“When I hear drums beating, I can feel it in my heart,” said Verlie Sharpe of Grand Falls-Windsor. Verlie is a proud Mi’kmaw woman and for her it means the world to claim Mi’kmaq heritage as her own. “I am very proud to be called Mi’kmaw”, she said. Verlie is the Vice President of the Exploits Aboriginal Community group, a member of the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network, and a member of Eastern Door.
Through her involvement with the Exploits Valley Aboriginal Community Group Verlie shares her knowledge of drumming and culture with youth, seniors, and everyone in between. Along with the group, Verlie was a part of the opening ceremony for Special Olympics in 2019. “I feel honoured and proud to do so along without Aboriginal Group and the children from Bernie’s Puktew,” said Verlie. Aside from sharing aspects of culture, she has also facilitated seniors workshops in the area for seniors, violence prevention, and lateral violence to make her community a better place for everyone.
Verlie is passionate about her culture and she stays connected in the way she lives her everyday life, “I am an outdoors person,” she said, “I fish, I harvest moose in the fall and give back thanks to the Creator by offering tobacco to the surrounding area. I pick berries whenever they are available and bottle them as well as moose, rabbit, seal, and caribou. Verlie is also talented at many aboriginal crafts, she has made rattles, baskets, sealskin mittens, moccasins and she does beadwork as well.
When asked about her vision for the future of Qalipu, Verlie said “I would love to see a Powwow in central and would love to see more programs in central for aboriginal children.”