Youth Representative

First Youth Representative Elected to Qalipu Council at Mawita’jik Maljewe’jk (Youth Gathering)

September 19, 2019, Corner Brook—The Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce that following the recent youth gathering where an election was held to choose a representative, Jessica Saunders of the Exploits Ward will join the Qalipu Chief and Council filling the newly created youth seat.

Jessica is twenty years old, she’s originally from Bishop Falls, but now resides in Sandy Point. Jessica has always been an active volunteer; she served on the Leo Burke Academy Student Council throughout high school, and she coached volleyball. Jessica also served on a youth advisory committee that helped bring mental health issues to the forefront at her school through the planning of a mental health conference.

At the gathering, Jessica spoke passionately about the environment and the importance of good mental health; topics that were high on the list of priorities for all youth as evidenced in conversations and break-out sessions. Jessica is the mother of 15-week-old Leo, who also attended the gathering, and reports that she is motivated by thinking about future generations. She noted, “We need to have the important conversations about conservation, climate change, and things we can do in Newfoundland to protect the future for our children.”

Jessica plans to engage youth through the newly created Facebook Group “Qalipu Youth Network” as well as through Instagram and Twitter. She will keep in touch with the growing youth network and represent their concerns at meetings of Council. All Indigenous youth, status, and non-status are invited to join the youth network and be a part of the Mawita’jik Maljewe’jk gathering. Jessica’s first Council meeting will be the next regular meeting of Council in November.

The inaugural youth gathering was held September 13-15 at West Haven in Pasadena. The gathering brought together twenty youth, age 16-28, from all across the nine wards. Four candidates were nominated for the role of Youth Representative, Jeff Young (Stephenville Ward), Sam Gardiner (Exploits Ward), Jessica Saunders (Exploits Ward) and Kaylee Sullivan (St. George’s Ward). As part of the election code, the youth also established the position of Alternate Youth Representative to support and enhance the youth seat. Salome Barker (Exploits Ward) and Victoria Stacey (Glenwood Ward) were nominated for this position; Salome Barker was elected.

In addition to the election, the gathering also focused on connecting youth with elders through cultural teachings; hearing the issues and concerns of youth delegates and; guiding youth to form resolutions to impact change. The event included traditional ceremonies, teachings, roundtables focused on learning and leadership, drumming, singing and opportunities to network and enjoy time outside around the campfire. On day two of the conference youth were joined by Mark Murdoch, a Youth Representative on the Premiers Youth Council, who spoke about the benefits of being involved and engaged in the community. Michael R. Denny of Eskasoni was also a special guest; he shared stories and language teachings, got youth involved in dancing the gojua dance, and led a game of Waltes.


Message from the Chief September 2019


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.

Chief Brendan Mitchell

AGA news

Annual General Assembly scheduled in western and central Newfoundland, Live Stream for those who cannot attend in person

The Qalipu Annual General Assembly (AGA) is held every year to share audited financial statements and information about Band business during the previous fiscal year.  The Assembly is attended by members of Council, the Band Manager, lead staff and is open to all Band members.

In the past, the AGA has been held in different locations across central and western Newfoundland to ensure the broadest possible inclusion for all communities within our traditional territory.

This year, thanks to a Council resolution to amend our General By-Laws that was passed at a meeting in January, two AGA’s will be held annually, one in western and one in central.

This change will come into effect this year with the first AGA being held in Corner Brook on September 15 at the Greenwood Inn and Suites from 1:30- 3:30 PM, and the second AGA will take place in Grand Falls-Windsor at the Mount Peyton Hotel on September 29 from 1:00-3:00 PM.

For those who cannot attend in person, a live stream option has been made available.  As the Assembly is intended for members only, access to the live stream will be through our members only portal, ginu.  All members, whether they have ever logged in before, have a profile in ginu.  Please access the portal here:

If you require assistance logging in, please contact Charmaine at (709) 679-2142, or 1-855-263-6440 (toll free available in Newfoundland only)

My Post (6)

Bernie Hanlon Memorial Scholarship APPLY NOW!

The Education and Training Department is now accepting applications for the Bernie Hanlon Memorial Scholarship.

Bernadette “Bernie” Hanlon dedicated her life to supporting and encouraging the aboriginal people of Newfoundland both culturally and in working with them to meet their educational dreams. Bernie always went above and beyond for her many students and tried to help in any way possible through her many years with the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and later with the Qalipu First Nation. Bernie worked tirelessly to help those around her develop personally as well by supporting and encouraging cultural and spiritual growth. The Bernie Hanlon Memorial Scholarship was created to help a client of The Education and Training Department attending college or completing an undergraduate degree to continue to pursue those dreams.

The scholarship is valued at $1,000.00 and will be awarded to the applicant that best embodies Bernie’s passion for our culture and a commitment to academics as well as to their community.

To qualify, applicants must meet the following criteria:

· Currently be in receipt of support under the PSSSP

· Currently enrolled a college diploma or undergraduate degree program and planning to return to school in the fall.

· Achieve a grade average of B or higher in their program of studies

And answer the following essay question in 500 words or less:

“Using the information provided above, demonstrate how you embody the spirit of Bernie Hanlon.”

Please submit applications to Yvonne MacDonald via email ( by August 30th. Note: all essays must be submitted in PDF format.

Wrap up event post

St. Anne’s Day Mass and Community Feast in St. George’s Draws Crowd from Around the Region

On July 26, 2019, a mass was held at the St. Joseph’s Parish in St. George’s to honour St. Anne, the patron Saint of the Mi’kmaq people.  There was a large turnout for the event, which included a community feast after the mass, with people in attendance from all around Bay St. George and Bay of Islands region.

The Mi’kmaq people are known for honouring their elders. The love, wisdom and teachings of our grandparents are important to us. Some say this is the reason why St. Anne, the mother of Mary and grandmother of Jesus, is so revered and celebrated in our culture.  It was a very special day for all to gather in celebration of St. Anne, and the role of our community elders and leaders in passing down knowledge, tradition and culture to the next generation.

Qalipu First Nation wishes to thank and acknowledge the following donations, volunteers and service providers:


Donations and Volunteers:

St. Joseph’s Parish Church and Father Maurice O’Quinn—partnered to deliver the St. Anne’s Day Mass

St. George’s Indian Band –provided funding for St. Anne’s medallion gift giveaway and loaned St. Anne statue.

Indian Cove Women’s Circle—provided funding to cover cost of church service

St. Joseph’s Parish Gentleman’s Group—Parish Hall rental given in kind

Community women who volunteered by making sandwiches for the feast

St. Joseph’s Parish Choir with Director Andy Tobin

Drummers from around the region who provided music for the procession

Western Region Vice Chief Keith Cormier who sang Amazing Grace in Mi’kmaq

Spruce Root Basket: Melvin White

White Roses: collected from community people from Stephenville, Stephenville Crossing and St. George’s

Smudge: Gail Hickey

St. Anne Bearer: Judy Falle

Greeters: Noelle Blanchard and Alex Brake-Hetherington

Readers: Alice Miles and Alison White

Mi’kmaq Reflection: St. George’s Indian Band Chief Marlene Farrell

Altar Servers: Elton White, Linda Pieroway, Bertie Garnier

Eucharistic Ministers: Alice Miles, Dina Sheppard and Florence Young

St. Joseph’s Parish Ladies Guild

Tilla Brake, Country Kitchen and Crafts

EQ Funding Announcement

Strengthening Indigenous Tourism and the Economy

July 29, 2019 – Corner Brook, NL – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Tourism is a key contributor to the Atlantic Canadian economy. It generates new economic activities, creates good paying jobs for the middle class and diversifies communities. The industry also offers tremendous opportunity for further growth in areas like Indigenous tourism.

Recognizing the opportunities that exist in Indigenous tourism in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Qalipu First Nation is undertaking various activities as part of the implementation of its Experience Qalipu Tourism Strategy. The five-year strategy will help to further develop and promote Indigenous tourism in the province, enhance community capacity and build stronger Indigenous communities.

Phase I of the strategy included creating a database of member tourism businesses, enhancing on-line entrepreneurial skills training, developing a marketing plan, hosting a tourism forum, designing signage and displays and conducting facilitation training. Phase II involves further analysis and design of tourism assets, hosting an additional tourism forum, advanced facilitation training, infrastructure improvements and tourism product development.

The Government of Canada is providing a non-repayable contribution of $418,257 and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is contributing $157,892 towards phases I and II of the tourism strategy.

Gudie Hutchings, Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), along with Scott Reid, MHA for St. George’s-Humber, on behalf of the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of  Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation (TCII), made the announcement today.

These investments build on commitments made by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces to drive economic growth in the region through the  Atlantic Growth Strategy by helping the region’s tourism industry attract more visitors and create new jobs. This bold approach is in line with  Canada’s Tourism Vision, which seeks to make Canada a top-ten global tourism destination by 2025.



“Indigenous tourism is a key part of Canada’s growing tourism industry. It is outpacing the growth of this sector overall, as more and more travellers are coming here to experience Indigenous cultures and heritage. Our government is committed to making sure this growth continues by helping Indigenous communities across the country showcase their authentic products, traditions and histories, while generating new economic opportunities and creating good middle-class jobs.”

–     The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie


“Our investment in this initiative will better position the Qalipu First Nation to advance Indigenous tourism in our province, encourage entrepreneurship and foster economic development in Indigenous communities. We are proud of our partnership with the Qalipu First Nation and I commend their commitment to seizing new opportunities to promote Indigenous culture and history and build a strong and sustainable tourism industry that will draw more visitors seeking authentic cultural experiences.”

–     Gudie Hutchings, Member of Parliament for Long Range Mountains on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of        Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA


“This investment will allow the Qalipu First Nation to continue to enhance economic development opportunities in key areas such as tourism. One of the top recommendations from the Destination Development Plan for tourism operators is to focus more on building program-and people-based experiences and understanding visitor profiles that will drive visitation. Many of the elements of the Experience Qalipu Tourism Strategy are aligned with this recommendation. This project will help to ensure the stories, traditions and beliefs of the Mi’kmaq are captured as a vital part of this region’s growth and development.”

–     The Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation


“Qalipu First Nation is appreciative of this funding and the ability to support our Indigenous tourism providers. We look forward to the next phase of our five-year Experience Qalipu Tourism Development Strategy and any opportunity to support Indigenous tourism on the provincial level, including our collaboration with the Newfoundland and Labrador Indigenous Tourism Working Group.”

–     Brendan Mitchell, Chief, Qalipu First Nation


Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada is investing $398,338 in this project through ACOA’s  Business Development Program and $19,919 from the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
  • The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is contributing $157,892 towards this project.
  • The Experience Qalipu Tourism Strategy focuses on developing market-ready cultural experiences and other tourism products throughout Mi’kmaq communities, connecting the visitor to the vibrant culture of the Mi’kmaq people and forming strong partnerships within the industry to lead to a strengthened economy and culture.
  • Officially formed in 2011, the Qalipu First Nation is the largest Indian Act Band in Atlantic Canada and represents over 20,000 members who live in nine Wards throughout Central and Western Newfoundland.