Members and applicants who have questions regarding their membership application and the enrolment process, please Click Here for our Enrolment FAQ’s or call 1-800-561-2266

Update on the Appeal Process

The appeal process is currently underway and appeals are being reviewed by an independent body of Appeal Masters.

Individuals who appealed their decision will receive appeal decision letters as decisions are made, beginning in the fall of 2017 through winter 2018.  The updated Founding Members list will be finalized by spring 2018.

More information will be added to our website in the near future, including an updated Appeals Q & A.

Thank You

Below is a time line chronicling some of the milestones on the road to recognition for the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland.

1972

No Mi’kmaq living on the island of Newfoundland are recognized as being eligible for registration under the federal Indian Act.

Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) forms (initially as the Native Association of Newfoundland and Labrador).

Its chief membership by late 1972: six affiliated Mi’kmaq bands on the island of Newfoundland:

  • Benoits Cover First Nations (now named Elmastogoeg)
  • Corner Brook Indian Band
  • Flat Bay Indian Band
  • Gander Bay Indian Band
  • Glenwood Mi’kmaq First Nation
  • Port au Port Indian Band

FNI’s primary goal: to obtain Government of Canada recognition of Mi’kmaq eligibility for registration under the Indian Act.

FNI’s mandate: To promote the social, cultural, economic, and educational well-being of the Newfoundland Mi’kmaq.

1972–1982: Early successes

Province agrees to contribute to basic genealogical research of Mi’kmaq people on the Island.

Negotiations for recognition begin with the federal government.

Mi’kmaq of Conne River become eligible for registration under the Indian Act. Mi’kmaq outside Conne River are not eligible because the federal government recognizes only Mi’kmaq that are “resident in designated native communities.”

1983–1992: Decade of frustration

Conne River withdraws from the FNI and is recognized as a Band under the Indian Act. FNI continues to work towards eligibility of remaining members.

In support of their eligibility claims, FNI conducts genealogical studies.

Canada takes no action. FNI continues negotiations with Canada in attempts to redress the situation.

David Crombie, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND), requests participation of Newfoundland government in tripartite negotiations on financial arrangements for FNI. Newfoundland governmentrejects Newfoundland participation in tripartite talks.

FNI and chiefs of six affiliated bands begin a Federal Court Action seeking eligibility for registration under the Indian Act (1989).

FNI membership expands – three new bands become affiliated:

  • Exploits Indian Band (now Sple’tk First Nation)
  • St. George’s Indian Band
  • Stephenville/Stephenville Crossing Band (now Indian Head First Nations).

FNI applies to add new bands to list of Plaintiffs in court action.

1992–2002: Decade of on-and-off negotiations

The Department of Indian Affairs invites the FNI to discuss an agreement while placing its court case in abeyance (1999). FNI agrees.

No progress towards goal. Reactivation of the FNI court case (2001).

FNI presents Canada with the “2002 Mi’kmaq Regime” proposal.

FNI amends by-laws: each of the affiliated bands must accept minimum criteria for the admission of persons into its membership (2002).

2002: Exploratory discussions

Canada approaches FNI to engage in discussions to settle the court action. FNI agrees. Honorable Marc Lalonde appointed as the special representative to lead the discussions.

FNI and Canada hold consultation sessions with Mi’kmaq communities and FNI members. Consensus: FNI members want registered Status under the Indian Act.

FNI commitment to members: All members will be able to vote on any agreement reached with Canada.

During the exploratory discussions, Canada proposes that Newfoundland Mi’kmaq be registered under the Indian Act as a landless-band if they meet established membership eligibility criteria.

FNI consults its members: proceed with negotiations that include landless band component? Consensus – yes.

2003: Preliminary negotiations

The FNI agrees to place the court case into abeyance prior to the negotiation process.

The Honorable Marc Lalonde presents the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, the Honorable Andy Scott, with a report recommending proceeding to Cabinet seeking an Agreement-in-Principle to negotiate a landless band under the Indian Act for the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland.

2004–2006: Official negotiations

FNI and Canada agree to undertake official negotiations for terms of Agreement-in-Principle.

FNI establishes negotiation team. Abeyance of court case requires negotiations to be kept confidential. Negotiating team can consult with FNI its Steering Committee for the Agreement-in-Principal.

2006–2008: The Agreement-in-Principle

FNI represents 10,500 Newfoundland Mi’kmaq, and more than 10,000 members have band affiliation. Roughly 500 are General Members.
Tentative Agreement-in-Principle reached (2006):

  • identifies process for recognition
  • includes creation of landless band
  • stipulates entire FNI membership can vote on ratification

Agreement-in-Principle is initialed (November 30, 2007) – an historic day for the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland.

In ratification vote, 90% of the FNI membership votes yes. FNI ratifies Agreement-in-Principle (March 30, 2008).

Canada ratifies Agreement-in-Principle (June, 2008).

2009 – First Stage of the Enrolment Process

November 30, 2009 marked the conclusion of the first stage of the enrolment process held under the Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band. As of November 30, 2009, close to 25,000 applications had been received and approximately 11,000 have been approved by the Enrolment Committee.

2011 – Federal Court Decision Clears the Way for Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band Formation

On June 14th, 2011 the Federal Court of Canada rendered its decision on the motion seeking an injunction  to delay the formation of the Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Nation Band.  Paragraph 94 of the decision said “The motion is dismissed with costs to the other Plaintiffs and the Defendant.”

2011- Qalipu is Recognized as a First Nation Band

The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation was created as a “band” under the Indian Act by an Order in Council on September 22, 2011, and 23,877 members were found eligible and registered as founding members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band.

Following Band creation, 70, 000 additional applications were received.

2013-Supplemental Agreement

On July 4, 2013, the Government of Canada and FNI announced a Supplemental Agreement that addressed the surge in applications, clarified the process for enrolment, and resolved issues that emerged in the implementation of the 2008 Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band.

All applications, except for those that had already been assessed and rejected would be reviewed against the Supplemental Agreement.

The review of all applications was expected to be completed by August, 2015 followed by an appeal process which would end on March 31, 2016.

2014-Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Act

In June, 2014 Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Act received Royal Assent.

2015-Review Process Extended, Review Committee Enhanced

On April 2, 2015, the Government of Canada and FNI announced that the enrolment process was extended to June 30, 2016 and the appeal process deadline was extended to January 31, 2017. As well, the Enrolment Committee was expanded from four members to eight.

2015-Foster and House Court Case

In September 2015, the Federal Court set aside two Enrolment Committee decisions as a result of judicial reviews that were launched by two applicants who had been notified by the Enrolment Committee that their applications were determined to be invalid (on the basis of a missing signature and long-form birth certificate). The court ordered the Enrolment Committee to continue the assessment of both applicants for membership.

2016-FNI and Canada Agree to Apply Court’s Ruling to all Invalid Applicants who were Rejected (On the basis of a missing signature and/or long-form birth certificate.)

In April 2016, applicants were informed that those notified in November 2013 that their applications were determined to be invalid will have the opportunity to correct their applications for review by the Enrolment Committee.

2016-Review Process Extended, Review Committee Enhanced

As a result of Canada and the FNI’s agreement to review all Invalid Applications who were found invalid due to a missing signature and/or long form birth certificate, some 6,500 applicants were given 90 days to submit the information to have their applications reviewed anew.  This led to a second extension to the Enrolment Committees review of all applications.

The Enrolment Committee’s deadline to review the applications was extended to no later than January 31, 2017 and the appeal process deadline was extended to September 30, 2017.

Backgrounder

Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Enrolment Process

When Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949, Mi’kmaq communities were not recognized as First Nations under the Indian Act and their legal status, as well as the status of their members, was uncertain.

Discussions between the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) led, in 2008, to the Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band, and, in September 2011, an Order in Council established the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation as a “band” under the Indian Act.

The Agreement provides for an enrolment process to assess applications for Founding Membership in the new band. Applications for Founding Membership in the First Nation are assessed by an Enrolment Committee, composed of an equal number of representatives from Canada and FNI, and a jointly appointed independent chair. The Enrolment Committee’s role is to assess each application for membership in a fair and consistent manner.

Approximately 27,000 applications were received in the first stage of the enrolment process, which concluded on November 30, 2009. Of these, 23,877 applicants were found eligible and registered as Founding Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. From November 30, 2009 to September 22, 2011 (when the band was created) approximately 4,000 additional applications were received. The number of applications rose sharply following band creation. In the14 months before the application deadline of November 30, 2012, more than 70,000 applications were received, bringing the total number of applications to over 104,000.

On July 4, 2013, the Government of Canada and the FNI announced a Supplemental Agreement that addressed the surge in applications, clarified the process for enrolment, and resolved issues that emerged in the implementation of the 2008 Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.

Under the Agreement, it was determined that all applications, except for the approximately 3,000 already assessed and rejected, would be reviewed by August 31, 2015, followed by an appeal process which would end on March 31, 2016. The review would include the applications of all the individuals registered as Founding Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, to ensure that all applicants meet the criteria for eligibility set out in the 2008 Agreement and the 2013 Supplemental Agreement.

On April 2, 2015, Canada and FNI announced that the enrolment process deadline was extended to June 30, 2016, and the appeal process deadline was extended to January 31, 2017. As well, the Enrolment Committee was expanded from four members to twelve.

Canada and FNI agreed that the enrolment decisions of approximately 101,000 applications would be communicated at the same time. The Enrolment Committee conducted an initial review of the applications based on the validity criteria outlined in the 2008 Agreement and, in November 2013, sent letters to advise applicants of the status of their applications. Approximately 94,000 applicants were notified that their applications were deemed valid and roughly 6,500 applicants were notified that their applications were deemed invalid.

Two applicants for enrolment in Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, Mr. Sterling Clyde Foster and Mr. Alex Howse, initiated proceedings against Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians  in the Federal Court of Canada over the Enrolment Committee’s determination that their applications were invalid. One application was deemed invalid because of a missing signature; the other because it did not include a long-form birth certificate. The Federal Court agreed with the applicants, and found that they were not given notice of the missing information or an opportunity to correct their applications. For that reason, the court set aside the Enrolment Committee’s decisions and ordered that both applications be evaluated for Founding Membership.

Canada and FNI decided to apply the same reasoning to all applications that were deemed invalid consistent with the court decisions. As a result, approximately 6,500 individuals were given an opportunity to correct their applications, and submit additional material in support of their applications, for review by the Enrolment Committee.

The Enrolment Committee has completed a diligent and consistent review of all 101,000 applications for Founding Membership in the band, as assessed against the 2008 Agreement and the 2013 Supplemental Agreement. The work of the Enrolment Committee has been supported by INAC officials responsible for pre-analyzing the files in order to expedite the assessment and decision making process. The enrolment process included the review of the applications of individuals who were granted Founding Membership and Indian Status in 2011.

As a result, the Enrolment Committee will be sending letters of decision, on January 31, 2107, to each applicant with the  results of its review. In some cases, these letters will confirm eligibility as Founding Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation and Indian Status, while in other cases applicants will be informed that they  do not qualify as a Founding Member (this will be completed in accordance with Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations Act). Some individuals who are deemed to no longer meet the Founding Membership requirements may be eligible for registration under the Indian Act as being a child of a remaining Founding Members. The Department is currently determining volume and options for a seamless transition for those eligible individuals.

To ensure fairness, the Government of Canada and the FNI jointly decided to allow for an appeal period following the application review process. Applicants who are eligible to appeal the Enrolment Committee’s rejection f their applications will have 45 days to initiate an appeal of the decision of their application. All appeals will be concluded on the fall of 2017. The tabling of the Founding Members List to the First Nation will be issued no later than February 28, 2018 and changes to the Indian Registry will be made shortly afterwards. Changes to access to program benefits and services will only occur at this time. This is expected to commence in spring 2018.

Throughout the process, the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians have been and continue to be committed to the integrity of the process for enrolment of Founding Members in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, in accordance with the 2008 Agreement and the 2013 Supplemental Agreement. As such, the creation of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band is an important step forward for the Mi’kmaq people of Newfoundland. As we continue to move ahead, we look forward to maintaining a meaningful Nation-to-Nation relationship and ongoing dialogue.

Public Notices

*Update March 27, 2017 – Deadline for applicants/members to file an appeal has been extended to April 13, 2017

“Although the ‘Instructions for Submitting and Appeal’ indicates that your Appeal Notice must be witnessed, all appeal notices completed by applicants eligible to appeal (witnessed or not witnessed) and submitted on or before April 13, 2017, will be considered by the Appeal Master.”

Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) Appealing on Behalf of Some Applicants, Notifications Arriving in the Mail *April 7, 2017
Important Notice: Eligibility to Appeal *March 15, 2017
Public Notice Changes to Appeal Deadline
 *Feb 20, 2017
Information on Criteria of Group Acceptance through Residency *Feb 14, 2017
Public Notice Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Enrolment Process Applicants Found Ineligible Based on Self-ID *Feb 10, 2017

Membership Search Service – Were You Already a Member of an Existing Band?

If you were a documented band member in one of Newfoundland’s Mi’kmaq bands prior to the signing of the Agreement in Principle (AIP) on June 23, 2008, then your name should be on the master list of band members that was compiled at that time.  The Mi’kmaq bands of Newfoundland that were recognized for inclusion at the time of the AIP included the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI), Ktaqamkuk Mi’kmaq Alliance, Benoit First Nation and Sip’kop Mi’kmaq Band.

Click here for more information

End of Enrollment Support Team

At Qalipu First Nation, we are doing everything we can to offer support for our members and applicants. We have put in place an End of Enrolment Support Team including Enrolment Assistants that will be available to take your call or meet with you in one of our four office locations –  St. George’s, Corner Brook, Glenwood and Grand Falls-Windsor.

To contact our End of Enrolment Support Team:

St. Georges:  709 647 3514
Glenwood:  855 263 6440 (toll free) or 709 679 2338
Grand Falls-Windsor:  709 489 2898
Corner Brook:  844 368 7160 (toll free) or 709 634 4010
*Toll Free (in Newfoundland only)

Are you looking for more information about Enrolment? Find it here:

End of Enrolment Q & A: Appeals Process
End of Enrolment Q & A: General Information

Are you interested in the history leading up to the creation of our First Nation, including where we are today? Click the link below for a summary:

Backgrounder
Road to Recognition of the Newfoundland Mi’kmaq-History

Would you like to review all the details of the Agreement and related documents? Find these documents here:

How about the Supplemental Agreement?

What has Chief Mitchell been saying about the end of Enrolment? Click on the links below to hear from our Chief in news items posted by the Qalipu First Nation.

Message from the Chief – March 31 2017
Statement Regarding Ottawa Meeting
Qalipu First Nation Disappointed by Enrolment Outcome
Christmas Greetings from the Chief
Chief to Demonstrators: I have an obligation to act in the best interest of our First Nation
Video: Chief Mitchell talks Enrolment at Corner Brook Café

Update on the Review of Applications Previously Determined to be Invalid in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Enrolment Process

April 13, 2016 – Ottawa, ON – Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and Brendan Mitchell, Chief of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, provided an update on the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Enrolment Process.

In March, Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) announced they will give individuals the opportunity to correct and provide additional documentation in support of their application for review by the Enrolment Committee.

This decision is a result of collaborative efforts between Canada and the FNI to give a broad application to the Foster and Howse court decisions and provide applicants a fair opportunity to demonstrate they should be founding members of the First Nation.

Click here to read the full release

Update on the Review of all Invalid Applicants in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Enrolment Process

March 18, 2016 Ottawa, ON Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and Brendan Mitchell, Chief of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, today provided an update on the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation enrolment process.

Get the full story here

The Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians Announce Appointment of Geoffrey Brown as Chief Appeal Master to the Qalipu Enrolment Process (Published June 18, 2015)

OTTAWA, July 31, 2015 /CNW/ – The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Brendan Sheppard, President of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI), today welcomed the joint appointment of Mr. Geoffrey Brown as Chief Appeal Master to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Enrolment process.

Click here to read more

Government of Canada and Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) bolster Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Enrolment Process  (Published April 20, 2015)

April 2, 2015              Ottawa, ON                Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Brendan Sheppard, Chief of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, today announced the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) have doubled the number of members to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Enrolment committee.

The new Enrolment Committee members will apply the same approach to reviewing the files in accordance the 2008 Agreement and the 2013 Supplemental Agreement. The additional four members continue to offer equal representation from the Mi’kmaq and the Government of Canada.

Read the full story here

Message from the Chief (Published January 16, 2014)

Happy New Year to all, it’s my hope that everybody will have a year filled with good health and that good health will be with each of you for many years to come.

There have been many calls and emails from concerned applicants regarding the January 31, 2014 deadline date to provide additional supporting documentation to their file for enrolment into the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band.  The date for submitting additional documentation has now been extended until February 10, 2014, I realize this is not a huge extension and I sympathize with those who feel more time is required… Read

Frequently Asked Questions on Enrolment Process – Sworn Declarations and Affidavits (Published January 2, 2014)

Click here to read FAQs on Sworn Declarations and Affidavits.

Chief’s Message (Published December 19, 2013)

For individuals who are providing additional documents to Winnipeg for the Enrolment process of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band, outlined below is a check list to ensure you do not miss submitting any critical information… Read

Message from Chief Sheppard (Published December 9, 2013)

First of all, I extend a sincere thank you to so many people who have called/ emailed to say thank you for my message that contained a number of scenarios.  I am very pleased that the scenarios have helped some people to clarify the letter they have received from Ronald Penney(Enrolment Committee Chair).  Unfortunately, there are many who are not certain of what they should provide and I realize that the scenarios do not take away the stress of how you will meet the requirements.  It has come to my attention that there are people who were members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (member of one of the FNI local affiliate bands) prior to 2008 who thought they were still on the 2008 membership list and have discovered for some reason they are not on the list when they call for verification at the 1-800-567-9604.  This piece of information is extremely important for individuals that need to meet the requirement of Self Identification and or substantial connection.  For that reason Qalipu has hired two individuals until January 31, 2014 to search old FNI membership lists.  Individuals who were a member of one of the FNI local bands or FNI General membership list prior to 2008 can call 709-634-0996, then press #(pound), Extension Numbers, 209 or 214 or email fni-info@qalipu.ca to have a search conducted.  If your name appears on either of the lists a letter can be provided.  However; letters will only be given out if we have a band list that can be referenced containing your name.  I cannot promise that we have all of the lists from all of the FNI local bands since the organization began.  Letters issued after June 23, 2008 from a local band council will not be accepted.  It is important to note that not everyone will require a letter verifying their membership.  Please review the scenarios of my previous message to determine if you need to meet self-identification and or substantial connection prior to requesting a search.

Download the FNI Band list inquiry form Here

Chief’s Message (Published November 18, 2013)

It is now evident that the letters, which members and applicants were advised through the Qalipu website in July 2013 would be coming, are now being received.  As anticipated, these letters are causing concern among many individuals.  We have posted as much helpful information that we could anticipate would respond to various questions under the Enrolment tab of Qalipu’s website site under the Latest News section.

I sympathize with the difficulties and frustrations that you are experiencing; this process is complicated, as legal processes tend to be.  In an effort to provide a level of comfort to members and applicants, I will provide a few scenarios that I hope will help explain the process and your next steps.  It is important to note that these scenarios are of a general nature; differing circumstances may significantly change the approach required. In these scenarios, ‘Mi’kmaq community’ refers to one of the geographic locations of the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland listed in Annex ‘B’ to the 2008 Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band.  Read

PUBLIC NOTICE
ATTENTION APPLICANTS AND MEMBERS OF THE QALIPU MI’KMAQ FIRST NATION (November 9, 2013)

This notice is an update to the public notice of July 31, 2013.

More information is now available on www.aandc.gc.ca/qalipu and www.qalipu.ca concerning the process for enrolment in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation and the implementation of the 2008 Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band and the 2013 Supplemental Agreement.

All applicants, except those whose applications were previously rejected, have been sent one of two letters regarding their applications.  Read

UPDATED INFORMATION FOR APPLICANTS FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE QALIPU MI’KMAQ FIRST NATION
REQUIREMENTS FOR ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTATION (November 9, 2013)

This document updates the July 31, 2013 bulletin entitled, Important Information for Applicants, and includes general guidelines for applicants who wish to provide documents related to self-identification and/or group acceptance to support their application for enrolment in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. Please read it carefully prior to providing additional documentation in support of your application.  Read

Click here for Sworn Declaration Form

Important Information for Applicants (July 31, 2013)

Applicants are advised that this document is not a substitute for the June 2013 Supplemental Agreement, the June 2013 Directive to the Enrolment Committee, or the 2008 Agreement. This Information Update is intended to provide general guidelines on what information applicants can start to gather to support their application for enrol­ment in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.  Read

Public Notice

CORRECTION NOTICE (August 8, 2013)

An earlier version of a Public Notice for applicants and members the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, which appeared in several Newfoundland newspapers in August 2013, incorrectly stated that individuals are required to submit their original long form birth certificate.  Read

For more information the public notice can be viewed Here.

FOR ALL APPLICANTS AND MEMBERS OF THE
QALIPU MI’KMAQ FIRST NATION (July 4, 2013)

On July 4, 2013, Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI)
announced a Supplemental Agreement that clarifies the process for enrolment in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation and resolves issues that emerged in
the implementation of the 2008 Agreement for the Recognition of the
Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band.  Read

News Release

Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians Announce Appointment of Ronald G. Penney as Chair of the Qalipu Enrolment Committee
OTTAWA, ONTARIO (September 10, 2013) –

The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Brendan Sheppard, President of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI), today welcomed the appointment of Mr. Ronald G. Penney as Chair of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Enrolment Committee.  Read

Biographical Note on Ronald G. Penney
Frequently Asked Questions on this announcement

Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians Reach Agreement on Resolution of Issues Related to Enrolment in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation

OTTAWA, ONTARIO (July 4, 2013) – The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Brendan Sheppard, President of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI), today announced a Supplemental Agreement that will address shared concerns about the integrity of the enrolment process for membership in the Qalipu Mi`kmaq First Nation.  Read

Important Notice: Eligibility to Appeal

The Federation of Newfoundland Indians wishes to advise members and applicants that only those whose decision letter states “You have the right to appeal the decision of the Enrolment Committee” are eligible for an appeal to the Appeal Master.  These letters also include an Appeal Notice and Instructions for Submitting an Appeal.

In recent weeks, the Appeal Notice has been photocopied, distributed and made available on social media.  It has been suggested by some that “everyone should appeal anyway.”

Please note, appeals submitted by applicants who are not eligible to appeal will not be considered by the Appeal Master; therefore, you are encouraged not to “appeal anyway”.

If you have any questions about the appeal process, please contact a member of our End of Enrolment Support Team:

St. Georges:  709 647 3514
Glenwood:  855 263 6440 (toll free)
Grand Falls-Windsor:  709 489 2898
Stephenville:  709 643 3774
Corner Brook:  844 368 7160 (toll free) or 709 634 4010
INAC Qalipu line:  1 800 561 2266.

Public Notice Changes to Appeal Deadline

On January 31, 2017, letters were sent to all those who applied to be founding members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation notifying them of the Enrolment Committee’s decision and outlining next steps. The deadline to appeal the decision has been extended from March 17, 2017 to March 31, 2017.

Information on Criteria of Group Acceptance through Residency

For your reference, information about group acceptance and residency has been compiled in one place.  In this document linked below, you can review what was required to prove that an applicant resided in or around one of the communities accepted by the Enrolment Committee, revisit the 67 communities accepted by the Enrolment Community (65 set out in Annex B of the 2008 Agreement, and two additions), the meaning of ‘in and around’, as well as what communities were considered ‘in and around’ one of the 67 Mi’kmaq communities.  Click below to view the information bulletin on Group Acceptance through Residency

Click Here to view the Bulletin

Public Notice Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Enrolment Process Applicants Found Ineligible Based on Self-ID

Applicants whose applications were dated after September 22, 2011 were required to submit proof of self-identification as follows:

  • 2006 or earlier census return, filed in Newfoundland and Labrador, indicating that you identified as an Aboriginal Person, a North American Indian or a member of an Indian Band/First Nation.
  • Copy of a Newfoundland newspaper article pre-dating the 23 June 2008 signature of the Agreement reporting the participation of the applicant as a member of the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland in ceremonial, traditional or cultural activities of the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland.
  • Certified true copy of an application form filled out by a resident on the Island of Newfoundland prior to the signing of the 23 June 2008 Agreement for a job in a government, other public institution or the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, Ktaqamkuk Mi’kmaq Alliance, Benoit First Nation or the Sip’kop Mi’kmaq Band indicating that the applicant self-identified as Mi’kmaq, Indian or Aboriginal for the purpose of being selected for the job.
  • Certified true copy of an application form filled out by a resident on the Island of Newfoundland prior to the signing of the 23 June 2008 Agreement for a program benefit sponsored by a government or government agency for the purpose of being selected for the program benefit.
  • Other relevant documents submitted to or issued by a government, a public institution, the Federation of Newfoundland Indians, Ktaqamkuk Mi’kmaq Alliance, Benoit First Nation or the Sip’kop Mi’kmaq Band, prior to the signing of the 23 June 2008 Agreement, showing that the applicant self-identified as a Member of the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland.

If you believe that you have submitted one of the documents listed above but were nonetheless sent a rejection letter by the Enrolment Committee, please contact the INAC Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation line at 1-800-561-2266 to advise the agent of your situation.  You must have your file number and be able to reference the specific document you claim meets the criteria listed.  Please read these criteria carefully before calling the call centre.

PUBLIC NOTICE: ATTENTION APPLICANTS AND MEMBERS OF THE QALIPU MI’KMAQ FIRST NATION

More information is now available on www.aandc.gc.ca/qalipu concerning the process for enrolment in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation and the implementation of the 2008 Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band in accordance with the 2013 Supplemental Agreement.

On January 31, 2017, all applicants, except those previously rejected, were sent a letter notifying them of the Enrolment Committee’s decision regarding eligibility for Founding Membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.

If you are an applicant and have not received a letter by February 13, 2017 please contact 1-800-561-2266. TTY: 1-800-465-7735.

The Enrolment Process will be followed by an appeal period which will begin on February 1, 2017 and be completed in the fall of 2017. Applicants who are eligible for an appeal and wish to appeal the decision of the EC can do so by completing the appeal notice attached to their decision letter and return it to the Appeal Master no later than April 13, 2017.

A new Founding Members list will be established after the determination of all appeals in the spring of 2018.

For more information:
Web: www.aandc.gc.ca/qalipu
Phone: 1-800-561-2266
TTY: 1-800-465-7735

Click Here to go to http://www.aandc.gc.ca/qalipu

The Enrolment Committee has completed its review of all 101,000 applications.  A letter regarding the Enrolment Committee’s decision on your file and next steps will be mailed on January 31, 2017.  You should expect to receive this letter in the mail within the first ten days of February.

If your address has changed since you submitted your original applicationyou must update your contact information in order to receive this letter. Please call the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation line at 1-800-561-2266 or send a signed letter by fax to (204) 984-3032. Make sure to include:

  • your full name
  • your date of birth
  • your file number from INAC, if available (found at the upper-right corner of a letter from the Enrolment Committee)
  • your previous and new mailing addresses
  • the effective date of your address change

Everyone who submitted an application to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation enrollment process is an applicant, including members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.  Unless your application has been rejected, your application has been reviewed for Founding Membership in the Band and you will receive a letter with the decision of the Enrolment Committee dated January 31, 2017.

Yes.  All applications were reviewed with the same criteria.  They were reviewed equally by the Enrolment Committee.  It was the responsibility of the applicant to determine what additional documentation relating to self-identification and group acceptance, if any, he or she wished to provide in support of his or her application.  This was explained in the bulletin November 2013 Updated Information for Applicants for Membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation-Requirements for Additional Documentation.

Your application was reviewed only with the documents that were on file.

Your letter will indicate that you are either eligible or ineligible for Founding Membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.  It will also provide information on next steps as outlined in the timeline below:

20170104-updated-timeline

No.  The process for registration is expected to commence in the spring of 2018.

Before you can become entitled for registration under the Indian Act, the Founding Members list needs to be finalized.  This requires decisions to be rendered on all appeals and the updated Founding Members list to be tabled in Cabinet and approved.  Once this happens, the Indian Registrar will begin to implement updates to the Indian Registry.  You will be entitled to access programs and services after you are registered under the Indian Act.

You will be contacted by the Indian Registrar when your name is added to the Indian Registry.  At that time, you will be able to apply for a Status Card, referred to as the “Secured Certificate of Indian Status.”

Please click here to view the timeline on changes to the Indian Registry

No.  You will not lose your status/benefits until after the Indian Registry is amended based on the updated Founding Member list subject to a new Order in Council to be presented by the Minister in Parliament.  This amendment process will commence in early spring of 2018 at which point you will be contacted by the Indian Registrar with more information.

Please click here to view the timeline on changes to the Indian Registry

No.  The Government of Canada will not seek the reimbursement of benefits received by registered Indians who were at the time entitled to these benefits.

No.  Since you are currently registered as an Indian under the Indian Act, you will retain your access to programs and services until the Indian Registry is amended based on the updated Founding Members list.  This amendment process will commence in early spring of 2018 at which point you will be provided with more information.

Following your removal from the Indian Registry, if you have a status card, it will be canceled.  You will no longer be able to access services or programs using this card or registration number.

The Government of Canada will not seek the reimbursement of benefits received by registered Indians who were at the time entitled to these benefits.

Please note that there are two types of education contracts administered by the Qalipu First Nation, the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) and the Aboriginal Skills Employment and Training Strategy (ASETS).  Students who self-identify as aboriginal may be eligible for ASETS funding. It is not dependent on a status card.

Please click here to view the timeline on changes to the Indian Registry.

No.  However, while only registered Indians are eligible for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP), any self-identifying Aboriginal person may be eligible for education support through the Aboriginal Skills, Employment and Training Strategy (ASETS).

Your application to become a Founding Member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation has been reviewed by the Enrolment Committee pursuant to the Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation (the “Agreement”), the Guidelines contained in the Agreement, the Supplemental Agreement, and Directives to the Enrolment Committee.  These documents can be found at www.aandc.gc.ca/qalipu or www.qalipu.ca/enrolment

If you are entitled to an appeal and your file is found ineligible for Founding Membership, an appeal notice will be included in your decision letter dated January 31, 2017. To initiate an appeal, you will need to complete the Appeal Notice. Please note that no additional documents will be accepted. All appeals will be concluded by fall 2017.

All appeals will be handled by the Appeal Master who is a neutral and independent party. The Appeal Master will review your entire record and Appeal Notice. They will render a decision that you will receive in the mail.

You will have 45 days (until March 31, 2017) to initiate an appeal. Retain a copy for your records and return the original to:

Office of the Appeal Master
Box 9100
Winnipeg MB
R3C 0M9

No additional documents will be accepted. The Appeal Master will base their decision on your applicant record and your Appeal Notice.

In November 2013, all applicants were provided with an opportunity to submit additional documents to support their self-identification or group acceptance. It was the sole responsibility of the applicant to determine what additional documentation, if any, relating to self-identification and group acceptance they wished to provide in support of their application.

Yes.  Children of registered Founding Members will be entitled to registration under the Indian Act. Please note, however, that you cannot become registered under the Indian Act through your bother, sister, aunt, uncle or another relative.

The application for registration as an Indian must be made under the Indian Act to the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Information on this process is available on INAC’s website.

However, you will not become eligible until after the Registrar has implemented the changes in the Registry. This process will commence after the new Founding Members List is approved in the spring of 2018.

Please click here to view the timeline on changes to the Indian Registry.

The Supplemental Agreement, which was signed in June 2013, respects the original intent of the 2008 Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation and resolves a number of issues which had prevented conclusion of the process for enrolment in the First Nation.

Specifically, the Supplemental Agreement:

  • extended the timelines for review of the applications, and ensured all previously unprocessed applications could be reviewed;
  • ensured that all applications received during all phases of the enrolment process, except those previously rejected, would be assessed or reassessed;
  • provided that all those whose applications that were assessed or reassessed would be sent written notification and will have an opportunity to provide additional documentation, if necessary;
  • provided clarity regarding the assessment of an applicant’s self-identification as a member of the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland; and
  • provided guidance related to an individual’s acceptance by the Mi’kmaq communities of Newfoundland, particularly as it relates to individuals not residing in the communities of the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland.

The 2013 Supplemental Agreement did not change the criteria for enrolment as set out in the original 2008 Agreement.

No, the enrolment criteria in section 4.1 of the 2008 Agreement did not change. Rather, the Supplemental Agreement reached between Canada and the FNI included clarification of the requirements for enrolment, additional documentation requirements for applications, and provided an extension of the 2008 Agreement timelines. In addition, under the Supplemental Agreement, all applications submitted since the enrolment process began in December 2008 were reviewed, except for those that had been previously rejected. The 2008 Agreement remains in effect.

The Supplemental Agreement clarified the process for enrolment and resolved issues that emerged in the implementation of the 2008 Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.

These issues included the following:

  • Number of applications — It was neither reasonable nor credible to expect that more than 101,000 individuals would become members of the First Nation, particularly given that approximately two-thirds of the applicants did not reside in any of the Mi’kmaq communities targeted for recognition in this initiative, but elsewhere in Canada.
  • Insufficient timelines — As a result of the surge in applications received for membership, it was not possible to review all applications submitted prior to the November 30, 2012 application deadline within the time limits contained in the original agreement.
  • Lack of clarity in guidelines – The original guidelines for the assessment of applications did not provide sufficient clarity and detail to ensure that the original intent of the parties could be reflected.

The Supplemental Agreement meets the objective shared by Canada and the FNI that all applicants are treated fairly and equitably in accordance with the criteria that the parties originally negotiated to establish eligibility for membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.

In 2008, Canada and the FNI reached agreement on the creation of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. The intent of the 2008 Agreement was to establish a landless band for the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland which was located on the island of Newfoundland and outlined in Annex B of the 2008 Agreement. The original agreement set in motion an enrolment process that would provide eligible members of the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland with status under the Indian Act.

The parties intended that founding membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation would be granted primarily to persons living in or around the Newfoundland Mi`kmaq communities named in the 2008 Agreement. While individuals living outside of these communities could also become members, the intent of the parties was that non-residents would be required to have maintained a strong cultural connection with a Newfoundland Mi’kmaq community, including a sustained and active involvement in the community despite their absence.

The Chief of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation is the legal party representing the Federation of Newfoundland Indians in the Agreement that recognizes the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation as an Indian Act Band.  As such, the Chief is the official spokesperson on all matters dealing with enrolment and represents the interests of the First Nation.

Background note: The Agreement to create the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation as an Indian Act Band was made between the FNI and Canada.  The FNI’s only remaining members are the elected Chief and Council of Qalipu First Nation.  Each member of Qalipu Chief and Council may sit on the Board of Directors for the FNI to represent Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation at the table with INAC.  Not all Executive (Vice-Chief’s) and Councilors exercise their right to do so.  The Chief is obligated to sit on the Board of Directors.

As with any legal agreement, both parties must act within the terms of the Agreement and maintain a level of confidentiality to protect the integrity of the agreement.

The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Act enables the Governor in Council to amend, according to the recommendations of the Enrolment Committee, the schedule to the Order in Council which lists the Founding Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation. The Act ensures that the objective shared by Canada and the FNI that all applicants are treated fairly and equitably in accordance with the criteria that the parties originally negotiated to establish eligibility for membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation is met and implemented. The Act reflects the original intention of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and Canada with respect to the creation of a Founding Members list.

According to the Indian Act in its present form:

Upon being registered (or entitled to be registered), Founding Members are considered 6(1)(b)’s under the Indian Act of Canada, which means:

“6(1)(b) – Persons who are members of groups declared to be new bands by the Governor in Council”

An individual who has the 6(1)(b) classification does qualify to register their children, however the child’s classification will be 6(2) under the Indian Act of Canada, which means:

“6(2) – Persons with one Indian parent registered or entitled under a 6(1) provision”

An individual with 6(2) classification under the Indian Act of Canada will not qualify to register their children due to the Section 6(2) Cut-Off that was introduced in the 1985 Indian Act of Canada:

“Section 6(2) Cut-Off – The 1985 Indian Act introduced a cut-off in terms of who is entitled to registration.  Persons born to a parent who is registered or entitled to be registered under Section 6(2) are not eligible for registration unless their other parent is also someone who is registered or entitled to be registered under the Act.”

If however, both parents are registered 6(1)(b) Indians under the Indian Act of Canada (does not necessarily mean parents are registered, or entitled to be registered, with the same Indian Act Band), would allow for their children to be registered as 6(1)(f)’s under the Indian Act of Canada, meaning:

“6(1)(f) – Persons with two registered (or entitled to be registered) parents”

Children of a 6(1)(f) parent are eligible to be registered as Status Indians under the Indian Act of Canada.

This is one of several issues that have been brought forward by Chief Mitchell in meetings with various levels of government, and the enrolment Implementation Committee.  Lobbying for the care and consideration of persons with difficult circumstances regarding health care will continue to be a primary concern, and will be advocated for, by the Qalipu Chief and Council

Chief and Council have pledged to build an inclusive Nation for the Qalipu Mi’kmaq.  Status cards are not required to participate in Band led teachings, ceremonies or events.  For instance, all people are welcome at powwows, sweat lodges, workshops, and functions of the Band.  Furthermore, Qalipu will review policy on education and employment funding whose guidelines make it possible to financially support any eligible person who self-identifies as Aboriginal.  We will be exploring all possible ways to support Mi’kmaq not registered under the Indian Act.

Please call the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation line at 1-800-561-2266.

Eligibility for Founding Membership is based on more elements than ancestral lineage and each applicant must meet specific criteria (noted below). The criteria established by the Parties was guided by the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v. Powley where the Court recognized that belonging to an Aboriginal group requires at least three elements: Aboriginal ancestry, self-identification, and acceptance by the group.  The Supreme Court stressed that self-identification and acceptance could not be of recent vintage.  This formed the basis for the eligibility criteria and this is why it is possible that some individuals with the same ancestor(s) as an accepted Founding Member may not receive status.

Criteria to become a Founding Member

  1. is of Canadian Indian ancestry;
  2. is a member of a Newfoundland Pre-Confederation Mi’kmaq Community (or is a descendent of such person);
  3. was not registered on the Indian Register on the date of the Recognition Order (September 22, 2011);
  4. self-identified as a Member of the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland on the date of the Recognition Order; and
  5. was accepted by the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland as a member of the Mi’kmaq Group of Indians of Newfoundland on the date of the Recognition Order.

While individuals may be immediate family members (siblings, parents, etc.), their applications may not have been documented identically as evidence of self-identification and of acceptance by the group will differ from one individual to another. As such, this may have resulted in different decisions rendered amongst family members.