Message From the Chief – February 2, 2018


Happy New Year.   I hope that you all weathered the recent flooding in Newfoundland, and that in cases where damage was done, I pray that you found support in your families and community.  May the Creator bless you all with good health and the care of community in the year ahead.

Something that has been much talked about in the media and on Facebook recently is the issue of separation that has been brought forward by the Flat Bay Band Inc. This has been a concern for members living in Flat Bay, and for other people in our communities.  I would like to take a moment to address this topic.  Band Division is, in fact, a provision under the Indian Act.  If you would like to read about it for yourself, go to this link and look under the heading “How to divide a Band?”

I would like to take a moment to clarify a few points with members of the Qalipu First Nation who have been calling me to ask what this means for them, and others who may be wondering.  First, I am not in support of Band division.  Secondly, Band division would be a lengthy process involving formal application to INAC and agreement by the Minister.  Further, the elected Chief and Council of the day would have to agree to division.   Such a division would also require the majority vote of status members belonging to the impacted community.  In this case, status card holders who are members of the community of Flat Bay, and those directly affiliated with Flat Bay Band Inc.

While some of the rhetoric in the ongoing conversation seems to imply that Band division would rectify issues related to the enrolment process or achieve status for individuals who do not currently have it, I regret to say that it will not.  Only status members would decide on division, and the number of status card holders would remain the same.  I hope that this situation has not given false hope to people.

I have no issue with any community or organization doing whatever they can to better themselves and the lives of people.  I do however, feel that the timing may not be the best to publicly talk of division.  We should try to stick together at this time as we fight for the rights of people who are not yet members of Qalipu and those that may lose First Nation status after the enrolment process concludes.

At this time, I am working diligently for those residents of our 67 recognized Mi’kmaq communities who were assessed on the points system and were found ineligible for Founding Membership.  This system of assessment, the points system, was never intended to be applied to people who lived in one of those communities at the time of recognition! People who, in fact, lived there all their lives.  I am compiling information on cases like these and I will fight for their fair treatment.   There are many others in this process we strongly support, and we will continue to do so.

While I’m talking about fairness, how on earth can the very members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, those who voted to ratify the Agreement to create our First Nation in the first place, now be found ineligible for membership? This is unacceptable, and the Government of Canada has not heard the last from me on this.  Grassroots people, I am fighting for you.  I offer myself, wholeheartedly, to walk with the people and seek justice.

Were you an FNI member who voted on ratification for the Agreement in Principle, yet you have been found ineligible for Founding Membership? Did you live in a Mi’kmaq community yet, were assessed on the points system and denied membership because you didn’t have enough points?

I want to hear from you!  Please send your story to stories@qalipu.ca

Chief Brendan Mitchell

Management Team
Management Team, Qalipu First Nation (back L-R) Natural Resources Director Jonathan Strickland, Chief Brendan Mitchell, Band Manager Keith Goulding, Director of Operations Rob Dicks, (front L-R) Manager of Health Services Jenna Osmond, Comptroller Jodie Wells, Director of Education and Training Monique Carroll and Office Manager Janet McAuley. Missing from photo is Director of Community Development Ralph Eldridge.

Message from the Chief December 22 2017


As we prepare for the Christmas season, I pray that each of you are happy and in good health.  For those among us who are in need, let us all take a moment to send warm prayers of encouragement and hope for better days ahead.

Reflecting on all that has happened during 2017, I recognize that it has been a bittersweet year.  While there are many positive accomplishments to be proud of, we have also had moments that were challenging for our people and communities.  I would like to take a moment to highlight some of the positive moments of 2017.

We’ve been helpful to our young people with respect to the North American Indigenous Games.  Our Council donated $15,000 to support the young Mi’kmaq athletes who participated in this competitive sporting event.  We are currently planning for our continued engagement and support of our young athletes over the years to come.

We have also supported significant community events including the annual Bay St. George Powwow in Flat Bay, and the first ever Exploits Mawio’mi in Grand Falls-Windsor.   The work of our grassroots organizations and people are what keeps our culture and communities alive and thriving and, I am so proud of the many initiatives being led by the people.  Likewise, through our annual donation to the Qalipu Cultural Foundation, many workshops, teachings and events receive financial support through their grants.

In terms of the Qalipu administration and management, we have had a very good year indeed.  Every year INAC goes through a risk evaluation process of all First Nation Bands in Canada.  This involves looking at our protocol, our documentation, our reporting, transparency and accounting systems.  This year, we are proud to report a score of 1.51, likely the best score among all First Nations in Canada.

In 2017, we are also celebrating ISO certification.  This international certification is based on guidelines that, once met, demonstrate excellence and reliability in business operations, policy and procedures.  I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the staff here who have been working toward this achievement of this goal for the last two years.

I would be remiss not to acknowledge the Enrolment process and the hurt that it has caused among our people and communities.  I have been trying my best to bring a greater sense of fairness to this process but, the Government of Canada is standing firm on the agreement as signed.  I would go so far as to say the government has been unyielding to practical solutions that have been presented.  If you would like to hear more about what I have been up against in this situation, I encourage you to take a listen to my end of year interview on Mi’kmaq Matters

On behalf of Council and staff, I would like to extend a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and fulfilling New Year to each of you.  I pray that this Christmas your homes are filled with the true spirit of the season, and that you enjoy the company of family, friends and community.


Chief Brendan Mitchell

Moose Hide Pic

Message From the Chief October 2017


I hope this message finds you well.

We recently held our Annual General Assembly (AGA).  We like to move these meetings around so that our meetings are accessible to different communities throughout the regions.  This year, we held the AGA in Deer Lake, a community of the Benoit’s Cove Ward.  The AGA was an opportunity for us to review the activities and finances of the last fiscal year, and to talk about where we are going next.  A number of members were in attendance and there were some great questions asked.  To view the Annual Report, please click here

I am pleased to share that the Qalipu First Nation has partnered with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary to bring the Moose Hide Campaign to our communities in Newfoundland.  This is a grassroots movement, that started in British Columbia, of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men who are standing up against violence towards women and children.  Wearing the moose hide pin signifies a commitment to honour, respect, and protect the women and children in one’s life and to work together with other men to end violence against women and children.  Also, this program will be expanded in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Western Newfoundland.  For those who would like to wear the pin, please visit one of our office locations where the pins are available, free of charge.

In the coming months there will be more opportunities to get together as Ward Councilors arrange Town Hall meetings in their communities.  Please keep an eye on our events calendar for updated information on dates and locations for Ward meetings.  http://qalipu.ca/events/

We can soon expect to start receiving the results of the appeals process.  The first batch of letters is expected to be sent out at the end of October, and at the end of every consecutive month thereafter until the process has been completed.  We have compiled a number of questions and answers that should help everyone to understand the details of the process and how outcomes are determined.  Please click here to view the Question and Answers.

I would like to remind everyone that October is Mi’kmaq History Month.  In 1993, Nova Scotia Premier John Savage and Mi’kmaw Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy declared October as the official month to recognize and celebrate Mi’kmaw culture and heritage. Each October, community activities, events, sharing and showcasing the Mi’kmaw history takes place.  (http://mikmaqhistorymonth.ca/about/) .

Let this be an opportunity for all of us to learn something more about our history and culture, and share with each other what we have learned.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the executive and employees of the newly established People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre on their official opening at their locations in Stephenville and St. George’s.  I attended the official opening in St. George’s and, as usual, received a warm welcome and witnessed positive cultural sharing.  This is the ideal for Friendship Centre’s across Canada and is a natural fit for the Bay St. George area.  We can expect positive initiatives and good things from the People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre.  Find out what’s happening by visiting their new website here: http://pdifc.com/

I wish you all a pleasant fall season.  Be sure to spend time outside enjoying the fall colours before the snow comes.


Chief Brendan Mitchell


Message from the Chief July 14, 2017

It’s Powwow time! There was a real nice turn out at the Bay St. George Cultural Circle last night for the pre-powwow gathering, hosted there every year, and I’m on my way to Flat Bay in time for the Grand Entry of the 11th Annual Bay St. George Powwow tomorrow.   A special word of thanks to the committee that organized this year’s event.  Likewise, a special thanks to the people of Conne River who organized the Miawpukek Powwow last weekend, and for the warm welcome I received while visiting.  It was a wonderful time.

As your Chief, it’s important to me to meet with as many of you, face-to-face as I can throughout the year at these special gatherings.  Of course, there are many other areas of importance for the Nation, many of which we see outlined in Qalipu’s five-year Strategic Plan.  This plan was developed in consultation with membership both in person and by survey, and with the staff and Council focus-groups.  It is based around cornerstones that were most frequently identified by members and focus groups: Member Services; Communications; Culture & Heritage; Environmental Stewardship; Operational Excellence and Economic Development.

I’m proud to report some positive steps taken recently toward our Economic Development goals.  The pursuit of successful investment and business growth is the Band’s responsibility.  A Nation without reserve lands, we do not have access to significant natural resources to fuel growth and meet the demand for programs and services.  We must focus on generating income and wealth from sources other than direct government funding through successful economic growth and business development.

Qalipu has recently signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Barry Group Inc., the largest inshore fishing enterprise in Atlantic Canada.  Together we will pursue ocean perch quota access from the Federal Government.  Once obtained, there will be opportunities for our inshore fishers to obtain licenses from Qalipu, and further employment opportunities in processing plants that the Barry Group Inc. intends to establish on the west coast.  There will likely be hundreds of jobs for members and non-members alike.  We are also going to explore the development of a Qalipu branded fish product, and look forward to acquiring new skills and expertise from the Barry Group who has been active in our province’s fishery for more than a hundred years.

Participation in the fishery is not a new thing for our Band, or its predecessor the Federation of Newfoundland Indians.  For nearly twenty years we have managed quotas and fishing licenses for our membership through Mi’kmaq Commercial Fisheries, and through the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy.  Qalipu also owns and operates its own commercial fishing vessel.  This new partnership with the Barry Group builds on our past development in the fishery, and is a positive step forward in the sustainable management, and engagement of aboriginal people in the fishery; we look forward not only to economic development opportunities but also to carry on a tradition of our ancestors.  Fishing has long been a mainstay of our culture in this province, and part of our traditional way of life.

You can expect to hear more about the MOU and way forward as details are worked out between our Council and the Barry Group.

I wish you all the best this summer season.  May the Creator bless you with many wonderful moments.

Chief Brendan Mitchell

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


Message from the Chief – March 31 2017

After nearly a decade from the time the Agreement to create our first nation was signed, the Qalipu enrolment process recently culminated in the mailout of 101,000 decision letters.   By now members and applicants should have received a letter from the Enrolment Committee.  I am aware that there are some people who are still waiting.  Whether it is due to a changed address that didn’t get updated, or some other potential issue, I want you to know that Canada and the FNI are monitoring the situation.  It should be noted that requests for copies of the decision letters are addressed within 48 hours, and ensuring that all applicants have received their decision letter is of utmost importance.  This played an important part in the decision to extend the Appeal Notice submission deadline first from March 17 to the 31st, and recently to April 13, 2017.

The release of these letters on our communities, which included notification to some 10,500 current members that may potentially have their status revoked, has caused a great upset among our families and communities.

On February 13, I set out on a difficult journey to meet with members and applicants in communities across the province.   In each of the communities along the tour, I heard similar frustrations, confusion and uncertainty.  In Flat Bay, I witnessed the anger and frustration of three generations divided by status and non-status in one family; in St. George’s I met a veteran who was denied status due to residency, or his absence from the community while on multiple tours of duty; in Stephenville, a well-spoken woman from the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network brought forward the concerns of those who were lost in the confusion and paperwork of a long enrolment process.  At every stop on the community tour—Port au Port, Burgeo, Corner Brook, Benoit’s Cove, Port Saunders, Grand Falls-Windsor, Gambo, Appleton and St. John’s—I heard stories of upset that I now carry with me on my shoulders and in my heart.

I can sincerely say that I have heard and felt the struggle of people in our communities.  I know that our meetings were a good chance to talk to one another and I am truly greatful to have had the opportunity to meet so many of you during this difficult time.  I want you to know that while I cannot solve all the issues that I have heard about, I am doing everything that I can to ensure the most positive outcome possible.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you all of our End of Enrolment Support Team which has been put in place at each of our office locations-St. George’s, Stephenville, Corner Brook, Glenwood and Grand Falls-Windsor.  If you haven’t already reached out to a member of the team I encourage you to do so.  Each has been trained to help you understand the meaning of your decision letter, the appeals process, and the enrolment process as it unfolded overall.  We have also provided training for community members in Flat Bay, Burgeo, Port au Port, Port Saunders and Parsons Pond so that people in those areas may find the support they need.

Additionally, we recognize the strain that may be impacting our mental well-being and assistance is being made available to applicants in this regard.

My prayer is that we continue to find ways to work together to face the challenges that the enrolment issue presents.


Chief Brendan Mitchell

Chief Mitchell with the Qalipu Directors (L-R) Ralph Eldridge, Chief Brendan Mitchell, Keith Goulding and Rob Dicks

Christmas Greetings from the Chief


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.


Happy 5th Anniversary Qalipu First Nation

Happy 5th Anniversary Qalipu First Nation!

Today we celebrate the anniversary of our Band, established five years ago on September 22, 2011.  In the years since our inception we have grown and journeyed together as a community.  We have worked toward common goals of rediscovering and sharing our culture, and building a bright future for our Nation.

Looking back over these past five years we have much to be proud of:

  • Our new Council has been working hard to be actively engaged with our membership—all our regular meetings of Council are now open to membership and include an opportunity for them to ask questions. We have also worked to increase the number of Ward meetings that are held each year. Town Hall meetings are now being organized in all of our Wards for this Fall.
  • Our new Council has purchased buildings in Grand Falls-Windsor and in Stephenville. In addition to the recent establishment of the Qalipu Community Room in our existing building at 3 Church Street, Corner Brook, we are also working toward establishing community rooms at each of the new buildings to better serve our members in Central and Bay St-George.
  • We lobbied and secured funding for the hiring of a much needed new position to administer the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy. Through matching the funding provided by DFO, Qalipu has recently hired two new River Guardians.
  • We have recently established an Urban Reserve Planning Committee and have been working hard toward realization of this shared vision for the future.
  • We currently provide employment for 33 full time employees, 10 term employees and 12 seasonal employees.
  • We have provided assistance to more than 600 members with wage subsidies, self-employment assistance and youth employment programs.
  • $39.4 million dollars has been paid out in education funding to thousands of members for post-secondary diploma, degree and masters programs.
  • The Qalipu Cultural Foundation was developed to support cultural documentation, and promote the involvement of youth and elders in cultural activities including educational outreach, celebration of special days and the support of other organizations who are working to bring cultural offerings to the people.
  • Nearly $52 million dollars in health benefits have been paid out to our membership. We continue to pursue continued growth in this area.  We are currently set to launch administration of the Medical Transportation Benefit for all Wards and for members living in Atlantic Canada.  This initiative will improve the services and speed up reimbursement processing time for our members.
  • We have begun to move forward on the first year of our five-year Tourism Strategy with the hiring of a Tourism Development Officer. Implementation of the strategy will lead to sustainable aboriginal tourism in our nine Wards.
  • We administer 13 inshore fishing licenses and one 65-foot enterprise, manage real estate, and have developed a number of companies. Each of these endeavors are earning own-source revenue to help the Band build for its future.
  • We have developed many beneficial partnerships in terms of business development and community involvement.

Chief, Council and Qalipu Staff are committed to ensuring the growth, effectiveness and prosperity of Qalipu on behalf of our People, our Communities, and our Nation.


Message from the Chief September 2, 2016


How has the summer passed by so quickly? We are into September, a new school year and fall is just around the corner.  I hope that each of you have taken every opportunity to enjoy the fine weather and that you were lucky enough to spend time with family and friends doing the things that you love to do.  Personally, the memories of being on the river fishing, the smell of barbecued dinner, and the vibrant colours and people at our powwows and other special gatherings this summer, will be something I call on time and again to get me through the colder seasons.

This summer, I was extremely honoured to participate in the Flat Bay Powwow in July during which I was presented with an Eagle Staff by the Bay St. George Cultural Revival Committee.  Many thanks to the organizing committee, Chief Liz Lasaga and the community of Flat Bay for their support of this 10th anniversary event, and the hospitality shown to the performers, vendors and visitors alike.  The Flat Bay Powwow is getting to be one of the largest and most popular events of its kind here in Atlantic Canada.

I wish also to extend sincere thanks and gratitude on behalf of Qalipu Council to the organizing committee of the Cultural Mawio’mi, under the leadership of chairperson and Vice Chief Western Erica Samms-Hurley, held in Benoit’s Cove this summer.  Special thanks also to the Mayor, Council and community of Humber Arm South for providing such a beautiful venue.   Hopefully, another similar event will be happening in 2017.

I’m also writing today to share with you a few words on a wonderful experience myself and my wife Sheila were fortunate enough to have this past weekend at the Mi’kmaw Cultural Centre in De Grau.  The Centre itself is a wonderful community facility that was made possible through the vision and hard work of local Benoit First Nation Chief Jasen Benwah, also a Qalipu Councilor for the Port aux Port Ward.  It is so refreshing to see the various indigenous groups that are active and alive in their communities.

During the week of August 26-30 the Centre was the site of a Mi’kmaw Language and Culture Camp.  More than a 100 people participated in the sessions, with 88 of them staying for the whole camp and receiving certificates for their accomplishments.  It is evident when speaking with members of the Qalipu First Nation that there is a strong desire to learn the Mi’kmaw language.  Indeed, many have been seeking new opportunities to self-identify and discover elements of their Mi’kmaq heritage such as language.

I have an incredible sense of optimism about the community leaders who are working so hard to bring opportunities to the people, and a sense of pride in the interest of all those participants who signed up to learn Mi’kmaq basics and, in so doing, carry our culture and heritage forward for future generations.

Let me take this opportunity to acknowledge those leaders that made this camp possible.  Through Delina Petitpa’s work as Chairperson of the Mi’kmaq Burial Grounds Research Restoration Association we have seen four language camps take place in the Bay St. George region.   We hope that language sessions can be held in the Bay of Islands and Central Newfoundland in the future.

I would also like to acknowledge our teachers who traveled from Nova Scotia to be with us: Dr. Bernie Francis and Mr. Curtis Michael.  These gentlemen teach in the true Mi’kmaw spirit: with song, laughter and love in addition to sharing the skills and know-how of language.  Thanks also to Jasen Benwah, the Benoit First Nation Women’s Association, Marcella Williams, Kerri Cutler, and Terry Muise for their special contributions to the success of the language and culture camp.

I’d like to wish everyone a safe Labour Day weekend and hope that each of you will take the opportunity to enjoy these last sunny days of summer.  I look forward to seeing you at Ward Town Hall Meetings that will be scheduled in your areas this coming fall, and at regular meetings of Council which are open for all members to attend.


Chief Brendan Mitchell


National Aboriginal Day Prayer for the People

Kwe’ Kis’ulk, Creator

Tomorrow we celebrate National Aboriginal Day, a day dedicated for all Canadians to celebrate the contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to our communities, our provinces and to the development of our country.  From coast to coast to coast, we celebrate together.

This year marks 20 years since National Aboriginal Day was created.  This national day of recognition is the result of consultations and statements of support for such a day made by various Indigenous groups.  This demonstrates that when we work together, and unite our voices with a common goal, we can accomplish great things.  Thank you Creator for those who have gone before us and made such a day of celebration an annual event that we look forward to and cherish.

Special events and gatherings have been scheduled for several of our communities across the island.  I encourage everyone to take this opportunity to share in the fun and the pride of our unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of the indigenous peoples of Canada.

Creator, please bless this special day for the benefit of all Canadians.

Msit No’kmaq,

Chief Brendan Mitchell

Please click here to visit our events calendar to find out what’s happening in your area to mark this special day.