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40+ Businesses to Receive Wage Subsidies to Hire Indigenous Students This Summer

The Youth Summer Employment Program provides wage subsidies to businesses across the province so that they can hire Indigenous students.  This program has been running since the Band’s formation in 2011 and has infused more than 1.5 million dollars into small businesses and the provincial economy.

Each year, a call-out is made inviting businesses to apply for the program.   While we would love to be able to accommodate all those who apply, we are limited by funding availability.  This year, we are pleased to announce wage subsidies for 41 businesses.

Benoit First Nation
Benoit’s Cove Indian Band
Brook Construction
Clarenville Wave Runners Swim Team
DMLT Holdings Ltd.
Eatery on Main
Environment Resources Management Association
Flat Bay Band
G & T Enterprises
Gander Boys and Girls Club
Grenfell Campus Extended Learning
Gros Morne Adventures
Kikmanaq Indigenous Cultural Revival Association
Lakeside Cabins
Little Sky Dreamers
Lourdes Regional Recreation Association
Nomad Stages
Our Lady of Mercy Heritage Complex and Museum
Pasadena Minor Baseball
PBO Industrial Disposal
Pirates Haven
Port au Port Mi’kmaq Band
ProCurve Inc.
R & L Electrical
Recreation of Mainland
Red Indian Adventures
Renie’s Convenience
Saunders General Store
Sentrex Pharmacy
Sheaves Cove Recreation Committee
Shelby’s Machine Shop
St. George’s Indian Band
Sweet Berry Farms
Town of Appleton
Town of Badger
Town of Glenwood/Recreation
Town of Irishtown-Summerside
Town of McIvers
Upper Humber Settlement
West Coast Wedding & Party Rentals
White’s One Stop

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Land Use Survey

QFN is conducting another land use survey in partnership with GH2 Energy. Focused primarily on the west coast region, the aim is to collect data surrounding traditional land and resource use to help advise the potential impacts of the GH2 wind energy project.

For more information on GH2’s project, please visit https://worldenergygh2.com

Complete the survey below to be entered to win a set of camping and fishing equipment!

The Prize pack (valued at $500) includes:

  • 1x Woods 8-man tent
  • 1x Woods Queen-size air mattress with 2-in-1 pump
  • 2x Shakespeare fishing rods with tackle boxes

To take the survey, copy and paste this url into your browser: https://trailmarkapp.com/tm/?client=qalipu&survey=1056d36d984bb8a5a9abfff31fa03194&fbclid=IwAR1L4gz3gH9BfjhuCbovceB_ULSQ17Yq8oQ1uLOqUjZaPQru1ScjQU4i9Cg

The survey is estimated to take 15-30 minutes to complete.

**Note: while most individuals were successful in completing our last survey, some encountered errors. If any issues arise, please contact Ian Sullivan at isullivan@qalipu.ca any time or at 709-634-0998 Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm.**

The word NEWS written in vintage wooden letterpress type in a wooden type drawer.

Youth Land-Based Camp

Youth Land-based

This land-based camp will take place April 28-30 at Max Simms Camp.

Youth will have the opportunity to learn on-the-land training and survival skills, explore Mi’kmaw culture through ceremonies and teachings from local knowledge sharers, and enjoy games, crafts and outdoor activities.

Registration for youth aged 12-16 is now open and can be accessed through this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RW6ZPR6

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Stars in the Making!

Band Members Beau and Lennox Callahan, Small Town Girls with Big Dreams

Beau Callahan, age 12
Beau Callahan, age 12
Lennox Callahan, age 10
Lennox Callahan, age 10

Beau and Lennox Callahan, aged 12 and 10, are small town girls from the west coast of Newfoundland who are making a big impact in figure skating on the provincial and national stage!

The sisters each started skating when they were just two years old at their hometown skating program at the Siki Bennett Memorial Stadium in St. George’s.  Getting on the ice at such an early age is something their parents, Shantelle Lasaga of Flat Bay, and DJ Callahan of St. George’s, believe helped them recognize their talent early on and to begin building their athletic skills.

Shantelle said, “The skating program was very well organized, it allowed the girls to get on the ice at such a young age.  Honestly, we could see immediately that they both had something special.  They seemed like they were born to skate.”

The girls also joined the Canskate program in Stephenville once they were old enough, and even played hockey for a while.  The eldest, Beau, caught the eye of Josée Picard at a skating seminar in Corner Brook.  Picard noted that Beau was remarkable for such a young age and encouraged Shantelle and DJ to put both girls into figure skating.

Beau and Lennox on the outdoor rink their dad made for them every winter at their home in St. George's
Beau and Lennox on the outdoor rink their dad made for them every winter at their home in St. George’s

The girls then joined the Silver Blades skating club in Corner Brook to focus on figure skating.  They spent six years there, training and competing.

“They did amazingly well” reported Dad DJ, “during their last season both of them did all five competitions in the province and won them all.  We knew it was time to take them to the next level.”

Over the years, DJ and Shantelle had invested in additional training in Quebec and knew that the people and coaching there were great.  In June 2020, just after the pandemic hit, the family made the difficult decision to move to Quebec where Beau and Lennox could be enrolled in Ecole Patinage Julie Marcotte, an elite figure skating school in Sainte Julie, Quebec.

A few weeks ago, Beau competed in the 2023 Canada Winter games in singles and earned a personal best score and 5th place overall.  At 12 years old, competing against athletes as old as 16, there’s nowhere to go but up and both girls are dreaming big.

“Both girls share the goal of being at the top in Nationals some day, to compete in the worlds and possibly even the Olympics.” Reports Shantelle.

Shantelle added, “Figure skating is one of the toughest sports in the world and this has been an amazing journey for our family with many highs and lows.  They love to skate, and that love drives them to where they are today.  They work so hard.  As parents, we could not be prouder.”

We’re all proud of you Beau and Lennox, keep up the great work and good luck on your incredible journey.

Now representing Quebec, the girls have both won or earned medals in competitions all over that province. Lennox recently placed 5th at the 2023 Quebec Provincial Championship in the Juvenile Under 14 competition. A fantastic achievement for someone just ten years old.
Now representing Quebec, the girls have both won or earned medals in competitions all over that province. Lennox recently placed 5th at the 2023 Quebec Provincial Championship in the Juvenile Under 14 competition. A fantastic achievement for someone just ten years old.
Beau took on pairs skating with a partner in 2021 and went on to win gold at the 2021 Quebec provincial championship, gold at the 2022 Quebec Sectional Championship, silver at the 2021 and 2022 Skate Canada Challenge, silver at the Skate Canada Nationals
Beau took on pairs skating with a partner in 2021 and went on to win gold at the 2021 Quebec provincial championship, gold at the 2022 Quebec Sectional Championship, silver at the 2021 and 2022 Skate Canada Challenge, silver at the Skate Canada Nationals

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Message from the Chief – March 31, 2023

Kwe’

Spring is in the air! At last, the piles of snow are dwindling down and we can once again see the earth, ready to bring forth new life.  It is a special time of year when we may feel more able to go outside, begin tending to yard work and gardens, and enjoy longer days to the tune of birds singing.  How lucky we are just to be alive.

Today, March 31, we celebrate National Indigenous Languages Day, a day to recognize and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Indigenous languages.

Kiskuk Muwiwatmu’k Tli’sutiminu – Today we Honour our Language!

Language is more than just words.  Language-what we say and how we say it- carries culture and history, it tells the story of our ancestors and how they interacted with the world.  Language connects generations and is at the heart of who we are.

Although Mi’kmaw language in Newfoundland was slowly replaced with French and English as our ancestors adapted to settler life, there are remnants spoken among our grandparents and there is a renewed energy to reclaim language among our people today.

Hundreds of students have taken up the language journey with Qalipu’s language classes initiative L’nui-kina’masulti’kw (we are learning to speak Mi’kmaw).  Classes are ongoing and I’m so proud of the dedication of our students.  Keep up the great work!

For those who may be curious about learning Mi’kmaw, please keep an eye out for additional upcoming language classes.

Wela’lin,

Chief Brendan

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Strategic Plan to be Developed for the Health and Wellness Department

The Health and Wellness Department at Qalipu First Nation has taken the first step in what will be a months-long project to develop a Strategic Plan to guide the future of health services with the Band.  A launch meeting with the Bands planning group along with the Business Development Organization (BDO), the successful proponent in a Request for Proposals for the Strategy that was issued last fall, took place late last week.

Mitch Blanchard, Director of the Health and Wellness Department, is leading the project and reports that he is looking forward to planning for the future and enhanced strategic direction for his growing group of employees.

“The intention of the Strategic Plan is to develop a vision for the future of health services, to better understand needs, service gaps, and priorities for health and wellness among our community members.  With the strategy in hand, we have a road map for the future that guides our work.  I’m looking forward to the process, and the outcomes of the strategic planning exercise.

Mitch noted that BDO will be reaching out to Band members and other stakeholders to inform the plan, to help determine priorities, programs and initiatives that are reflective of community need.

“We are hoping for a high level of engagement with the planning process and encourage Band members in particular to participate in survey’s and engagement sessions when the time comes.”

Brian Critch, Manager with BDO’s Advisory team, is leading the project delivery team and created the engagement strategy for the project.

“Our team is thrilled to be working with the Qalipu First Nation at this crucial juncture for the Health and Wellness Department. This initiative is especially timely with healthcare being the focus of discussions at all levels of government. We will be holding several town hall sessions throughout the membership regions to hear from members directly through the Spring, and all members will have several opportunities to provide their input either in person or online.”

The development of this strategy is part of the Band’s overall Strategic Plan, and will align with priorities identified in the Comprehensive Community Plan.

Group Shot of the kids before heading out to learn on the land survival skills.

Land-Based Camp Provides Learning Opportunities in the Great Outdoors

The fire picture was taken from inside the emergency shelter that the youth, along with Brent Watkins (DFO), helped craft.
The fire picture was taken from inside the emergency shelter that the youth, along with Brent Watkins (DFO), helped craft.

Earlier this month ten youths from across Qalipu territory gathered at Max Simms Camp along with Elders and knowledge sharers for three days of learning about life on the land.

The weekend’s activities included learning about trapping, snowshoeing, survival training, storytelling and even a waltes tournament.  Terri Humphries, Manager of Culture and Community Outreach, reported that the youth were attentive and ready to learn.

“The wifi going down was the best thing that could have happened.  Suddenly none of us were checking our phones.  We were together and engaged, seeing a glimpse of life on the land as our ancestors would have known.”

Terri was thankful for the community leaders who came forward to share their knowledge and skills.

Jeff Butler letting the kids take a whiff of some oils that he uses in his traps to lure animals in. He wouldn’t bring them inside as he said, “they may stink out the camp.”
Jeff Butler letting the kids take a whiff of some oils that he uses in his traps to lure animals in. He wouldn’t bring them inside as he said, “they may stink out the camp.”

“We had Jeff Butler and Brent Watkins who work for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, but came along to share their personal experience and knowledge in trapping and on the land survival. As well as Windell Watkins and Frank Skeard who demonstrated to the youth life saving skills and the uses for items growing in nature. Councillor Charlene Combdon came to say hello and deliver a treat to the youth who were gathered in her Ward.  She ended up staying on into the evening! It was the kind of feeling you didn’t want to leave.”

Terri shared that Elder Muchie Bennett was also on hand for the event and spent a lot of time storytelling during the evening to the attentive youth. We were also delighted when youth wanted to drum and sing a song. One youth even showed us some Fancy Shawl dance moves along with the music.

“This is the first land camp since covid and considering the positive impact this gathering had on both youth and adult alike, we will be doing it again in the future.”

Backpacks from the department were filled with gear that would prepare the kids if they got lost in the woods. Items such as matches and fire starter, fishing line, tarp, compass, extra mittens, first aid kits.
Backpacks from the department were filled with gear that would prepare the kids if they got lost in the woods. Items such as matches and fire starter, fishing line, tarp, compass, extra mittens, first aid kits.
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Clarification Regarding Rebrand of the Cultural Foundation

Qalipu’s Cultural Foundation was launched in February 2014 to support Band members in connecting with and discovering their Mi’kmaw culture. To ensure success, the Band assigned staff to support the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, committed funds and other resources, and appointed a member of the Council to serve on the Board of Directors. Partnership and collaboration were essential for the operation of this arms-length Cultural Foundation.

In 2021, after years of working together on fundraising, hosting events, and supporting Mi’kmaw culture together, the Foundation dismissed Qalipu staff from their team. Although actively recruiting individuals to fill vacancies on their board, they failed to accept Qalipu Council’s proposed representative to their Board table. Council became further concerned when the Cultural Foundation changed their bylaws on three occasions to remove any governance or oversight by Qalipu First Nation related to the operation of the Cultural Foundation.

It became clear that the Foundation intended to move forward without the Qalipu Band when they sent a letter to Chief and Council outlining their desire to separate from the First Nation, and for the freedom to move forward with a pan-Indigenous approach not tied solely to supporting Band members.

The Chairperson of the Foundation wrote:

“As a result, we have decided to proceed with the original intent to follow through with QCF as the proponent organization and build our proposal in pursuit of the cross-cultural project. We will seek partnerships with QFN, and other potential funding sources including other Indigenous groups in the province.

 

We respect and are extremely thankful for all of the support that has been given to us from QFN over the past several years. However, I have been given clear direction that the current board wishes to remain a separate entity, and that in doing so, we need to take the actions stated above in order to grow a level whereby we can achieve the independence that QCF was intended for.”

Qalipu First Nation was saddened to see this once positive relationship change significantly but has supported the Cultural Foundation in moving forward in the direction it envisioned. However, in consideration of the fact that using the name “Qalipu” implied some affiliation or relationship, confusing Band members, funders, government, and other stakeholders, it became necessary that the Band direct the Cultural Foundation to cease using “Qalipu” in its name.

To that end, a motion from Qalipu First Nation Council was passed, and a letter sent directing the Foundation to remove the “Qalipu” from its name. The Foundation announced its rebrand on March 10th, 2023. It will now be known as the Mi’kmaq Cultural Foundation.

During this transition time, we would like Qalipu First Nation members to know that we maintain our commitment to the preservation and promotion of our Mi’kmaq history, language, culture, and heritage. We will continue to host cultural workshops, and find ways to move forward in support of groups and organizations who also share this vision.

Qalipu First Nation wishes the Mi’kmaq Cultural Foundation well with their endeavours and remain open to opportunities for collaboration.

TUS prize pack 2023
Complete the survey to be entered to win a set of camping and fishing equipment! The Prize pack (valued at $500) includes: 1x Woods 8-man tent, 1x Woods Queen-size air mattress with 2-in-1 pump, 2x Shakespeare fishing rods with tackle boxes

Traditional Knowledge Study – big prize pack to be won by someone who completes the survey!

Qalipu First Nation is conducting a Traditional Knowledge study. Focused primarily on Newfoundland’s coastal and marine areas, we want to understand how Qalipu First Nation members use the local waters and abundant resources. This data will be used internally at Qalipu Environment and Natural Resources to help make informed decisions for Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in our local waters. Individuals’ private and sensitive information will not be published or shared without consent.

To take the survey click here or copy and paste the URL into your browser: https://trailmarkapp.com/tm/?client=qalipu&survey=2f753bbfbc4fc4306b38ff82a7384cae

The survey is estimated to take 15-30 minutes to complete.

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Qalipu First Nation Announces Enhancement to Member Services, Jordan’s Principle Service Coordinator Ann Strowbridge

Qalipu is pleased to announce the addition of a new team member, Ann Strowbridge, who will be working to support members in navigating and accessing resources available through Jordan’s Principle.

Jordan’s Principle is made up of a variety of services, products and supports for First Nations children in Canada.  Funding can help with a range of health, social and educational needs.   For example, speech therapy, educational supports, medical equipment and mental health services.

As the Jordan’s Principle Service Coordinator, Ann can help with anything from explaining what kind of services are covered for individuals and families, exploring options based on needs and completing application forms.  Please feel free to reach out to Ann to discuss your access to Jordan’s Principle.

Contact:

Ann Strowbridge
265 Airport Bldvd., Gander, NL, A1V 1Y9
Tel. 709-651-6952
email: astrowbridge@qalipu.ca