Council Meeting Report – June 10, 2017

man having presentation at seminar

Finance: Donation and Sponsorship Policy

It was identified that, at present, other than the Cultural Support Program through the Qalipu Cultural Foundation (QCF), Council does not have a formal policy on how to respond to requests for sponsorships and donations from both individuals and groups but rather uses an ad hoc approach. All agreed that the development of policy on how the Band gives out donations, who they are given to and under what conditions must be established. The Band Manager will work with staff and Council to prepare a draft policy on sponsorships and donations.

One councilor commented that donations or sponsorships must be compatible with the Band’s core values. A high volume of requests come to Council and not all can be supported.

The Chair of the Finance Committee commented that an allocation for donations had not been budgeted for in this fiscal year and although the Council has approved multiple donations this year, it is difficult to manage a balanced budget if something has not been planned. It was his recommendation that the Council implement, not only a policy, but also a set budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Chair also commented on accountability to the membership. He said making donations can’t be a free for all. Policy, budgeting, criteria, and reporting need to be established.

A discussion took place about the QCF being in place with funds and rules governing the support of cultural initiatives but, the question remains about how to fund other initiatives such as Aboriginal youth who are involved in sport, or other activities that are not of a cultural nature.

While discussing QCF, Council expressed lack of understanding on how the QCF decides approval of its funding requests, and how much should be given. It was agreed that a representative of QCF make a presentation to Council at an upcoming meeting so that everyone is aware of the policies and procedures that have been put in place by this charitable organization.

A discussion took place regarding two letters that were received requesting support for athletes from NL who will attend the North American Indigenous Games.

All agreed that funding youth to participate in the games would be a very valuable investment.

One member of Council commented that supporting Mi’kmaq athletes on Team Mi’kmaq for the provincial games last year had been more straight forward following a detailed presentation from a representative of the Aboriginal Sports Circle. It was suggested that it would have been helpful to have a presentation or a visit from the Aboriginal Sports Circle to give an understanding of what was needed so that they could better respond to the request.

Without sufficient information about the actual financial needs of the initiative and the athletes themselves, and in the absence of a donations policy or budget, Council decided to take $1000 from savings for the donation. In a subsequent special meeting, Council decided to enhance the donation to $15,000.

Question and Answers with Membership

A member in attendance questioned whether there was a website dedicated to members as far as getting information out. Council confirmed there is a regularly updated website and that the Band actively communicates on social media (Facebook and Twitter). The member then wanted to know whether there was a members only tool for communication. The ginu membership portal is a place where members can login to add an email address and receive emails that are periodically sent out to the membership. It is possible that this portal could be updated to add a communications tab that would be visible to members only.

The same individual asked ‘what is the protocol for requesting information and receiving a response from the Band? It was clarified that If a member is looking for information on books and records such as financials, minutes, etc. a request is to be made to the Band Council. There is no set amount of time stated for this type of request other than to say that a reasonable notice is required. Response times may vary depending on the item requested. Some special requests may require action from council. If this is the case, an explanation is given along with an estimate of time required to make a decision.

Another member in attendance commented that not enough notice had been given prior to the meeting. He said that at least two weeks notice should be given. Council agreed that in this instance, the meeting notice had not been put up as early as usual. It will endeavor to give two weeks notice in the future. The same member also requested that more reminders be put out for upcoming events like the regular meetings of Council and other items.

Another member in attendance inquired as to whether the Band had any intention of helping “the people who have been left behind”.

Chief Mitchell commented that he has been doing everything he can to work with government for people who were negatively impacted by the enrolment outcomes.

A member in attendance talked about the Daniels Symposium. The individual said he had attended the forum in Corner Brook to participate live at the Daniels Symposium. He said that only seven people had turned out for this important forum in Corner Brook. He said, “We need more indigenous people to come together.”

Another member in attendance suggested that the Gros Morne Indigenous Cultural Festival had been planned with good intentions but that much of the misunderstanding that took place could have been avoided if there was a committee of community consultants. Council took this as a good reminder to go forward with plans to establish an Elders Advisory Council. The member also suggested that the Blanket Exercise might be helpful at this time. Another member suggested that a big talking circle is needed.

A Visit from CAP National Chief Bertrand

The Congress of Aboriginal People (CAP) National Chief Robert Bertrand was in Newfoundland to meet with the Qalipu Council and members in attendance. He noted that he was trying to meet with as many members of CAP as possible throughout Canada.

Chief Bertrand noted that his organization meets with federal and provincial ministers to bring forward the interests and concerns of non-status, off-reserve aboriginal people.

Adding to the Daniels Symposium comment , Chief Bertrand said that there is a lot of work to be done but that the Daniels decision means that, legally, all indigenous people are now Indians under 91.24 of the Indian Act. He said that what this means has many interpretations. Chief Bertrand mentioned that he has a draft report from the Symposium which needs to be approved by the board before publishing on the CAP website. He said the report will be sent to various levels of government.

A member of Council asked what CAP was doing to support Qalipu on the enrolment file.

Chief Bertrand said, “We sympathize, there is a situation here and it was caused by the federal government but they left you to pick up the pieces. The last meeting I had with Minister Carolyn Bennett I did bring it up. She’s well aware of it. We are working on it.”

The member of Council requested that Chief Bertrand write a letter of support for Qalipu, specifically in support of those current members who have been notified they will lose their status. Chief Bertrand agreed to do this.

Chief Bertrand added that Chief Mitchell should feel welcome to call on him for support on any initiative.

A member in attendance inquired as to whether Chief Bertrand had been in contact with MMFNAN and whether this group would become the CAP affiliate for Newfoundland. Chief Bertrand responded that he would not come into Newfoundland and negotiate with a body to replace Qalipu. He said it would be Qalipu’s decision to walk away from CAP or not. CAP will respect Qalipu’s decision to stay with CAP or move on to the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).

Business Structure and Election Committee Update

The Band Manager provided a presentation on the Cox and Palmer review of Qalipu’s economic development branch.

Council established a special committee to review the recommendations of Cox and Palmer and bring forward recommendations for organizational structure for the next meeting of Council.

Election Committee Update: A 2018 Election timeline was presented which works within the current election bylaws. Since bylaws cannot be changed without a referendum, the committee plans to make changes that allow for a longer space between nominations and voting, and a longer period for mail-in-ballots. A motion was passed to accept the proposed timeline pending review by legal. Once the proposed timeline is reviewed by legal it will be presented to membership.

A survey will be issued in September regarding suggestions from membership on how to update the election bylaws with a referendum vote to take place at the same time as the 2018 Election. Members at large will also be engaged to sit on the Election Reform Committee in the fall.

Next Meeting of Council: August 26 in Corner Brook
Contact Mabel MacDonald to register at or call 634-5111