to protect our staff and members. I encourage everyone to take this situation very seriously whether at home or at work by following prescribed measures to protect you and your family.

Qalipu First Nation was able to secure funding for our membership to offset some of the negative impacts of COVID-19. Funding program opportunities to date total $2,228,272 consisting of $52,975 COVID-19   Support Fund, $678,311 from a Community Emergency Response Fund for Emergency and Off Reserve and $1,496,987 from Canada’s Economic Response Plan for Post Secondary Student Support. In addition to Government of Canada’s support, Qalipu recognized the need to contribute an additional $266,745 to provide further support.

We are now coming to the end of year two of the three-year term of this Council. I wish to thank Councill members for their continued support and collaboration in advancing Qalipu on behalf of our members. Progress and successes have been achieved in many areas during the past year. A major accomplishment has been certification with the First Nations Financial Management Board. This certification involved a significant effort by staff and Council to enable Qalipu to become the fourth First Nation Band in Atlantic Canada to achieve this distinction. Certification with the First Nations Financial Management Board will ensure that Qalipu has the financial independence needed to grow as a Nation.

First Nations Financial Management Board certification was an integral step in the path towards ten- year grant funding which was introduced in 2019. The funding agreement marks a significant departure from our previous annual allocation of funds. The new ten-year funding arrangement allows Qalipu to tailor its own programs, carry money forward from year to year and focus on a vision for the future that is driven by people and communities. In conjunction with the ten-year grant funding arrangement, Qalipu is developing a Comprehensive Community Plan.

Qalipu continues to be an active member of the Assembly of First Nations and the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat. Membership in these organizations was achieved July 2018 and April 2019 respectively. During November 2019, senior representatives of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council visited Qalipu First Nation for the first time. This visit was a significant opportunity to establish a positive relationship with the Mi’kmaq Grand Council and Mi’kmaq of Atlantic Canada. Grand Council representatives included Grand Chief Norman Sylliboy, Grand Keptin Antle Denny, Keptin Stephen Augustine and Keptin Chief Mi’sel Joe.

Qalipu First Nation, in conjunction with its consultant, has been engaged in developing an updated Strategic Plan. Discussions were conducted with Council, staff, and members through community engagement sessions. This plan, which has a ten-year outlook, will be finalized in the third quarter of this year. I thank everyone who participated in this important initiative.

This past summer saw the cancellation of many significant cultural events here in Newfoundland, in Atlantic Canada and throughout Canada. Our staff at Qalipu compensated for the loss of in-person gatherings by using a virtual approach made possible through technology to share cultural initiatives.  Staff, community members and community organizations collaborated to share cultural information and teachings to our broader membership.

Enrolment in Qalipu First Nation continues to be an item of concern for Council. On November 15, 2018, the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians agreed to enter into exploratory discussions to address outstanding concerns regarding members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans, RCMP and FNI members or members of other organizations named in the 2008 Agreement in Principle and who were denied membership in Qalipu. Despite discussions beginning in earnest during December 2018, we are yet to finalize agreements to allow these groups membership in Qalipu. The veterans file has advanced positively, and discussions have been favourable as we now near finalization of an Agreement. Regarding those   affiliated with the FNI, discussions are ongoing with Canada and an Agreement will be forthcoming. Eventually, Qalipu members will become engaged in a ratification process to enable executing any new Agreements with the Government of Canada regarding enrolment.

Other initiatives for which discussions are ongoing include the establishment of an urban reserve and development of a Mi’kmaq language program at Qalipu.

In the coming year, we expect to see significant initiatives come to fruition. Qalipu members will experience a high level of community engagement by our Council as we endeavor to create a better tomorrow for our people and our Nation. Let’s commit to working together in peace, harmony and unity as we move forward.

Wela’lin

 

Chief Brendan Mitchell

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Message From the Chief – May 15 2020

Kwe’

I want to make you all aware that Qalipu First Nation has received financial support through the COVID-19 support fund for Indigenous Communities and to ask for your feedback.

Please join our Facebook Watch Party this coming Thursday, May 21st., at 7:30 PM when I’ll chat with Band Manager Keith Goulding. Together, we’ll explain the fund and ask our members for input on how we allocate this support to our communities in the best way possible.

You can participate in a live discussion at that time, and we encourage you to send your feedback to communications@qalipu.ca

I pray that you all are doing well and staying safe.

Wela’lin

Chief Brendan Mitchell

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Message From the Chief – April 13 2020

On behalf of everyone at Qalipu, I extend our sincere condolences to Ward Councilor Odelle Pike on the passing of her brother Pat Muise who left us for the spirit world yesterday. Over the past few years, I’ve been around Pat on many occasions and always appreciated his honesty and a great sense of humour.

He will be missed by all of us.

I realize that during this time of COVID- 19 there won’t be an opportunity for a funeral service. This is another sad impact of this pandemic which is affecting all families who deal with the loss of a loved one during these trying times.

Our prayers are with you and your family at this time.

Let us take a moment to look back on this story from Qalipu’s newsletter of April 2016 in which Pat shares some of his story, and we see his good heart shining through.

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Wela’lin,
Chief Brendan Mitchell

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Message From the Chief – March 27 2020

Kwe’

While it has been a long week, perhaps the heavy snowfall this morning will provide some of you with a healthy way to get some fresh air while practicing the concepts of physical distancing. I hope that all of you are finding ways to be peaceful and happy in our time at home in self-isolation.

Each day, we learn of the increasing number of COVID cases in Newfoundland. I want to remind you all that we must be careful. There are some important tips that we should all be following, and I hope that we are each doing our best. Remember, the best way to prevent the spread of infections is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your face; when coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with your arm or tissues; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and if you can, stay home.

Many of you have heard about a funding allocation for First Nation communities. We have been at the table for many discussions regarding this funding however, it has largely been allocated for reserve communities. We continue to work with our partners in Indigenous Services Canada to find ways to access funds and resources to support our membership.

We are as well looking at existing programs and services to see if we can find any ways to provide some assistance to members at this time of need, but we do not anticipate government support at this time.

I would like to remind you all that our staff and Council continue to work from home, to maintain the service and programs on which we rely. I would like to thank our staff for their professionalism and adaptability during this difficult time, and I look forward to seeing what they’ve been working on with new video programs to help us all feel more connected while learning new things. Programming begins on our Facebook page next week.

Take care, everyone.

Wela’lin

Chief Brendan Mitchell

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Message From The Chief – March 20, 2020

Kwe’

Greetings from my living room to yours!

It has been quite a week at Qalipu First Nation, and around the world.  As details came to us about the COVID-19 pandemic, we responded accordingly.  First, we postponed all scheduled public events and restricted staff travel.  Then we took the additional step of closing our offices to outside traffic, we shut down the community rooms and closed our Council meeting. Finally, before the week was out, we found ourselves equipping staff to work from home, and making plans to continue the delivery of programs and services upon which our members rely.

We are still reeling from these changes, the stripping down of many of our relied upon routines, activities and social living.

The truth is, we are experiencing an unprecedented moment in our shared history and change can be difficult.  However, the decisions we are making today demonstrate that we are willing to put the health of our communities above all else, and that is something of which we can all be proud.

I hope that we can stay connected in the weeks ahead before things return to normal.   I encourage you to send in pictures and news of how you are finding ways of enjoying this time off the beaten path.  We will share them in our weekly newsletter to help us all feel a little more connected and perhaps even inspired.

Wela’lioq

Chief Brendan Mitchell

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Message From the Chief – January 2020

Kwe

On behalf of our Council and staff, I wish to extend to everyone a very Merry Christmas and share my hope for a New Year that brings happiness, good health, prosperity and success to all.

This Christmas, may your homes be filled with the true warmth and spirit of the season; good times spent with family and friends, good food, nice music and special moments that will create beautiful memories with loved ones.

Wli Nuelewi aq Pusu’l Puna’ne
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Chief Brendan Mitchell

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Message from the Chief September 2019

Kwe’

As we approach our Annual General Assembly, coming up this weekend on September 15th in Corner Brook and on September 29th in Grand Falls-Windsor, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the year gone by and the accomplishments of our Nation.  It brings me great pride to report on some of this good work being done by our Council, staff, committees and community leaders to move us forward together, for a better tomorrow.

In October 2018, our new Council was elected, and I am excited about the active participation that our Councilors are demonstrating in our Ward communities, and the progress made during the past several months.

For the first time, the Annual General Assembly (AGA) is being held in both central and western regions as a means of facilitating greater direct participation by our members.   Further, also for the first time, the AGA will be live-streamed and available to those who can’t attend the AGA in person.

At this time, I would like to take the opportunity to thank our Council members for their support and collaboration in moving Qalipu forward in a positive way on behalf of our members.

On July 26, 2018 (St. Anne’s Day), Qalipu First Nation was accepted into the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).  This was a significant and important move for us as we now take our rightful place with other First Nations in Canada.  Membership in this national group, representing some 900,000 First Nation citizens in Canada, signifies acceptance and acknowledgment for the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland.  This represents a significant step forward in our own journey towards reconciliation.  Qalipu continues to participate in all major events hosted by the AFN.

In April 2019, Qalipu became a member of the Atlantic Policy Congress (APC) all Chiefs Secretariat.  This policy and advocacy body represents more than thirty First Nation communities in Atlantic Canada and Gaspe region of Quebec.  The APC plays an important role in economic development activities in support of all Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Innu communities across the Atlantic Region.

Qalipu has been working with the APC in areas of Education, Community Development and Natural Resources and looks forward to new ways of collaborating and building strength as a united First Nation peoples.  Our wish at Qalipu First Nation is to work collaboratively with other Chiefs and Indigenous communities across Atlantic Canada in an effort to work to build a better tomorrow for all Mi’kmaq.

Also in this past fiscal year, Qalipu entered into a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the College of the North Atlantic (CNA) which will see both parties collaborate on the delivery of new educational pathways, as well as community and business development initiatives.  Throughout the term of the MOU the organizations will explore educational opportunities which will allow students to complete high school and transition into post-secondary education; build professional capacity in educational programming in health sciences, tourism, business development and environmental stewardship; and, explore mutually beneficially partnerships on applied research and innovation that lead to sustainable community and business development.

Qalipu was recently recognized as a committed supporter of Reservists in the Canadian Armed Forces and received the Special Award for support to the Reserve Force (Black Bear Program) on May 9, 2019, during a formal ceremony at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.  I am proud of the commitment that Qalipu has made to promote and encourage our youth to participate in this worthwhile program.  This past summer a total of eleven youth enrolled in the Black Bear Program.  Nine successfully completed the program, seven of whom were members of the Qalipu First Nation.

On March 14, 2019, Qalipu signed a ten-year grant funding agreement with Indigenous Services Canada. The agreement marks a significant departure from annually allocated funds that were often lacking in flexibility and autonomy for the Band and marks a new opportunity for creating a shared vision for the future with the members it represents.  The new comprehensive funding agreement will allow the Band to design its own programs, carry money forward from year to year, and focus on creating a vision for the future that is driven by the people and communities it represents.  In conjunction with the ten-year grant funding agreement, Qalipu will be developing a Comprehensive Community Plan.  We look forward to the active engagement of our membership in developing a long-term plan for our future.

Early in 2019, Qalipu staff and Councilors traveled around the island to deliver information sessions regarding the many programs services and benefits that are available through the Band, and to familiarize new members about what it means to belong to the Qalipu First Nation. In total, eleven sessions were hosted.  Sessions were well attended by our members who were provided with an information guide that outlined the many programs available through the Band.  The Membership Information Guide is available at our offices and on our website and is an excellent resource for all Band members.

On November 15, 2018, the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians entered into exploratory discussions to “…address outstanding concerns regarding members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans, RCMP and FNI members or members of other Mi’kmaq organizations who were named in the 2008 agreement and denied Founding Membership.” Discussions began in December 2018 and will continue as we strive to finalize membership.

In the coming year, you will experience the same high level of engagement in our communities by our Council.  The focus will continue to be directed toward completing the many initiatives that have been identified in our strategic plan and to new initiatives that will be brought forward by our community members.  We endeavour to work together in peace, harmony, and unity with our member communities as we strive to build a better tomorrow for our people and our Nation.

Wela’lin
Chief Brendan Mitchell

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Chief Bob Gloade, APC Co-Chair, Regional Chief Roger Augustine, Assembly of First Nations, Chief Brendan Mitchell, Qalipu First Nation, John G. Paul, Executive Director, Atlantic Policy Congress, Chief Terry Paul, Membertou First Nation.

Message From the Chief – April 12 2019

Kwe’

It’s been a very long but busy winter at Qalipu First Nation.  We have seen some substantial advances and as spring brings forward growth and new life, we look forward to new opportunities at Qalipu First Nation.

Recently, we’ve taken a positive step forward in building our relationship within the broader Mi’kmaq community in Atlantic Canada.  On April 11, we were accepted into the Atlantic Policy Congress.  This regional policy, research and advocacy organization plays an important role in economic development activities across the region in support of all Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passmaquoddy and Innu communities across Atlantic Canada.   We are pleased to be a part of this organization and look forward to working in unity and collaboration with our First Nation neighbours.

The Band recently completed the first phase of certification with the First Nations Financial Management Board.   This certification gives us greater financial independence and opportunity.  This certification also shows that our First Nation has sound financial and business practices in place as we plan for the long-term success of the Band.

On April 2, we were pleased to announce a new development that provides for more sustainable funding for our membership, and a stronger sense of self-determination for our Nation.  We signed a ten-year grant funding agreement with Indigenous Services Canada.  The agreement marks a significant departure from annually allocated funds that were often lacking in flexibility and autonomy for the Band and marks a new opportunity for creating a shared vision for the future with the people we represent.  The Agreement is effective as of April 1, 2019.

I’m especially pleased with the effort that is being put forward by our staff with regards to membership engagement throughout the province.  We have met with people in Grand Falls-Windsor, Gander, Gander Bay, St. George’s, Stephenville, Flat Bay and Burgeo.  The final leg of the tour will include Port au Port, Corner Brook, Benoit’s Cove and St. John’s.

Regarding enrolment, we continue to be engaged in exploratory discussions with the Government of Canada regarding treatment of military and RCMP (veterans) and those who were former members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians who have lost status or who were not admitted into the Band initially.  Conversations have been ongoing since December and we are moving in a positive direction based on our discussions to date.

Our Education and Training Department has been working collaboratively with the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve Unit to raise awareness of a summer employment opportunity for indigenous people.  The Black Bear Program is six-week training opportunity conducted in Camp Gagetown, NB.   It provides an opportunity for participants to gain basic military training, earn $4200, have all travel, accommodations and meals provided.  As well, culture is integrated into all elements of training.  I encourage people to consider this program as a rewarding summer employment opportunity.  The deadline to apply is April 30, 2019.  Find out more here: https://www.canada.ca/en/army/services/black-bear.html

I wish you all the best and hope you have a very happy and enjoyable Easter.

Wela’lin

Chief Brendan Mitchell

Kerzen zum gedenken.

Message From the Chief – January 10 2019

Kwe’

I was saddened to hear the news of a terrible tragedy that occurred last night in Conne River.  A young woman’s life was taken in an act of violence.  I encourage all of you to pray with me for healing and comfort for her family and community who are today dealing with the impact of such a terrible loss.

Wela’lin
Chief Brendan Mitchell

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Message from the Chief – December 24, 2018

Kwe’

On behalf of Qalipu Council and Staff, I would like to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and I hope and pray that the New Year will be filled with encouragement, good health and prosperity for all.

My wish is that your homes will be filled with the true spirit of Christmas and that good times will be shared with family and friends as we celebrate this beautiful season.

The past year has been busy and productive for our Council and Staff as we have endeavoured to provide programs and services which meet the needs of our people and communities. Our new Council which was sworn in on November 23, is looking forward to 2019 and the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We will continue to move forward together in the spirit of unity and collaboration in building upon what has already been accomplished.

We recognize the need for a better outcome regarding enrolment in Qalipu First Nation as many Founding Members lost status in August. We will continue to press for changes that will bring many people back to Qalipu. This new conversation with the Government of Canada began in December and will carry into the next few months.

Your new Council will continue to concentrate efforts on cultural initiatives and language and will be providing support for community initiatives in this regard. Business development will see greater focus with a goal to provide funds that will be eventually distributed to our Ward communities. Also, health and wellness initiatives are expected to see expansion. Two new Qalipu Committees have been introduced in the areas of housing and communications to better meet member needs. We look forward to keeping Qalipu members and our communities apprised of new developments in these and other areas.

I am excited and optimistic about what Qalipu First Nation will accomplish in 2019 and I look forward to working together with our new Council for the betterment of our People and our Nation.

Merry Christmas,

Chief Brendan Mitchell