July 5, 2021 — Gatineau, Quebec — Indigenous Services Canada
The creation of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation is an important step forward for the Mi’kmaq people in Newfoundland.
The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, and Brendan Mitchell, Chief of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, have announced that they are ready to advance a new agreement that will allow for the reconsideration of applications for active service members of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP and veterans of these forces who were denied founding membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.
Through the new agreement, those with applications already on file with proof of service prior to September 22, 2011 (the date the band was formed), will meet the group acceptance criterion on an honorary basis. They will still be required to meet the remaining assessment criteria—as set out in the original agreement—of ancestry and self-identification to gain founding membership. Individuals who may be affected by this new agreement will receive information on how to have their application reconsidered.
Although a decision has been reached to reconsider active service members and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP, the Government of Canada has elected to pause discussions regarding members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and their affiliates, due to active litigation on enrolment.
The Government of Canada, the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation remain committed to working on the nation-to-nation relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.
“Indigenous Services Canada recognizes and deeply values the meaningful contributions of Indigenous Veterans to the development of Canada and honours the sacrifices they have made in the defence of freedom and the pursuit of world peace. I am pleased to announce that we are ready to move forward with a new agreement for those individuals who were denied founding membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.”
The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services Canada
“I am pleased that the Government of Canada is now moving forward to reassess military personnel, RCMP and veterans of these groups for Founding Membership in Qalipu First Nation. Our protectors and veterans deserve this consideration. This announcement is a positive outcome from exploratory discussions between the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and the Government of Canada, which began in December 2018.”
President of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and Chief of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation
“Progress leading to a new agreement for the reconsideration of founding membership for veterans and active service members in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation is the positive result of discussions dating back to 2018. I am pleased that all parties have been able to reach a draft agreement to proceed in good faith. This is an important step forward for those who did not reside in one of the Mi’kmaq communities because they were bravely serving Canada.”
Member of Parliament, Long Range Mountain
- The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, a landless band, was officially formed by Recognition Order on September 22, 2011.
- The Enrolment Committee (comprised of equal representation from Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians) continued to review applications consistent with the terms of the 2008 agreement. By the application submission deadline of November 30, 2012, 101,000 applications were received.
- All applicants were required to meet four criteria to become founding members: self-identification, group acceptance, being of Canadian Indian ancestry and connection to a pre-Confederation Mi’kmaq community on the island of Newfoundland.
- An Implementation Committee comprised of officials from Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians was formed to deal with matters relating to the implementation of the negotiated agreement(s).
- In 2013, a Supplemental Agreement was signed by the parties to move forward with the assessment of the overwhelming number of applications and to address issues that arose during the implementation of the 2008 agreement.
- In 2018, an updated Founding Members list was approved by the Governor in Council following the reassessment of applications, including those that had been assessed previously.
- In April 2021, a subsequent update to the Founding Members list was approved by the Governor in Council, adding 302 individuals as a result of the implementation of a federal court decision, administrative reviews and the settlement of litigation.
- Individuals who are recognized as Founding Members are subsequently registered as Status Indians under the Indian Act, thus becoming eligible to receive benefits such as those from the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Indigenous Services
Indigenous Services Canada
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