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Canada to reassess nearly 58,000 applicants for Founding Membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation and commits to exploratory discussions on membership for veterans, military members, RCMP and FNI members

November 15, 2018 — Ottawa, ON — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Canada remains committed to renewing the nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.

Today, Gudie Hutchings, Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains and Yvonne Jones, Member of Parliament for Labrador, on behalf of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, along with Brendan Mitchell, President of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) announced the next steps in the implementation of the Wells/Wells decision.

Canada and the FNI will be moving forward with reassessing approximately 58,000 individuals who were denied Founding Membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. In addition, parties have committed 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 Mi’kmaq organizations who were named in the 2008 agreement and denied Founding Membership. Individuals affected by the exploratory discussions will be contacted once further information becomes available.

The review of the Enrolment Process is a result of the May 8, 2018 Federal Court decision on the David Wells and Sandra Wells case, which deemed the requirement for proof of self-identification to the Mi’kmaq community pre-dating 2008 to be unreasonable and unenforceable. Therefore, these individuals will have the right to request reassessment of their application and to submit additional documentation for the self-identification criterion.

Individuals affected by the Wells decision will be contacted by mail in January 2019 with information on how to submit additional documents to have their application reassessed. Those who wish to have their applications reviewed will be asked to submit the form and documents with a postmark no later than 100 days after receipt of their letter.

Quick Facts on the Wells Decision

  • On May 8, 2018, Federal Court released its decision in the David Wells and Sandra Wells case, stipulating that it was unreasonable to require applicants to provide proof of self-identification to the Mi’kmaq community pre-dating the 2008 Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band.
  • This decision means that the approximate 58,000 individuals whose application for Founding Membership to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation was denied based on the self-identification criterion of the Enrolment Process, now have the right to request reassessment of their application and to submit additional documentation.
  • In January 2019 (TBD), the Government of Canada and Federation of Newfoundland Indians will notify the 58,000 applicants eligible for re-assessment as a result of the Wells decision on next steps for the reassessment of their application.
  • Those affected should ensure their mailing address is up to date by contacting the Qalipu toll-free telephone line (1-800-561-2266). Individuals whose mailing address has not changed since their initial application are not required to provide updated information.
  • Additional information on the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Enrolment Process and the process through which the Wells decision will be implemented can be found online.

Quick Facts on the Exploratory Discussions

  • In the signature of the 2008 and 2013 Agreements and the Indemnity Agreement, the Government of Canada, the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, and the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation all agreed to the eligibility criteria individuals were required to meet in order to register under the Band.
  • In accordance with the 2008 and 2013 Agreements, and with the Enrolment and Appeals Processes, no exemptions or exceptions were granted to Veterans or members of other distinctive groups. However, Canada has heard the concerns regarding Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP, veterans, as well as members of FNI, who believe their applications were unfairly denied and will be entering into discussions with the FNI on this matter.
  • The Government of Canada recognizes and deeply values the meaningful contributions of Indigenous Veterans, RCMP, Canadian Armed Forces and other members of the military, to the development of our nation, and honours the sacrifices they have made in the defense of freedom and the pursuit of world peace.

 

Quotes

“The creation of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation is an important step towards reconciliation and the recognition of Newfoundland’s Mi’kmaq People. Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians will continue to work in close collaboration throughout the implementation of the Federal Court’s decision, in the spirit of upholding the integrity of founding membership.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“I encourage all those who are eligible to submit additional documentation regarding the self-id criteria to do so.  Letters will be mailed to impacted individuals in the near future so I encourage you to ensure that your mailing address is up-to-date.  If you’ve moved or changed address, please contact 1-800-561-2266.  Let’s all look out for one another by sharing this news among our communities.”

Brendan Mitchell
President of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians

Psychotherapy session, woman talking to his psychologist

Qalipu to Deliver Mental Health Counselling Service

November 1, 2018, Corner Brook—The Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce an expansion to our Health Division and our health services delivery.  Effective November 1, 2018, Qalipu will take on administration of the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Mental Health Counselling benefit for members of the Band living in Atlantic Canada.

The NIHB Mental Health Counselling benefit is intended to provide coverage for mental health counselling to complement other mental wellness services that may be available. This service provides for up to 22 hours of counselling annually (with extensions if needed) for individuals, children, families and groups.

There are numerous providers across the Atlantic Region that deliver this service who are ready to set appointments with clients.  To access counselling, members of the Band can choose a counsellor from the list, call to make an appointment and, after the appointment, the counsellor will send a request for approval to Qalipu for processing and the member bears no cost.

If a Band member needs to travel outside of their community to access their counsellor, they may also be eligible to receive support under the medical transportation benefit.

Mitch Blanchard, Manager of the Health Service Division said, “There are times in all of our lives when counselling could make a difference, and we encourage all those who are eligible to take advantage of the help that is available.  You don’t have to go through it alone.”

Those experiencing emotional distress and wishing to talk can also contact the toll- free Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310, or the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Mental health counselling is the second NIHB benefit for which Qalipu has taken over the administration on behalf of members living in Atlantic Canada.  The Band began administering the medical transportation benefit last year and plans to pursue management of other programs and services to grow the Band’s ability to serve its own membership, create employment opportunities for our people, and generate own source revenue that can be re-invested into our communities.

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Qalipu First Nation Band Election 2018

Qalipu First Nation Band Election 2018

October 24, 2018, Corner Brook—The Qalipu First Nation Band holds its election every three years to choose its governing body; a Chief, two Vice-Chiefs representing central and western Newfoundland, and nine Ward Councilors. Yesterday, thousands of members of the Band turned up at the polls to choose those leaders that will represent them for the next three years.

Brendan Mitchell was re-elected to lead the Nation as Chief. At the end of the night, Mitchell came out at almost double the votes received by his closest competitor, Hayward Young. Mitchell had received 2500 votes to Young’s 1290 votes. Clyde Russell, a third contender for Chief had a good showing at 867 votes.

In central Newfoundland, incumbent Joe Bouzanne was defeated by Randy Drover for the position of central Vice-Chief and in western Newfoundland, Keith Cormier went head to head with Andy Tobin for the position of western Vice-Chief, coming out on top at 1526-982 by the end of the counts. Edith Miller wasn’t far behind at 691 votes while Ron Jesseau, Blain Ford and Gary Greene who were also vying for the position had a good showing with several hundred votes a piece.

Incumbents Brian Dicks, Corner Brook Ward, Bern White, Benoit’s Cove Ward, Andy Barker, Exploits Ward and Jasen Benwah, Port au Port Ward were all successful in their bid to be re-elected for another term as Ward Councilor.

In St. George’s, newcomers Ivan J. White and Kenny Lee competed for the seat vacated by Arlene Blanchard White. Ivan J. White came out on top of that race 251-134. In Stephenville, for the seat vacated by former Ward Councilor Gerard Alexander, Odelle Pike came out on top in a race against former Councilor Joe White and newcomer Stefan Young. Odelle defeated nearest competitor Stefan Young at 354-305. White was not far behind at 238 votes.

In the Wards of Flat Bay, Gander Bay and Glenwood, the seats were won by acclamation. Of the three, Ivan White representing the Flat Bay Ward is new to the table while Frank Skeard of the Glenwood Ward and Calvin Francis of Gander Bay go on for their third consecutive term on the Qalipu Council.

Voter turn-out in this election was up from 2015 with a 25.3% voter turnout.

Keith Goulding, Band Manager, said that he was happy to see more members engaged but, that the Band can do better.
He said, “We are happy with another successful election, but we still hope to see more of our membership engaged in the process. With the amendment vote to change the way we administer elections, which passed last night with a 73% approval from membership who voted, we should see a more efficient, inclusive and effective election in 2021.”

Following a 30-day appeal period, per the Custom Rules governing Qalipu elections, the new Council will be sworn in and take office.

Click Here to view the 2018 Election End of Polls – Counts
Click Here to view the 2018 Election End of Polls – Council Elect

Breaking news

Qalipu Becomes Member of the Assembly of First Nations

July 26, 2018

Today in Vancouver at the 39th Annual General Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations, the Qalipu First Nation was accepted as a member of this national group that represents some 900,000 First Nation citizens in Canada. Chief Mi’sel Joe of the Miawpukek First Nation brought forward the resolution to accept Qalipu into the Assembly, seconded by Miawpukek Councilor Corey John who voted under the Glenwood proxy.

In an email to the Qalipu Council following this significant moment, Chief Mitchell wrote “I am pleased to inform you that Qalipu First Nation was accepted into the Assembly of First Nations just a few moments ago. This is a significant and important move for us as we now take our rightful place with other First Nations in Canada. I have to acknowledge the incredible support provided by Chief Joe, Shayne MacDonald, Corey John and Regional Chief Morley Googoo. I want to add that we had full support from National Chief Perry Bellegarde and the Atlantic Provincial Chiefs. I am also thankful for the decades of support that we received from the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the national body who advocates for the rights and recognition of Indigenous groups across Canada.”

Chief Mitchell added that reconciliation can take many forms. He said, “For the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland, today’s acceptance and acknowledgement are significant means of reconciliation for all.”

Chief Mi’sel Joe was pleased to see his resolution move forward and has positive plans for the future of the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland. He said, “I am quite pleased that Qalipu is now a voting member of the Assembly of First Nations. This is very appropriate and long overdue. Now, with four First Nation members of the AFN located on the island portion of Newfoundland which includes Miawpukek, Qalipu, Flat Bay and Glenwood, we feel that we have a strong case to convince the AFN that a regional Vice Chief position is warranted for Newfoundland. The next challenge and task is to have the AFN agree to a Newfoundland Regional Vice Chief position and we will be bringing a resolution to that effect to the AFN Special Chief’s Assembly in December of 2018.”

This move for the Qalipu First Nation will allow the Band to become a part of the wider First Nation community in Canada, sharing ideas and learning from the experiences of other First Nations. Qalipu will have a strong national voice and will be part of shaping future education, lands and economic development programs and services. Qalipu will continue to work toward supports and services for its membership, now with the support of other First Nations in Canada. We share the vision of AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde in his efforts to create a better tomorrow for First Nation peoples and communities throughout Canada.

Media:
Alison White
Communications Officer
Qalipu First Nation
tel. 634-5162, mobile 649-7194
awhite@qalipu.ca

A newspaper on a wooden desk - Press Release

Updated Founding Members List for the Qalipu First Nation Adopted Through Order in Council

June 28, 2018, Corner Brook—The Qalipu First Nation wishes to advise that the updated Founding Members List for the Band was adopted by way of an Order in Council which came into effect on June 25, 2018.  The adoption of this List has been the culmination of an enrolment process that has spanned nearly ten years.

Chief Brendan Mitchell said that the adoption of the Founding Members List is bittersweet.  “While I am pleased that nearly 5,000 new members have been accepted into our Band following a lengthy wait prior to inclusion, I am disappointed to see the removal of over 10,000 current members of Qalipu. This is a very difficult situation for our people and our communities.”
The new Band list includes 18,575 members.  Current card holders who were notified that they were not eligible for Founding Membership are reminded that if they have a parent on the Founding Members List, they will not see a break in their registration under the Indian Act.  Those members will see an automatic category amendment that continues their Band Registration and associated benefits.

Chief Mitchell added that, along with representation for the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, and the Government of Canada, he is reviewing the Benoit decision of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador released on June 22, 2018.  Outcomes of the Wells/Wells decision are also being reviewed will also likely have implications for applicants rejected on the self-id criteria.  While it is too early to provide further detail, all information will be communicated as soon as it is available.

Meeting at Qalipu office
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces presented information on the Black Bear Program at the Qalipu office in Corner Brook. (L-R) Major Mark Felix, Deputy Commanding Officer of 2nd Battalion Royal Newfoundland Regiment, Vickie MacDonald Employment Coordinator, Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Thomas Holland, the Regimental Sargent Major (RSM) of the 5th Canadian Division Training Centre, Chief Brendan Mitchell, Lieutenant Colonel (LCol) Errol MacEachern, the Commanding Officer of the 5th Canadian Division Training Centre (CO), Keith Goulding Band Manager and Shelly Garnier Team Lead Client Service Officer

Information and Recruitment Sessions Scheduled in Western and Central Newfoundland for the Black Bear Program, an Incredible Opportunity for Indigenous Youth

April 10, 2018 Corner Brook—The Qalipu First Nation is pleased to partner with the Canadian Armed Forces to host information sessions about the Black Bear Program, an incredible summer employment and personal development opportunity for indigenous youth. Information and recruiting sessions will be hosted in western and central Newfoundland during the week of April 16-20.

The Black Bear Program is a summer employment program that combines indigenous culture and teachings with basic military training. The six-week program takes place from early July to mid-August at the 5th Canadian Division Training Centre located in Oromocto, NB.

Participants in the program will graduate with basic military training, get paid $4,200, have meals and accommodations provided, and their transportation to and from Oromocto covered as well. Following completion of the program, participants may choose to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces on a full or part-time basis.

If you’re ready for a challenging experience that develops hands-on skills, encourages teamwork, improves physical fitness and promotes cultural awareness, get in touch with us to register for an upcoming information session.

Information Session Location Date and Time Address
Stephenville Monday April 16 at 7:00 PM People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre, 90 Main Street Stephenville
St. George’s Tuesday April 17 at 7:00 PM Ktaqmkuk Mi’kmaq Museum, 183 Main Street, St. George’s
Corner Brook Wednesday April 18 at 7:00 PM Qalipu Community Room, 1 Church Street, Corner Brook
Gander Thursday April 19 at 2:00 PM Albatross Hotel, 114 Trans- Canada Highway, Gander
Grand Falls-Windsor Thursday April 19 at 7:00 PM Qalipu Community Room, 28 Hardy Avenue, Grand Falls- Windsor

To register for a session, please contact Monique Carrol, Director of Education and Training, at 647-3096 or email mcarroll@qalipu.ca

For more information about the program, or to apply directly, please visit this link  http://www.army-  armee.forces.gc.ca/en/5-cdn-div-training-centre/aboriginal-programs.page

 

Great Blue Heron, (Juvinile), St. George's
Great-Blue-Heron-Juvinile-St.-Georges credit: Melvin White

Qalipu First Nation to Conduct Climate Change Study

February 13, 2018, Corner Brook—Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce that it will be conducting Climate Change interviews in the communities of Lark Harbour, Cox’s Cove, Burgeo, St. George’s, Cape St. George, Stephenville Crossing, Lewisporte, Bishop’s Falls, and the Gander Bay area from February 12 to March 29, 2018.

The purpose of these interviews is to gather information about climate change, its impact on our communities and people, and solutions for adaptation. Topics will include: extreme weather events such as flooding and the impact on water quality, community infrastructure, and emergency preparedness; coastal erosion and rising sea levels and the impact they may have on spiritual grounds and medicinal plant sites; forest use and the impact climate change may be having on this use, and plant and animal life. This information will be used to help communities adapt to the challenges of climate change.

Interviews are open to members of the Band, and self-identifying Mi’kmaq aged 14+, and will take place Monday through Friday, February 12 – March 29, 2018. Times and locations to be determined on a community basis. Home visits and evening interviews are available.

To schedule your interview, please see below for contact information:

Residents of Lark Harbour, Cox’s Cove, Burgeo, St. George’s, Cape St. George, and Stephenville Crossing please contact Joanne Harris, Research Assistant at jharris@qalipu.ca or call 709-634-4706.

Residents of Lewisporte, Bishop’s Falls, and the Gander Bay area please contact Nancy Jeans, Research Assistant at njeans@qalipu.ca or call 709-393-6771.

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John Davis new General Manager of Qalipu Development Corporation

December 08, 2017, Corner Brook—The Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce the hiring of John Davis for the position of General Manager of the Qalipu Development Corporation (QDC).  In this role, John will be responsible for the portfolio of businesses that make up the QDC, among them the Mi’kmaq Commercial Fisheries, Qalipu Management Services, commercial properties, and Eastern Door Logistics.  John will also manage new business development, partnerships and activities focused on the economic future of the Band.

John Davis is from Corner Brook and he proudly embraces his Mi’kmaq heritage and connection to the indigenous community.   John brings a variety of experience to the table including thirteen years experience supporting industry, business, and entrepreneurs as the Director of Regional Operations with the provincial department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation.

John also spent six years working as a senior Regional Planner with the Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador Corporation, a provincial crown corporation responsible for business development and financing, and served as Director of the Marble Mountain Development Corporation from 1991-2017.    He has worked with several other government agencies at the federal level.

John holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Memorial University and has completed professional practitioner programs in Project Management, Memorial University, and Economic Development, University of Waterloo.

As General Manager for the QDC, John will report to a Board of Directors appointed by the Chief and Council, and align priorities and goals with the five-year strategic plan that was developed in consultation with membership, staff and Council.

John began in his new role at Qalipu First Nation on December 4 and is looking forward to the work ahead.  He said, “The QDC is a very exciting organization.  It is already engaged in numerous business development activities which will benefit the Qalipu membership tremendously.  I am extremely pleased to be a part of this team.”
Media:

Alison White
Communications Officer
Tel. 709.634.5163
awhite@qalipu.ca

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Qalipu Joins National Moose Hide Campaign

October 20, 2017 Corner Brook—A special event to mark Qalipu First Nation (QFN) joining the
National Moose Hide Campaign was held today at the Qalipu Community Room in Corner Brook. The event included
an opening smudge and prayer, and greetings from Qalipu Chief Brendan Mitchell, and Superintendent
Pat Roche of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. The two organizations have partnered on this
initiative which is intended to raise awareness of violence against women and children.

The Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots movement of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Men who are
standing up against violence towards women and children. The Campaign started in British Columbia
in 2011 and has been spreading across Canada. More than 500,000 pins have been distributed.
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.

Chief Brendan Mitchell spoke to the importance of taking every opportunity to speak up, and put a
stop to violence against women and children. He said, “We must all do our part to stand up to
violence and bullying. It is our responsibility to look out for one another in our communities.
I’m proud to bring this campaign to Newfoundland through the Qalipu First Nation and I encourage
all our men to wear the moose hide pin.”

Superintendent Pat Roche said, “The RNC Corner Brook Region has been working in partnership with
Qalipu First Nation to change attitudes toward gender based violence through initiatives such as
the Junior Police Academy and Dancers and Drummers of The New Dawn. The RNC is proud to support
Qalipu’s latest anti-violence initiative, the Moose Hide Campaign. Our officers will be wearing
Moose Hide Pins to show our commitment to combating gender based violence and the aboriginal
community.”

The moose hide pins will be available at all Qalipu office locations. Please stop by to get yours.
For more information about the Moose Hide Campaign, please visit the campaign website:
http://moosehidecampaign.ca/index.php/about-us

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Qalipu and Barry Group Inc. Announce Partnership and Plans for Economic Development

July 10, 2017 Corner Brook NL—Mr. Bill Barry of the Barry Group Inc. and Chief Brendan Mitchell of the Qalipu First Nation today announced plans to move forward as partners on negotiations with the federal government concerning the future management and reallocation of a fully recovered ocean perch resource adjacent to our shores.  The scale of this resource is unprecedented in Canadian history. The announcement included plans for the establishment of a new processing plant in the Bay of Islands and another contemplated to be located in Port aux Basques.

Representatives of the provincial and federal government shared in the announcement and brought greetings from their respective areas.  The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador; The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard; the Honourable Eddie Joyce, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment and MHA for Humber-Bay of Islands; The Honourable Steve Crocker, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources; Gudie Hutchings, Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains, and Mr. Arch Mitchell, Mayor of Humber Arm South.

Chief Mitchell spoke about the historic significance of fishing to Newfoundlanders and the positive economic impact the development will have on the region.  He said, “Fishing has long been an important part of our culture in this province, a mainstay of our traditional way of life.  Under this agreement, the Qalipu First Nation will administer licenses and quota which will allow for our management of this previously unfished species.  We look forward to the promise of economic benefits to our region as well as employment opportunities for indigenous people and communities.”

Mr. Barry spoke about the significance of the initiative which will include the establishment of two new processing plants by the Barry Group.  He also expressed appreciation for the encouragement and support of government for the initiative.   Mr. Barry said, “This is a historic initiative which will help shape the future prosperity of many communities in the Bay of Islands and Western Newfoundland.  It’s a proud day for members of the Qalipu First Nation and Barry Group.  We look forward to the growing significance of our new partnership in helping to ensure growth and prosperity in our province.  We applaud both our Provincial and Federal officials for their encouragement and support.”

Qalipu and their partner Barry Group Inc. will immediately begin to negotiate the path forward with federal officials.

Media Contact:

Alison White
Communications Officer
Qalipu First Nation
(709) 634-5163
awhite@qalipu.ca