FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)
Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band
1. Now that the announcement has been made is the Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Nation Band officially created?
Yes, with the signing of the Order in Council the Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Nation Band is officially created and will begin serving its members.
2. Who will represent me in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band?
The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band is governed by a Band Council. Under the Agreement, the previous Federation of Newfoundland Indians’ Board of Directors will act as the Band Council until the first Band Council election occurs. There must be an election within 18 months of the Band’s formation.
The Band Council is made up of the Chief, the western region Vice-chief, the central region Vice-chief, and nine electoral ward Councillors. Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band members will vote in the electoral ward in which they live when elections are held. Those living outside an electoral ward will vote in the electoral ward in which they last lived, or to which they were assigned when they became members. All Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band members will have a place in which to vote.
Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band Council elections will be held every three years. Eligible voters can vote for one electoral ward Councillor, one Vice-chief (for their region), and the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band Chief.
3. Will existing band councils (members of FNI) continue to exist now that the the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations Band is established?
Local band councils are incorporated bodies and still exist until the councils themselves decide their own future.
4. What is a Founding Members List?
The Founding Members List was developed by the Enrolment Committee during the Enrolment Process and includes the names of the people who form the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations Band – its founding members.
5. Now that the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band is formed with its original Founding Members, can other people apply to become Founding Members?
Yes, but for a limited time only. Now that the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band is formed, the Enrolment Committee will continue to consider applications up to November 30, 2012. After that date membership will be determined under the Indian Act rules.
Becoming a member
6. How do I become a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band?
You must apply to the Enrolment Committee to be added to the list of Founding Members. Successful applicants will be those who:
a. can prove they are of Canadian Indian ancestry, either by birth or adoption. To do this, all applicants must attach a copy of their Long Form Birth Certificate to their application. You may also be required to show a family tree placing you as a descendant of a person who is identified as an aboriginal person. Documentation to support your family tree should include copies of Long Form Birth Certificates for your ancestors (where available), and also one or more of the following (which would identify your ancestor as an aboriginal person):
- extracts from census records
- historical textbooks and writing
- church or school records
- affidavits based on personal knowledge or Mi’kmaq oral history
Genealogical research conducted for the FNI will be available to the Enrolment Committee to help them identify ancestors who are recognized as aboriginal persons.
b. are members (or descendants of a member) of a pre-1949 Newfoundland Mi’kmaq community. Proof can include census records, church or school records, historical textbooks and records, personal papers (such as letters), and deeds or bills of sale showing land ownership.
c. are not already registered Indians under the Indian Act.
d. declare in writing that they consider themselves Mi’kmaq.
e. live in or around a current Newfoundland Mi’kmaq community.
Applicants who do not live in one of these Mi’kmaq communities must show that they often visit or stay in frequent contact with Mi’kmaq who do live in them, and that they try to maintain Mi’kmaq culture and ways of life – evidence of this can include membership in an organization (such as the FNI) that promotes Mi’kmaq interests, or knowledge of or participation in Mi’kmaq ceremonies and traditional activities.
f. are alive when the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band is formed.
7. Does my FNI membership mean I will automatically be a Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band member?
No. Everyone must prepare an application and submit it to the Enrolment Committee. Membership in the FNI (or other organizations that promote Mi’kmaq interests) does help your application, though, as it demonstrates that other Mi’kmaq accept you as a Mi’kmaq person.
8. I don’t live in Newfoundland now—can I still become a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band?
Yes. Former residents of Newfoundland can become members if they meet the criteria.
9. Do I need to present proof to the Enrolment Committee if my ancestry has already been documented in an FNI study?
Yes. In considering an application’s support material, the Enrolment Committee must give significant weight to ancestry that has been documented by any FNI sponsored studies. However, you will still be required to fill out an application and to provide a copy of a Long Form Birth Certificate at least for yourself. You may also have to provide Long Form Birth Certificates for your ancestors to establish a genealogical connection to a person recognized in the studies as an aboriginal person or his or her descendant.
10. Do I have to prove beyond a doubt that I am a descendant of an aboriginal person?
No, but the more information you have to prove this the stronger your application will be but you are not required to prove it “beyond a doubt.” The Enrolment Committee will be directed to consider whether you are a descendant of an aboriginal person on the balance of probabilities. In other words, the committee must be satisfied that it is “more likely than unlikely” that you are a descendant of such a person.
11. Should my children apply to become Founding Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band?
Yes, your children should apply to become Founding Members. This will ensure that their children can be registered as Status Indians. If your children do not apply to become Founding Members, they can still become registered Indians and members of the new band but the ability of their children to be registered as Status Indians may be affected if the other parent of their children is not a Status Indian.
12. Is there a minimum Indian blood quantum requirement for Founding Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band?
No. The Agreement specifically states that “no minimum blood quantum requirement” is needed to establish whether you are of Canadian Indian ancestry. It is sufficient to show that you are a descendant of an aboriginal person.
13. How can I speed up my application process?
Families may speed up their application process by applying together using the same documentation to support all their applications.
14. If the Enrolment Committee denies my application for membership, can I resubmit my application or appeal its decision?
Yes. The Enrolment Committee will give written reasons for an application’s denial and if, based on these reasons, you wish to submit another application you may do so. You can also appeal the decision of the Enrolment Committee to the Appeal Master. The Appeal Master’s decisions will be binding on the Enrolment Committee, unless overturned by a Court decision. Nothing in the Agreement prevents an applicant from challenging a decision of the Appeal Master in Court.
15. Will there be anyone to help me complete my application?
There is one Enrolment Clerk in central Newfoundland and two in western Newfoundland. They can advise you about completing your application and, if necessary, recommend further documentation you may need to support it.
16. Will I need the Long Form Birth Certificate to trace back to my Mi’kmaq ancestry?
A Long Form birth certificate for each individual applicant is a must. However, it is not necessarily a requirement for proof of Mi’kmaq ancestry.
17. Will signing the Litigation Release prevent Newfoundland’s Mi’kmaq from filing future claims actions against the Government of Canada, such as for land claims and hunting and fishing rights?
No, the Release only prevents past, present or future claims against the Government of Canada for not officially recognizing Newfoundland’s Mi’kmaq under the Indian Act in the past, prior to a person becoming a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band.
The Release does not prohibit future court actions if the Government of Canada fails to provide benefits that people would be entitled to receive as a result of achieving registration and the ratification of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band.
Aboriginal land claims and rights to hunting and fishing are not affected by the Release as it will not prevent claims related to inherent aboriginal rights, any applicable treaty rights, or other rights protected by the Constitution Act. Aboriginal land claims and rights to hunting and fishing can still be negotiated separately with Canada or proven through Court challenges.
18. Why sign the Litigation Release?
This is a requirement of the Government of Canada under the Agreement. It was required because the Agreement is designed to settle the Court action and pending Class Action commenced by the FNI that sought recognition of the eligibility of its membership for registration under the Indian Act. The Release was sought from each person who was registered under the Indian Act pursuant to the terms of the settlement
Every person who is registered as a Founding Member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band gave up any personal legal claims against Canada (past, present, or future) that seek either recognition as an Indian under the Indian Act, or damages caused by Canada’s past failure to provide benefits comparable to those available to Indians. The signed Release also required them to opt out of any class action suit regarding Canada’s past failure to provide those benefits.
The Release became operative when the Band was established and Mi’Kmaq were registered as Founding Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band.
Aboriginal Rights and benefits:
19. What benefits will I receive as a Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band member?
Newfoundland Mi’kmaq who are members of the Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Nation Band gain access to many federal programs that are dedicated to Status Indians and recognized Inuit, such as post-secondary education and non-insured health benefits programs. Collectively, the band will receive stable and predictable funding and programs will be consistent and more readily available, such as direct core funding through Indian Government Support programs and economic development funding, and other programs as they become available.
For decades, the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland struggled to maintain our culture and lifestyle. The ratified Agreement supports and sustains the important Mi’kmaq culture of Newfoundland and Canada, building on centuries of history.
20. Will members be required to pay up-front for dental, pharmaceutical drugs, health equipment and transportation?
Some services and prescription drugs are not covered under Non-insured Health Benefits while other services, such as vision and dental care, are not 100% coverage. Members will have to pay the difference upfront. Also, if the service provider is not registered members will have to pay for the entire service and/or drug upfront and be reimbursed.
21. If aboriginal rights and benefits are connected to land ownership throughout Canada, what are the implications for landless band members? How will the Newfoundland aboriginals be treated with equity and equality if they are not entitled to the same basic rights, such as taxation benefits?
Aboriginal rights and benefits are not connected to land ownership. Bands or band members do not own reserves. A band and its members may be entitled to use and live on the reserve but the land itself is owned by the Government of Canada.
Tax benefits, such as not paying income tax, only apply to jobs on a reserve. People who are members of a band but work off-reserve still have to pay income tax.
Through the Agreement, the eligibility for programs will not be based on who lives on or off a reserve – so that distinction will not be a factor in determining who will receive program benefits – promoting greater equality and equity. This will help ensure we are governed in a manner that does not favour any one constituency, such as those who live on-reserve over those who live off-reserve, as reportedly happens elsewhere in Canada.
Land claims are not based on land ownership. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that aboriginal land rights are based on a community use of the land prior to aboriginal contact with Europeans. Where there was aboriginal use of the land before European contact, then the Government of Canada has to recognize those rights surrounding that use before other interests may make use of the land. The Agreement under Clause 2.2 does not prevent such claims being made, and the band or any of its members will be able to pursue these claims in the future.
22. Will the Agreement affect documents and agreements previously rendered? Will the federal and provincial governments include a clause to ensure that the people who suffered loss in the past are protected now? How will they do so?
The Agreement is between the Government of Canada and the FNI only. The provincial government is not a party because the power to recognize aboriginals as Status Indians is within the sole constitutional authority of the Government of Canada. It also is not a party because the Agreement settles the FNI’s case in the Federal Court of Canada to obtain recognition under the Indian Act for its members. The court case was brought only against the Government of Canada because it has the sole constitutional authority to recognize Mi’kmaq as Status Indians.
Since the Agreement only addresses a means to recognize Mi’kmaq as Status Indians, it cannot affect agreements previously made, including previous agreements relating to land. Clause 2.5 states: “Rights, privileges and obligations under this Agreement accrue to the Parties only.” This ensures that neither the Government of Canada nor the Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Nation Band have the right to affect rights and obligations that individuals, who may be members, have under other agreements, including any that may affect property rights.
23. Within a landless band structure, what are the implications for aboriginal customs and culture? That is, how will this impact the community’s ability to exercise cultural practices that rely on the land’s use such as hunting and fishing? How will this be the same or different to other aboriginal communities across Canada?
The strength of a culture depends on the willingness of people to preserve it by maintaining traditional practices and customs. Nevertheless, there is nothing in the Agreement that prevents the Band or its members from seeking to assert cultural practices and customs tied to the land. Cultural practices based on land claims or the exercise of hunting and fishing rights are not affected.
The Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Nation Band is one of the largest bands in Canada, which will increase our influence, regionally, provincially and nationally. Beyond the economic development programs and community support programs, the Band plans on accessing cultural funding and potentially developing programs to enhance Mi’kmaq culture, such as grade school cultural programs and specialized programs at Wilfred Grenfell.
24. Are aboriginal land claims or hunting and fishing rights affected by the Agreement?
No. Aboriginal land claims and rights to hunting and fishing are not affected by this Agreement. They can still be negotiated separately with Canada or proven through Court challenges.
25. Does recognition as a Status Indian give me aboriginal hunting and fishing rights?
No. Aboriginal hunting and fishing rights are based on different legal principles and are not based solely on being recognized as a Status Indian.
26. Will hunting and fishing rights and land claims be taken away or established by this Agreement?
No. Section 2.2 of the Agreement states: “nothing in this agreement shall take away or add to any existing treaty right or aboriginal right of aboriginal peoples of Canada under section 35 of the constitution Act, 1982.”?Aboriginal hunting and fishing rights are based on different legal principles and are not based solely on being recognized as a Status Indian.
27. Will the Agreement prevent negotiating land agreements in the future? What clauses are in place to ensure that this can or cannot occur?
Nowhere in the Agreement is there a reference to a landless band. While clause 2.6 states that no land will be set aside for a reserve under the Agreement, this does not mean that the new band or its members cannot assert land claims in the future, based on separate legal principles. Land claims are not the same as reserves.
The Agreement only deals with the process leading to recognition of Mi’kmaq as Status Indians. This is due to the fact that the Agreement settles the FNI’s court case seeking recognition under the Indian Act for its members. That case was brought against the Government of Canada because it has the sole constitutional authority to recognize Mi’kmaq as Status Indians. That court case did not seek a court ruling on land claims or hunting and fishing rights.
Since the case and the Agreement do not deal with asserting land claims, Clause 2.2 was added to make it clear that such claims could still be made once the Agreement was signed. The Agreement also does not preclude the Band from seeking a reserve from the federal government in the future.
While reserves are established by treaty or by order of the federal government, land claims are based on aboriginal historic use of lands. Where no treaty has been made, as is the case here, land claims based on use of land prior to aboriginal contact with Europeans can still be asserted. Clause 2.2 protects the rights of the Band and its members to make such claims based on those separate legal principles.
28. Who do I notify if I have changed my address?
Qalipu members who received a preliminary approval letter from Mr. Tom Rideout on or before May 31, 2011 and have changed address since applying must notify Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (Indians Affairs). You must send your new address, your old address and your date of birth on a SIGNED letter either by fax at 819-997-6296 or by email (letter with a signature must be scanned electronically) to Chantal.firstname.lastname@example.org .
All other Qalipu members who have changed address must notify the Band with a signed letter by fax at (709) 639-3997.
29. Who can prescribe vision care benefits?
Vision care benefits must be prescribed by an NIHB recognised prescriber. A vision care prescriber must be an Ophthalmologist or an Optometrist who is licensed/certified, and in good standing with the provincial/territorial regulatory body in which he or she practices.
30. Can members of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation purchase goods tax exempt?
Yes, members of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation can purchase goods tax exempt provided the purchase is made on reserve or the good was delivered to the reserve by the vendor (seller) or an agent of the vendor. It does not matter what reserve it is as long as it is a federally recognized Indian Reserve. Furthermore, it does not matter that the item will be consumed off reserve after delivery as the pattern of use is not relevant according to Canada Revenue Agency.
In arranging delivery to another First Nations reserve lands it may be appropriate to contact the First Nation to indicate that you wish to have an item delivered to the reserve by the vender or agent who will be making the delivery.
Miawpukek First Nation, at Conne River, has a process in place for deliveries of goods to the Miawpukek Reserve by status Indians who are not members of Miawpukek First Nation. For more information contact Mary Stride at 709 882-2470.
The following guideline is from Canada Revenue Agency site regarding GST/HST application to Status Indians.
Off-reserve purchases of property delivered to a reserve
Along with the individual’s Certificate of Indian Status card number or the certification by the Indian band or band-empowered entity, the vendor is required to maintain proof of delivery (e.g., waybill, postal receipt or freight bill), indicating the destination of the property to a reserve.
If property is acquired from a vendor that is not located on a reserve, the property must be delivered to a reserve for the purchase to be relieved from the GST/HST. The property must be delivered by either the vendor or an agent of the vendor.
If these conditions are not met, or if the vendor does not qualify as one of the remote stores described on page 9, the normal GST/HST rules apply.
Where property is delivered to a reserve in the vendor’s own vehicle, the vendor must maintain proof that delivery was made to a reserve. This will be indicated on the invoice issued by the vendor and the vendor’s internal records (e.g., mileage logs or dispatch records). Such proof must be maintained in addition to the proof of Indian status or certification by an Indian band or band-empowered entity.
Normal GST/HST rules will apply where an Indian, Indian band or band-empowered entity that is the purchaser takes possession of the property off a reserve and delivers the property to a reserve in his or her own vehicle.
Where the property is delivered by the vendor’s agent to a reserve, the vendor must maintain:
- proof of Indian status or certification by the Indian band or band-empowered entity; and
- proof of delivery being made to the reserve (e.g., a waybill, postal receipt showing a reserve address).
An agent of the vendor includes an individual or company under contract to the vendor for making deliveries (e.g., postal services, trains, boats or couriers). The vendor would normally bear all the risks of the agent during the course of the delivery as if these risks were the vendor’s own, unless specifically covered in the agency agreement.
A carrier who is under contract with the purchaser is not regarded as the agent of the vendor. In addition, undertakings by purchasers of property to deliver the property to themselves as agents of the vendor are not acceptable to the CRA.