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Message from the Chief – September 2, 2021

Kwe’

I look forward to meeting with our membership during our Annual General Assembly (AGA) scheduled for Sunday, September 26, 2021, to be held at the Greenwood Inn in Corner Brook, NL. This Assembly is an opportunity to provide to our members a review of the activities of the past year and present our year-end financials. The AGA also provides an opportunity for our Council to hear directly from our members. Again, our AGA is being live streamed to enable involvement by members who can’t attend the meeting in person. Separate AGA events are planned in Western and Central Regions.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank our Council members and staff for their support and commitment to Qalipu First Nation (QFN) and our members during the past year and particularly, for their efforts in dealing with the impacts Covid-19 on operations. During 2021, Covid-19 continued to interfere with carrying out normal activities, however, we managed to provide an acceptable service level to our people. We must continue to take the necessary precautions to protect our staff and our members. We will continue to take this Covid reality seriously by following prescribed measures. We must be vigilant given the new Covid variants that are appearing in our Province.

In addressing the impacts of Covid-19, QFN has been able to secure to date, Federal funding in excess of $4.3 Million to support our members. We will continue to lobby Government for additional funds to support current and future needs.

We now approach the end of Council’s three-year term and prepare for a Council election on October 22, 2021. For those Councillors leaving Council and not seeking re-election, I thank you for your service to our people during your term in office and wish you well in your future endeavours.

QFN continues to be an active member of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). The AFN election this summer established Roseanne Archibald as the new National Chief. I look forward to working with Chief Archibald and our ongoing positive relationship with the AFN both as an AFN member Chief and as the Newfoundland representative on the AFN Chief’s Committee on Emergency Management.

We continue to build on our relationship with the Atlantic Policy Congress Chiefs Secretariat and the Mi’kmaq Grand Council. In the Fall of 2020, Qalipu obtained a seat at the Atlantic Health Partnership for the first time. These are significant milestones in advancing our relationship with other First Nations and associated organizations.

Despite the impediments created by Covid-19, Qalipu has accomplished several new initiatives during the past year. These include the introduction of a Mi’kmaw Language program, construction and official opening of Mikwite’tm Garden to honor Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and their families, the permanent flying of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council Flag at City Hall and Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook, collaboration with AFN Regional Chief PJ Prosper and Chief Mi’sel Joe of Miawpukek First Nation to create a representative office of the AFN in Newfoundland and support for repatriating Beothuk remains to Newfoundland from the Museum of Scotland. Also, during the past year, Qalipu Council approved a 10-Year Strategic Plan based on input from our membership.

Further to new initiatives, as promised by Qalipu Council in 2018, Qalipu submitted an application to the Federal Fisheries Minister for fishing access for Qalipu members. This application is awaiting approval by the Minister. Additionally, QFN Housing Committee has been working diligently to develop a housing program which can benefit Qalipu Members.

In addition to these initiatives, ongoing Qalipu programs provide $12 million annually for needed health benefits to members and a further $8 million annually in education support for those pursuing post-secondary education and other types of training.

Enrolment in Qalipu continues to be an area of concern for Council. We’ve witnessed too many Founding members and their families impacted negatively with loss of status and former FNI members not having gained the recognition they deserve.

Our conversations with the Government of Canada have led to a potential Agreement which will be put forward and ratified by our membership, pertaining to military personnel, RCMP and veterans of both gaining Founding Membership. We continue to press Government to resume exploratory discussions related to former FNI members as identified in the November 2018 announcement by the Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations.

The urban reserve file is still active and an alternative to establishing an arrangement under the Indian Act is being pursued.

On September 22, 2021, we will celebrate our 10th Anniversary as a First Nation. We’ve accomplished much during our short journey. I thank those who came before us and laid the groundwork and persevered to create the foundation of what QFN is today. We can look forward with optimism about our future.

The next three-year term for Council is expected to see the successful conclusion of outstanding initiatives and will be a period of solid growth. I encourage all of us to work in peace and harmony as we move Qalipu forward together on behalf of our Nation.

 

Wela’lioq

Chief Brendan Mitchell

Chief Brendan Mitchell_edited

Message from the Chief – May 6, 2021

On behalf of the Council and staff at Qalipu First Nation I wish to congratulate the group of youth who were recently elected to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Youth Council

Co-Chairs Sabrina Muise and Salome Barker will bring the youth voice to our Council table, and we look forward to supporting the initiatives and efforts they will bring forward on behalf of our Youth.

Qalipu First Nation recognizes the significance and contribution that the youth of our communities can make, and our Council is here to provide support and assistance any way that we can.

We wish to thank all those elected, as those who put their names forward for positions and participated in the youth election process.

We look forward to the continued active involvement of our Youth through this newly formed Council.

Chief Brendan Mitchell

In Memory of Bernard White

Message from the Chief – Passing of Ward Councilor Bern White

On behalf of Council and Staff of Qalipu First Nation, I am extremely saddened to announce that Bern White, Benoit’s Cove Ward Councilor, passed away this morning leaving behind a loving family, many friends and a community that has long known Bern for his leadership and community values.

Bern was an active Councilor, having served three terms as Ward Councilor for Qalipu First Nation. In addition to his work with the Band, Bern was also a Municipal Councilor for the Town of Humber Arm South.

Bern actively participated in all Council meetings and was particularly active in the fisheries file. Bern was steadfast in his support of our members and the applicants throughout the enrolment process. A man of principle, Bern stood up for the rights of those fighting for recognition and was helpful to countless applicants in understanding their Indigenous ancestry and navigating the membership application process. Bern will always be remembered as a man of the people and a voice for the membership of Qalipu. He will sadly be missed by Qalipu Council and our staff.

I would like to extend my condolences to Bern’s wife Leona, his son, Ed, daughters Karen, Christina, Pam, and Diane, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. I ask that you pray with me for strength and comfort for Leona and her family as they say goodbye and fondly remember a loving husband, doting father and grandfather as well as a kind and generous person.

–Chief Brendan Mitchell

Message from the Chief

Chief’s Message Regarding Enrolment

Chief's Message Regarding Enrolment from Qalipu First Nation.

Some Mi’kmaq veterans lost their Indian Status cards during the Qalipu enrolment process, often due to the inability to show community connection because they were stationed away from home. Qalipu has been working with the federal government to resolve this issue and get those veterans back their status, but it has not been easy or fast! While “social media warriors” cause harm with misinformation and disrespect, Chief Mitchell weighs in with some answers.

Remembrance Day Message from the Chief

Message From The Chief – November 10, 2020

Tomorrow, November 11, is Remembrance Day across Canada and in our Communities.

It’s the day we acknowledge and show gratitude for the bravery and sacrifice of those who served their country and those who continue to serve our country and our communities today.

Many made the ultimate sacrifice in World Wars and other conflicts. Their sacrifice has allowed us to experience the safety and freedoms we have today.

This Remembrance Day will be different from that of previous years due to the absence or scaling down of Remembrance Day services caused by our dealing with the reality of COVID-19.

Let us however take time tomorrow to reflect and remember in our own way the contributions made by Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Veterans and those currently in service. Take time to observe your own moment of silence in their honour. We pray to the Creator to protect them.

Act of Remembrance

They shall grow not old

As we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them,

Nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the Sun

And in the morning

We shall remember them.

Left to right: Chief Brendan Mitchell, Lindsay Batt, Salome Barker, Alex Antle at the inaugural Mawita'jik Maljewe'jk Youth Gathering
Left to right: Chief Brendan Mitchell, Lindsay Batt, Salome Barker, Alex Antle at the inaugural Mawita'jik Maljewe'jk Youth Gathering

Message From The Chief – September 21, 2020

Kwe’

On behalf of Qalipu Council, our Executive Committee, and staff, I welcome you to our Annual General Assembly (AGA) 2020. Our approach to conducting our AGA this year differs from past years in that a virtual meeting, made available through live streaming, will allow a greater number of our members to view and participate in the AGA.

In recent months, there have been many precautions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.  This situation has changed the way we interact, communicate, work, and socialize.  Qalipu First Nation continues to deliver beneficial programs and services to its membership.  While it’s not business as usual, we have been able to maintain a satisfactory level of service. I wish to take this opportunity to thank our Council and staff for their dedication and commitment in support of our members during this time. Going forward in dealing with COVID-19, we will continue to take necessary precautions to protect our staff and members. I encourage everyone to take this situation very seriously whether at home or at work by following prescribed measures to protect you and your family.

Qalipu First Nation was able to secure funding for our membership to offset some of the negative impacts of COVID-19. Funding program opportunities to date total $2,228,272 consisting of $52,975 COVID-19   Support Fund, $678,311 from a Community Emergency Response Fund for Emergency and Off Reserve and $1,496,987 from Canada’s Economic Response Plan for Post Secondary Student Support. In addition to Government of Canada’s support, Qalipu recognized the need to contribute an additional $266,745 to provide further support.

We are now coming to the end of year two of the three-year term of this Council. I wish to thank Councill members for their continued support and collaboration in advancing Qalipu on behalf of our members. Progress and successes have been achieved in many areas during the past year. A major accomplishment has been certification with the First Nations Financial Management Board. This certification involved a significant effort by staff and Council to enable Qalipu to become the fourth First Nation Band in Atlantic Canada to achieve this distinction. Certification with the First Nations Financial Management Board will ensure that Qalipu has the financial independence needed to grow as a Nation.

First Nations Financial Management Board certification was an integral step in the path towards ten- year grant funding which was introduced in 2019. The funding agreement marks a significant departure from our previous annual allocation of funds. The new ten-year funding arrangement allows Qalipu to tailor its own programs, carry money forward from year to year and focus on a vision for the future that is driven by people and communities. In conjunction with the ten-year grant funding arrangement, Qalipu is developing a Comprehensive Community Plan.

Qalipu continues to be an active member of the Assembly of First Nations and the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat. Membership in these organizations was achieved July 2018 and April 2019 respectively. During November 2019, senior representatives of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council visited Qalipu First Nation for the first time. This visit was a significant opportunity to establish a positive relationship with the Mi’kmaq Grand Council and Mi’kmaq of Atlantic Canada. Grand Council representatives included Grand Chief Norman Sylliboy, Grand Keptin Antle Denny, Keptin Stephen Augustine and Keptin Chief Mi’sel Joe.

Qalipu First Nation, in conjunction with its consultant, has been engaged in developing an updated Strategic Plan. Discussions were conducted with Council, staff, and members through community engagement sessions. This plan, which has a ten-year outlook, will be finalized in the third quarter of this year. I thank everyone who participated in this important initiative.

This past summer saw the cancellation of many significant cultural events here in Newfoundland, in Atlantic Canada and throughout Canada. Our staff at Qalipu compensated for the loss of in-person gatherings by using a virtual approach made possible through technology to share cultural initiatives.  Staff, community members and community organizations collaborated to share cultural information and teachings to our broader membership.

Enrolment in Qalipu First Nation continues to be an item of concern for Council. On November 15, 2018, the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians agreed to enter into exploratory discussions to address outstanding concerns regarding members of the Canadian Armed Forces, veterans, RCMP and FNI members or members of other organizations named in the 2008 Agreement in Principle and who were denied membership in Qalipu. Despite discussions beginning in earnest during December 2018, we are yet to finalize agreements to allow these groups membership in Qalipu. The veterans file has advanced positively, and discussions have been favourable as we now near finalization of an Agreement. Regarding those   affiliated with the FNI, discussions are ongoing with Canada and an Agreement will be forthcoming. Eventually, Qalipu members will become engaged in a ratification process to enable executing any new Agreements with the Government of Canada regarding enrolment.

Other initiatives for which discussions are ongoing include the establishment of an urban reserve and development of a Mi’kmaq language program at Qalipu.

In the coming year, we expect to see significant initiatives come to fruition. Qalipu members will experience a high level of community engagement by our Council as we endeavor to create a better tomorrow for our people and our Nation. Let’s commit to working together in peace, harmony and unity as we move forward.

Wela’lin

 

Chief Brendan Mitchell

Messagefrthechief

Message From the Chief – May 15 2020

Kwe’

I want to make you all aware that Qalipu First Nation has received financial support through the COVID-19 support fund for Indigenous Communities and to ask for your feedback.

Please join our Facebook Watch Party this coming Thursday, May 21st., at 7:30 PM when I’ll chat with Band Manager Keith Goulding. Together, we’ll explain the fund and ask our members for input on how we allocate this support to our communities in the best way possible.

You can participate in a live discussion at that time, and we encourage you to send your feedback to communications@qalipu.ca

I pray that you all are doing well and staying safe.

Wela’lin

Chief Brendan Mitchell

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Message From the Chief – April 13 2020

On behalf of everyone at Qalipu, I extend our sincere condolences to Ward Councilor Odelle Pike on the passing of her brother Pat Muise who left us for the spirit world yesterday. Over the past few years, I’ve been around Pat on many occasions and always appreciated his honesty and a great sense of humour.

He will be missed by all of us.

I realize that during this time of COVID- 19 there won’t be an opportunity for a funeral service. This is another sad impact of this pandemic which is affecting all families who deal with the loss of a loved one during these trying times.

Our prayers are with you and your family at this time.

Let us take a moment to look back on this story from Qalipu’s newsletter of April 2016 in which Pat shares some of his story, and we see his good heart shining through.

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Wela’lin,
Chief Brendan Mitchell