old carpenter man working in carpenter studio

Mi’kmaq Art and Craft to be Featured at Deer Lake Airport Gift Shop

July 7, 2020 Corner Brook—Qalipu First Nation is pleased to share that our tourism division, Experience Qalipu, has partnered with the Deer Lake Airport Gift Shop to provide retail space to Mi’kmaq artists and craftspeople in a location that reaches visitors from around the world.

This dedicated retail space will feature authentic Indigenous art and craft and will create an economic and promotional opportunity for Mi’kmaq artists and craftspeople.  Brent Marsden, the owner of the gift shop is enthusiastic about showcasing more of what Newfoundland has to offer.

Marsden shared, “I’m looking forward to showing visitors another aspect of Newfoundland culture.”

Tara Saunders, Director of Community Development with the Band noted that traditional and modern art and craft act as a catalyst to cultural revival and that artists and craftspeople play an invaluable role in preserving and promoting our traditional skills.

“Promoting Indigenous products not only creates economic growth for our people, but also helps to preserve important elements of who we are for many generations to come.  We will continue to work on other retail opportunities for our crafts people and artists throughout our region and beyond.”

If you are a Mi’kmaq artist or craftsperson who is interested in selling your items at the Deer Lake Airport Gift Shop, please contact Alex Antle for more information, aantle@qalipu.ca. Please note that you do not need to be a member of the Qalipu First Nation Band to take advantage of this opportunity, this retail space is open to all Indigenous people.

Artists and craftspeople can stay up to date with all Indigenous art and craft opportunities by signing up for the Experience Qalipu Art and Craft Opportunity Mailing list: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ArtistMailingList

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Qalipu working with Deer Lake Airport to create opportunity for Indigenous crafts people

Qalipu First Nation is dedicated to providing support and creating opportunities for Mi’kmaq artists and craftspeople. Mi’kmaq people who create traditional and modern art and craft act as a catalyst to cultural revival; artists and craftspeople are preserving and promoting our traditional skills.

Experience Qalipu is partnering with the Deer Lake Airport Gift Shop to provide retail space to Mi’kmaq artists and craftspeople. Brent Marsden, the owner of the giftshop, is working with the Experience Qalipu team to create a section of the store dedicated to authentic Indigenous art and craft. Marsden shares that he is “looking forward to showing visitors another aspect of Newfoundland culture.” This retail space will create an economic and promotional opportunity for Mi’kmaq artists and craftspeople.

Tara Saunders, Director of Community Development at Qalipu First Nation says ” We are extremely excited to work with the Deer Lake Airport Gift Shop to offer this opportunity to our Indigenous community.  We will continue to work on other retail opportunities for our crafts people and artists throughout our region and beyond.  Promoting Indigenous products not only creates economic growth for our people, but also helps to preserve important elements of who we are for many generations to come.”

If you are a Mi’kmaq artist or craftsperson who is interested in selling your items at the Deer Lake Airport Gift Shop, please contact Alex Antle for more information, aantle@qalipu.ca. Please note that you do not need to be a member of the Qalipu First Nation Band to take advantage of this opportunity, this retail space is open to all Indigenous people.

If you are a Mi’kmaq artist or craftsperson who is interested in staying up to date with all Indigenous art and craft opportunities, please sign up for the Experience Qalipu Art and Craft Opportunity Mailing list: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ArtistMailingList

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Forever in our Hearts: Margaret McDonald

On June 8, 2020, our community lost someone very dear to many people, Ms. Margaret McDonald.

Margaret was the great-granddaughter of Mary Paul, who lived at Wigwam Point, which is near the mouth of the Exploits River in Peterview, NL.  Before her passing, Chief Nellie Power and Margaret’s daughter, Linda Langdon, was preparing to acknowledge her and her empowering spirit.  In her honour, we what to share those words and recognize this strong Mi’kmaw women who was loved by so many.  The following words were written by Linda and Chief Power:

“What do 95-year-old elders do? They empower all those that they meet.

 

Margaret F McDonald is one of those people.  She is a founding member of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and a long-standing member of the Sple’tk Band in Central Newfoundland and Labrador.  Margaret is also a founding member of the Qalipu Band.

 

Margaret has always known her ancestry, her father (Frank Beaton) was a big influence in her upbringing.  Her father made sure that she knew and understood about the land, how to hunt for food and know what was editable in the forest, to set slips for rabbits, clean, cook, gather, and to only take what was needed. Margaret instilled all these things in her own family both girls and boys even taking her grandchildren on excursion on the land and water. Margaret still has a big love for the land and nature.  Never missing a gathering at Wigwam Point, sharing her Mi’kmaq culture in her home town of Norris Arm at the Heritage Festival each year, not to mention twice a month to meet with the Exploits Drummers to do what women have done for centuries, “to sit in a circle, to share, talk, drum and sing”.

 

One of her favourite moments was when she received her regalia and drum at the age of 80 years and was very honoured to walk in the Grand Entry at the Powwow in Conne River held each year.

 

She has been interviewed a number of times by those who wanted to share her knowledge with others. She has been involved in Moon Ceremonies, Elders Feasts, was Water Ceremonies but most of all listening and learning both young and old alike can learn from each other.”

Margaret will be missed by many, and while she may not walk with us in-person, her spirit is with us and will continue to empower and inspire those who were fortunate to know her.

CL Verlie Sharpe

Community Leaders: Verlie Sharpe

“When I hear drums beating, I can feel it in my heart,” said Verlie Sharpe of Grand Falls-Windsor. Verlie is a proud Mi’kmaw woman and for her it means the world to claim Mi’kmaq heritage as her own. “I am very proud to be called Mi’kmaw”, she said. Verlie is the Vice President of the Exploits Aboriginal Community group, a member of the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network, and a member of Eastern Door.

Through her involvement with the Exploits Valley Aboriginal Community Group Verlie shares her knowledge of drumming and culture with youth, seniors, and everyone in between. Along with the group, Verlie was a part of the opening ceremony for Special Olympics in 2019. “I feel honoured and proud to do so along without Aboriginal Group and the children from Bernie’s Puktew,” said Verlie. Aside from sharing aspects of culture, she has also facilitated seniors workshops in the area for seniors, violence prevention, and lateral violence to make her community a better place for everyone.

Verlie is passionate about her culture and she stays connected in the way she lives her everyday life, “I am an outdoors person,” she said, “I fish, I harvest moose in the fall and give back thanks to the Creator by offering tobacco to the surrounding area. I pick berries whenever they are available and bottle them as well as moose, rabbit, seal, and caribou. Verlie is also talented at many aboriginal crafts, she has made rattles, baskets, sealskin mittens, moccasins and she does beadwork as well.

When asked about her vision for the future of Qalipu, Verlie said “I would love to see a Powwow in central and would love to see more programs in central for aboriginal children.”

Salome Barker

Youth Representative Seat to Change Hands

Qalipu First Nation wishes to advise its membership of a change to the Council makeup following the resignation of Youth Representative Jessica Saunders late last week. The youth election held at the inaugural Mawita’jik Maljewe’jk (youth gathering) also included the election of an Alternate Youth Representative to share the duties of the role or step up in the absence of the elected representative. Alternate Youth Representative Salome Barker will now take the youth seat on Council.

Saunders noted that her family commitments made it difficult to dedicate herself fully to the role of Youth Representative but that she has appreciated her time on Council and hopes to be involved again in the future when her son is older.

She said, “I am very grateful for the kindness you guys have shown me and Leo, and I am sure that I will see you all again. I wish you all many blessings and joy. Thank you so much”

Salome Barker, also from central Newfoundland, is looking forward to the new role. She expressed gratitude for all the work Jessica has done and talked about her vision for working with Council.

“I’m very honoured and privileged to have a seat on the Qalipu Council as a youth councillor. I’m excited to bring so many Indigenous youths voices to the table and continue to uplift their voices and ideas. There are countless Mi’kmaq youth across the province who are doing tremendous work in cultural revitalization, supporting their communities and making positive change for future generations to come. I do believe that Qalipu youth are the future of Qalipu First Nation and it’s incredibly important to hear us and continue to make room for our voices. I know that I have the support from Mi’kmaq youth within our youth network and that they will be by my side throughout this journey. I’m looking forward to this new position and will have the youth as my top priority. Thank you for this opportunity. Msit No’kmaq.”

The Youth designed their own election code in which the responsibilities of the Youth Representative, elected for a one-year term, are as follows:

  • Form and maintain a Youth Advisory Network.
  • Lead the planning activities for the Youth Gathering.
  • Represent the youth voice at the Qalipu First Nation Band Council.
  • Carry forward recommendations to the Qalipu First Nation Band Council that arise from the annual Youth Gathering.
  • Attend meetings of the Qalipu First Nation Band Council (estimated at six meetings per year).
  • Report back to the Youth Advisory Network after Qalipu First Nation Band Council meetings.
  • Establish and maintain a social media space for the Youth Advisory Network.
  • Serve as an ambassador of Qalipu’s Youth Members.
  • Be open-minded and listen to other ideas.
  • Be respectful.
  • Engage Indigenous youth.
  • Represent the Qalipu First Nation at events where required.
  • Facilitate discussions among the Youth Advisory Network to generate ideas, projects, and programs.
  • Be active in local community groups.
  • Get involved with local schools and engage youth at that level.

Salome will hold the seat until the next youth gathering which is scheduled to take place again later in the fall if gatherings are permitted.

Reindeer

Land Use Survey

Qalipu First Nation is conducting a land use survey in partnership with Marathon Gold. The data from the survey will be used to prepare a report to help advise the Environmental Assessment process for the proposed goldmine near Valentine Lake. It will also help to identify any potential environmental impacts the project may have on the surrounding area and on the livelihood of the people who use the land. No data will be shared with Marathon Gold nor will it be published.

More information on the Valentine Lake project can be found on Marathon Gold’s website (https://marathon-gold.com/valentine-gold-project/).

To take the survey click here, or copy and paste the URL into your browser:
https://trailmarkapp.com/tm/?client=qalipu&survey=369cac9cd056885f6831053a821b2c43
The survey is estimated to take just under 1 hour to complete.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns about the survey please contact Ian Sullivan at isullivan@qalipu.ca

Darlene Sexton 1

Community Leaders: Darlene Sexton

Darlene Sexton is a long-standing leader within the Indigenous community of St. George’s and Bay St. George.  She has volunteered in many capacities over the years and has been an invaluable friend and mentor to young people who want to learn about their culture and traditions. 
 
Marlene Farrell, Chief of the St. George’s Indian Band is one of Darlene’s dearest friends.  She shared some of Darlene’s volunteer history and community involvement. 
 
“Darlene is the Secretary of the St. George’s Indian Band”, Marlene said, “she helps organize events that we put together including Indigenous Peoples Day activities and the Elders Christmas Dinner.  She leads our group in Medicine Wheel teachings too.” 
 
Marlene noted that more than that, Darlene is a trusted friend.  They have long been seen side by side through countless moments in their lives as teachers and community leaders. 
 
Recently, the Indian Cove Women’s Circle held an election and voted in an all new Executive, in part to give women who had been running the group for years a break, and to provide a chance for current leaders to pass on leadership roles and teachings.  
 
Lori Fillatre, the new Secretary for the Circle commented on Darlene’s leadership.  “She is a past president and secretary and has been involved with the group for years.  Coming into the Circle, into this new role, Darlene made all the difference in inviting us to her home to talk about our new roles and responsibilities.  We all felt so welcome and supported.” 
 
Lori also noted that Darlene has been mentoring her in learning the Moon Ceremony.  She said, “Darlene was welcoming when I expressed an interest in learning more about the Moon Ceremony teachings.  She responded with willingness and warmth.  She is always available to answer any questions I might have, and she continues to offer encouragement and support.” 
 
Darlene continues to be an active member of the Indian Cove Women’s Circle while also supporting the Indigenous Education Committee with Qalipu First Nation, volunteering to bring Mi’kmaq cultural education into the classroom with Qalipu’s Education Outreach Program, she’s an Elder with the Elders and Youth Breaking the Silence on Mental Health Project, and she’s a member of the Feather Carrier’s group as well. 
 
The Feather Carriers are a group of strong community people who have received mental health and cultural support training to promote life by encouraging others to be well and seek support in difficult times.  Darlene certainly carries herself in a way that lets others know she is here for them.  She has a big heart and a kind way with others. 
 
Darlene taught Mi’kmaw Studies at Appalachia High School in St. George’s, an addition to school programming that was only possible if someone with extensive knowledge was available to teach the content, such as Darlene who gladly did so.  In a school with such a high percentage of children with Indigenous roots, her years spent teaching this program were much appreciated by students, parents and faculty alike. 
 
Bayview Academy Principal Wally Childs recalls time spent in the school with Darlene.  He said, “She was the inspiration for our powwows that we held.  She was insistent on getting it up and running and poured a great deal of time and effort into organizing them.” 
 
Childs also noted that Darlene promoted the Mi’kmaq culture every chance she got and pushed for the inclusion of Mi’kmaq in the social studies curriculum. 
 
He said, “She was a leader who saw the benefits of connecting the school with the community. 
 
Darlene is married, has two daughters and three grandchildren.  Spending time with family is important to Darlene, as is being an active member of her community. 
 
Thank your Darlene for your leadership, keep up the great work!