On February 24, 2017, Chief/President Mitchell, Vice Chief (Central) Bouzanne, Councillor/Director Skeard, Elder Odelle Pike, Elder Calvin White, and Band Manager Randy Drover met with representatives of Canada to discuss the outcomes of the enrolment process. Vice Chief (Western) Samms-Hurley was unavailable due to other previously scheduled Band commitments. The meeting occurred in Gatineau, QC.
Over the past couple of weeks, members and applicants received their letters from the Enrolment Committee regarding their eligibility for enrolment as Founding Members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band. Chief and Council has and continues to receive feedback from members and applicants who are expressing their disappointment with the outcomes. Many people are sharing their personal stories and are questioning the decisions of the Enrolment Committee. These stories and the associated emotions are being heard and felt. The Chief and Council are equally disappointed with the number of members and applicants found not to have met the enrolment criteria and sympathize with those people who were found ineligible for enrolment.
On February 13, 2017, the Qalipu First Nation (QFN) and the FNI began hosting end of enrolment community sessions to provide members with an opportunity to raise questions and concerns. To date, community sessions were held in Flat Bay, Port-au-Port, St. Georges, Stephenville, Benoits Cove, St. John’s and Grand Falls-Windsor. Sessions will also be held in Gambo, Appleton, Corner Brook, Port Saunders, and Burgeo in the coming weeks. These sessions have been well attended and the information collected was shared with Canada during the meeting. For more information regarding the community sessions, please visit Qalipu.ca.
During the meeting in Gatineau, the parties had an open and frank discussion regarding the outcomes of the enrolment process. Chief Mitchell and the other representatives, including the Elders, shared the concerns, issues and emotions they are hearing and feeling throughout our communities.
The QFN and the FNI will continue to address with Canada the issues and concerns being raised by our members and applicants. Moreover, efforts to find solutions, within the parameters of the agreements, are being explored. While this process is unfolding, and there are no assurances these exploratory discussions will be fruitful, the FNI encourages those individuals with the right to appeal to utilize that process. Appeals must be submitted by March 31, 2017, and they must demonstrate how the Enrolment Committee made an error or mistake when assessing your application. The appeals process provides an important opportunity to rectify errors that members and applicants feel were made in the assessment of their files. For more information regarding the appeals process, please visit Qalipu.ca.
Further updates will be provided as the process unfolds.