Chief Brendan Mitchell
Brendan was born in Corner Brook, NL where he continues to reside with his wife, Sheila LaSaga.
His first involvement in the aboriginal movement in Newfoundland dates to the early 1970’s when his father Jack Mitchell initiated information sessions and organized meetings for aboriginal people in the Corner Brook area. Jack Mitchell became the first elected chief of the Corner Brook Band Council as part of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians. Brendan is the great – grandson of Mattie Mitchell, a well- known Newfoundland Mi’kmaq guide and prospector, who in 2002, was recognized by the Federal Government of Canada for his contribution to the province and was designated as a person of national historic significance.
Brendan has extensive work experience in the areas of project management, materials management, transportation and procurement management. He holds Bachelor of Science (Biology) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland. His organizational involvements are many having served on boards and committees locally, provincially and nationally.
As Qalipu Chief, he is committed to the ongoing development of Qalipu on behalf of our people and our communities. Particularly, key areas of focus include member access to culture, teachings and language initiatives, expanding membership services, strategic growth, program benefit sustainability, increased organizational self-sufficiency through direct business ownership and greater involvement with our communities. He will endeavor to improve governmental relations at municipal, provincial and federal levels. He will promote positive change in fostering a prosperous tomorrow for all.
He plans to work together with Council and staff at Qalipu in doing the right things right for the Qalipu Nation, putting our people and communities first and doing so with respect, honesty, integrity and true dedication.
Central Region Vice-Chief, Andrew (Andy) Barker
Andrew (Andy) Barker is serving his third term as Qalipu Councilor for the Exploits Ward over the past 6 years. He serves on the Community Services Committee. This committee makes recommendations to the Qalipu Council based on community input, and acts as a liaison between the committee and the Qalipu Council.
Andy was born in Grand Falls in 1945 and lives there today with his spouse, Dianne. They have nine children: Mary Ann, Andrew John, Nancy, Barbara, Catherine, Joanna, Margaret, Nora, and Salome. Andy’s aboriginal ancestry is linked to the John family of Conne River.
Andy attended St. Michael’s High School in Grand Falls, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Francis Xavier University, a Bachelor of Education Degree from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Education degree from Memorial University. He worked as a teacher and librarian throughout his career and is currently a part-time Librarian Technician at the College of the North Atlantic in Grand Falls-Windsor.
Andy served as a Town Councilor from 1977-81 and 1981-85 in Grand Falls. He also previously been awarded the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Award Senior Non-Fiction and is presently a freelance columnist with The Advertiser.
Western Vice-Chief, Jennifer (Jenny) Brake
Jenny Brake is the past Vice Chair of the Qalipu Cultural Foundation, the Chair of Empowering Indigenous Women for Stronger Communities, a director for the Labrador Office for Indigenous and Northern Skilled Trades. Through these organizations, Jenny works with community to raise awareness for mental health, violence against women and capacity building through education, employment, and social enterprise.
With the support of her three children, her son Jhoni, and daughters Mya and Ivy, Jenny is committed to the growth of Qalipu First Nation, and the preservation of Mi’kmaq values and traditions. She is an artist and well known for her contribution to the Mikwite’km Garden with her centerpiece image “Don’t Forget Me, Mukk-aqanta’sualiq” Jenny is also a welder by trade and now works for the Office to Advance Women Apprentices where she helps increase career opportunities for women in skilled trades and advocates for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Benoit's Cove Ward Councilor, Terri Greene
Terri Greene was born in Corner Brook, NL in 1984 and grew up along the south shore of the Bay of Islands. Terri is a graduate from Regina High School and received her diploma in Internet Application Developer from College of The North Atlantic in 2007.
By 2008 she relocated to Goose Bay, Labrador with a baby boy, Ethan, where she resided for 10 years. There, Terri extended her studies with a second diploma in Information Management and began work at Labrador-Grenfell Health where she continues to work but remotely from her home, back to her roots, in Halfway Point, Newfoundland.
Terri is the President on the volunteer board of directors for the Benoit’s Cove Aboriginal Housing Corporation.
Terri is very eager to represent the Benoits Cove Ward, to work with Chief and Council to help improve existing and future programs, while sitting on the committees of Operations and Communications, Housing and Health, and Finance and Audit.
Corner Brook Ward Councilor, Sherry (White) Dean
Sherry (White) Dean was born and raised in Stephenville, one of nine children of Roy and Greta White. She is descended from Henri L’Official through his daughter Anne (to Roy) and Harriet Benoit through her daughter Ellen (to Greta) She moved to Corner Brook in 1974 to attend Nursing School and settled here. She has two adult daughters, two sons-in-law and four grandsons, all living in Corner Brook. She and her husband Mervyn are avid gardeners.
Sherry served as President of the Bay of Islands’ Toastmasters Club and was a facilitator of the Zenger Miller Leadership Program at Western Health. She is a Motivational Speaker on issues of Personal and Professional Wellness, and a Healthy Living Advocate. She is a past President and member of The Corner Brook Aboriginal Women’s Association. She was invited by the first Band Council to sit as Vice Chair of the steering committee that would become The Qalipu Cultural Foundation and chaired that Organization for many years.
In her first term as Qalipu Ward Councillor for Corner Brook, she will serve as Chair of the Health and Housing Committee, and member of the Education and Training Committee.
As your representative, Sherry will work diligently on your behalf to secure and grow existing programs in Health and Education. She is committed to imbedding our Traditions and Ceremonies into Health Programs and Schools. As a team player and consensus builder, Sherry will work respectfully with Chief and Council to enhance benefits and opportunities for all Band members.
Exploits Ward Councilor, Charlene Combdon
Raised in Jackson’s Arm, White Bay, Charlene Combdon grew up in the teachings of Mi’kmaq traditions and way of life. Small town lineage taught her the value of hard work and dedication to achieve excellence! Through her family, she was always reminded who she was – a Mi’kmaw woman. Charlene since has left Jackson’s Arm and now resides in Grand Falls-Windsor with her fiancé.
Charlene is past President of the Exploits Aboriginal Community Group, Founding Member of the Exploits Mawiomi, current 2nd Vice President of the Exploits Chamber of Commerce, and an Award-Winning Indigenous Entrepreneur.
This is Charlene’s first term of Council, where she looks forward to building a relationship with members across the Exploits Ward and developing greater community connections!
Flat Bay Ward Councilor, Robert (Bobby) White
Although Bobby is new to the Qalipu Council and the political platform, he has been involved with the Indigenous communities of Newfoundland for many years, through culture and ceremony. Bobby is now a member of the Qalipu Culture, Tourism and Community Development Standing Committee and will also serve on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
Bobby is a proud promoter of Mi’kmaw culture, ceremony, language, and heritage. He has spent time in all communities on the west coast of the island during his twenty years as a musician and sees the potential in each community.
Bobby believes in community unity and transparency. He supports Mi’kmaw cultural reclamation for the large Flat Bay ward, and indeed through the whole membership. Over the next three years he plans on getting to know the policies and procedures of Qalipu First Nation to effectively represent the people of his ward.
Gander Bay Ward Councilor, Calvin Francis
Calvin Francis is serving his third term as Qalipu Councilor for the Gander Bay Ward. Calvin is currently on the standing committee for Mi’kmaq Alsumk Mowimsikik Koqoey Association (MAMKA), a Natural Resources association whose mandate is to represent Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland in aquatic resource and ocean management issues. He also servces on the Qalipu Housing Committee.
Calvin was born in Clarke’s Head, Gander Bay, to a family of 9 children. He has lived there for 64 years and has been married for 35 years to his wife Anne. They have two children and two grandchildren.
Calvin has been Chief of the Gander Bay Indian Band for 35 years, and has been on the Board of Directors of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians throughout this time. In addition to this experience, he has worked as a housing inspector, fisheries director, and manager.
Calvin says his work with the FNI has been very gratifying, as he has been able to meet and assist aboriginal people with social and economic issues. With the creation of the Qalipu First Nation Band, he is gratified that people are now recognized as status Indians. He wants to see the Mi’Kmaq communities improve both socially and economically.
Glenwood Ward Councilor, Francis Skeard
After elected in 2012, Francis (Frank) is serving his third consecutive term as Qalipu Councilor for the Glenwood Ward. Over the first two terms, Frank was the Strategic Planning Portfolio Holder and then the Chairperson of Service Qalipu Standing Committee. Currently, Frank is the chairperson of the Qalipu Natural Recourses Standing Committee, a member of the MAMKA board of Directors, a member of FNI – Implementation Committee along with being the Vice President of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians.
Frank was born in Mount Moriah and now lives in Gander with his wife Deneka. He has two adult daughters (Jordan and Kaitlyn) and one granddaughter (Norah).
Frank has worked for the government of Newfoundland and Labrador since 1991 in a variety of roles all focusing on the sustainable management of forested ecosystem. Currently, Frank is the District Ecosystem Manager for Forest Management Districts 4-5-6-8, an area spanning from boundary of Terra Nova Park in the east to the Exploits River in the west.
Frank has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry from the University of New Brunswick, two Masters Certificate’s (Project Management and Business Analysis) from Schulich School of Business – York University, Third Party Neutral (Conflict Resolution) from Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution, Public Sector Leadership and Management Development Program from Memorial University and more.
Besides volunteering with Qalipu, Frank is actively involved the community at large. His latest endeavors are the establishment/operation of Kikmanaq (our family; our friends) Indigenous Cultural Revival Association and working towards the establishment of a Family Resource Center for Gander and area.
Frank is passionate and committed to helping members and other liked minded individuals reclaim their Mi’kmaq / indigenous culture and traditions.
Port au Port Ward Councilor, Jasen Benwah
This will be Jasen Benwah’s third term served on the Qalipu Council. In addition to representing members of the Port au Port Ward, he serves as chair of the Qalipu First Nation Cultural, Tourism and Community Development Committee.
Jasen has been involved with the Indigenous communities of Newfoundland for many years. He has been Chief of Benoit 1st Nation for 16 years and before that he was Chief of Kitpu. He has also been a member of the Indian Head First Nation and Port au Port Indian Band, and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians. He continues to be passionate about promoting Mi’kmaq language, culture, and heritage for Mi’kmaw people
Jasen studied Business Administration at Western College, and Occupational Health & Safety at the University of New Brunswick. He is a Commissioner of Oaths and Marriage Commissioner, as appointed by the Minister of Justice in 2006. Jasen is also busy volunteering as a Town Councilor on the Municipal Council of Cape St. George and has served as that community’s mayor. He is also the past Director and President of the Port au Port Economic Development Association.
Jasen was a founding board members of the Bay St, George Mi’kmaq Cultural Revival Committee and proudly worked on the first Bay St. George Powwow in 2006. He recently authored a series of books that preserve history, stories and knowledge of the region. His kids book Kluskap’s Trail is proving to very popular.
He intends to bring various programs to the members including workshops, food security programs (for vulnerable households), language and other programming and services. Jasen intends to give good representation, transparency, and strong support for the Mi’kmaq for the Ward of Port au Port and plans to spend the next 3 years advocating for ward members.
Stephenville Ward Councilor, Hayward Young
Hayward young has been involved in the Aboriginal Movement for nearly 40 years, initiated when he was hired as an outreach worker by the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI). Although his office was in Flat Bay, he served the 10 Bands of the FNI, including Bartlett’s Harbour and all other members of the community.
During the last four decades, Howard served 3 terms as Chief of Indian Head First Nation and 4 Terms as a Board member of the FNI, including 1 term as their Western VIce -Chief. More to that, he served as Co-Chair of the 2nd Bay St. George Powwow with Ms. Judy White. During his term as FNI Vice -Chief , he sat as an observer with the Negotiation Team for the Agreement In Principle. “It is important for people to understand, I was an observer only and did not vote in favour of the agreement. I felt then and still do, that as a Band without land and the same rights as all other Bands across Canada, we would be dead in the water and would always be a welfare state, being controlled by Canada,” Young stated.
Hayward grew up in a family, with both MI’Kmaq and French heritage were hidden. He learned to hunt, fish and trap at an early age, with guidance from his father and my uncle, who were both fishing and hunting guides.
His community involvement started much earlier in life , coaching hockey, while still playing hockey himself and coaching minor baseball. His long background in serving as President of many groups, including softball, minor hockey and Stephenville Crossing Parks and Recreation. He served 20 years on municipal Council, 2 terms as Mayor, was a volunteer fireman and with ground search and rescue. Lastly, he served as Chair of a Provincial waterfowl group, the Stewardship Association of Municipalities.
“I plan to be a strong voice for both our status and non-status people.” – Hayward George Young
St. George’s Ward Councilor, Ivan J. White
Ivan J. White (he/him) is an emissary for his culture, heritage, and people and is currently serving his second term as St. George’s Councilor of Qalipu First Nation. He is Chair of the Education and Training Committee and he also serves on the Communications Committee.
Ivan J’s involvement with the movement stems from his upbringing in the communities of Flat Bay and Shallop Cove as well as his family ties to many of the leaders that broke through the gates and began the Native Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, known today as the Warriors of the Flame, in the early 1970’s. Once his Mentors and Elders felt he was ready, Ivan J was given tasks and nudged into education suited to his skills and growth as a voice and advocate for Mi’kmaq people.
Formally educated in the field of marketing and practiced in the areas of media and communications Ivan J intuitively understood the communications field and has since worked in it in some capacity for over 15 years. Primarily this has been for grassroots organizations, and private businesses, in the Bay St. George area which has given him great insight into the communities and the people who live here. The work Ivan J is most proud of is that which explores the intersections of business and Indigenous identity. A field that has become known as Two-eyed Seeing today.
Artistically, he has worked as writer, musician, filmmaker, and producer/curator in both amateur and professional capacities all with the intention of exploring the intersections of business, arts, and Mi’kmaw identity. These themes come out of a desire to better understand his place in his community and his role as a Mi’kmaw. A storyteller at heart and advocate for his people by upbringing, he remains close to his home community of Flat Bay and is likely heard before he is seen on the issues that involve his people. He currently lives in St. George’s with his wife, Crystal, and their two lovely children, Isabella and Ivan Jr.
Youth Representative - Salome Barker
Salome Barker was born and raised in Grand Falls- Windsor, NL and is a fancy shawl dancer. Growing up Salome has always felt deeply connected to her Mi’kmaq ancestry, growing up in a rural area Salome started to notice all the areas in which Indigenous youth get left out of the narrative. This started Salome’s passion in the area of cultural revitalization for youth. Salome’s ancestry is linked to the John family of Conne River.
Salome attended St.Francis Xavier University where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Women and Gender Studies. After graduating in 2019 Salome received an Oceanpath Scholarship in the area of community development. Salome created an initiative that was aimed at revitalizing Mi’kmaq identity among youth in central Newfoundland. Over the past 9 months Salome has created safe spaces for youth to partake in cultural workshops led by Mi’kmaq community leaders and Elders to learn more about their Mi’kmaq identity and fostered many important relationships over the duration of this fellowship.
Upon completing the Oceanpath Fellowship Salome wants to continue uplifting Indigenous youths voices all across the province and bring more cultural programming to the central region of Newfoundland. Salome believes that empowering Qalipu youth with cultural teachings, community gatherings, knowledge and a supportive network is vital for the future of Qalipu. Salome see’s a bright future for Qalipu youth and will continue to support youth as much as she can. Salome is excited to be a voice for Qalipu youth and bring their voices to the Chief & Council table. Msit No’kmaq.