It’s been a very long but busy winter at Qalipu First Nation. We have seen some substantial advances and as spring brings forward growth and new life, we look forward to new opportunities at Qalipu First Nation.
Recently, we’ve taken a positive step forward in building our relationship within the broader Mi’kmaq community in Atlantic Canada. On April 11, we were accepted into the Atlantic Policy Congress. This regional policy, research and advocacy organization plays an important role in economic development activities across the region in support of all Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passmaquoddy and Innu communities across Atlantic Canada. We are pleased to be a part of this organization and look forward to working in unity and collaboration with our First Nation neighbours.
The Band recently completed the first phase of certification with the First Nations Financial Management Board. This certification gives us greater financial independence and opportunity. This certification also shows that our First Nation has sound financial and business practices in place as we plan for the long-term success of the Band.
On April 2, we were pleased to announce a new development that provides for more sustainable funding for our membership, and a stronger sense of self-determination for our Nation. We 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 people we represent. The Agreement is effective as of April 1, 2019.
I’m especially pleased with the effort that is being put forward by our staff with regards to membership engagement throughout the province. We have met with people in Grand Falls-Windsor, Gander, Gander Bay, St. George’s, Stephenville, Flat Bay and Burgeo. The final leg of the tour will include Port au Port, Corner Brook, Benoit’s Cove and St. John’s.
Regarding enrolment, we continue to be engaged in exploratory discussions with the Government of Canada regarding treatment of military and RCMP (veterans) and those who were former members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians who have lost status or who were not admitted into the Band initially. Conversations have been ongoing since December and we are moving in a positive direction based on our discussions to date.
Our Education and Training Department has been working collaboratively with the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve Unit to raise awareness of a summer employment opportunity for indigenous people. The Black Bear Program is six-week training opportunity conducted in Camp Gagetown, NB. It provides an opportunity for participants to gain basic military training, earn $4200, have all travel, accommodations and meals provided. As well, culture is integrated into all elements of training. I encourage people to consider this program as a rewarding summer employment opportunity. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2019. Find out more here: https://www.canada.ca/en/army/services/black-bear.html
I wish you all the best and hope you have a very happy and enjoyable Easter.
Chief Brendan Mitchell