QFN Press Release

Canada Makes Unilateral Decision to Halt Exploratory Discussions

On March 29, 2021, after 27 months of discussions, Canada made the unilateral decision to pause further discussions with Qalipu First Nation and abandon joint efforts to address Band membership for former members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) and its affiliates.

In a letter to Band Chief Brendan Mitchell, the Director General of the Individual Affairs Branch notes that, “After much consideration, Canada has decided to pause further discussion of reconsideration options for Founding Membership for individuals who held a membership in the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and their affiliates due to the active litigation on the validity of the 2013 Supplemental Agreement.”

The litigation referred to in the letter dated March 29 was active in November 2018 when exploratory discussions were initiated by Minister Carolyn Bennett and in September 2019 when we received a letter from then MInister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan reaffirming Canada’s commitment to ongoing exploratory discussions. In this context, the explanation provided by the Director General to pause discussions does not make sense.

The discussions, which began in December 2018, focused on addressing outstanding concerns regarding members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Veterans, RCMP and FNI members or members of other Mi’kmaq organizations who were named in the 2008 Agreement and denied Founding Membership.

“These were obvious issues that we could easily agree needed to be remedied” noted Band Chief Brendan Mitchell.  “People who were stationed away from home in service of their country had a hard time demonstrating the community connection for the Group Acceptance criterion.   We also had a glaring issue around members of the FNI.  These were the very people for whom the First Nation was created, the people who voted to ratify the Agreement with Canada that created the Qalipu First Nation.”

Chief Mitchell noted that the First Nation entered discussions in good faith, in the true spirit of Reconciliation, trusting the Government of Canada to follow through with its stated intention from 2018.  The promise was reaffirmed a year later in a letter from Minister Seamus O’Regan, who was then the Minister of Indigenous Services.  This unilateral decision by Canada to pause the discussion is contrary to the concept of our nation-to-nation relationship, that is based on cooperation and partnership which has been asserted by Canada since the outset of this process.

In its letter of response, the Qalipu First Nation strongly urges the Government of Canada to reconsider its decision in view of its inconsistency with past commitments Canada has given to continue discussions.

Band members and FNI and affiliated Mi’kmaq who were denied status, are encouraged to add their voice to the conversation by writing to their local Member of Parliament.

Template letter regarding QFN and Canada discussions re FNI members

 

Contact Information for Newfoundland and Labrador MP’s and Minister of Indigenous Services

MP Gudie Hutchings (Long Range Mountains) gudie.hutchings@parl.gc.ca
MP Scott Simms (Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame) scott.simms@parl.gc.ca
MP Churence Rogers (Bonavista—Burin—Trinity) churence.rogers@parl.gc.ca
MP Yvonne Jones (Labrador) yvonne.jones@parl.gc.ca
MP Seamus O’Regan (St. John’s South—Mount Pearl) seamus.oregan@parl.gc.ca
MP Ken McDonald (Avalon) ken.mcdonald@parl.gc.ca
MP Marc Miller (Minister of Indigenous Services) marc.miller@parl.gc.ca

 

QFN Press Release

Update Regarding COVID-19 Support Benefits for Seniors and Essential Workers, Now Available to All Eligible Members Regardless of Location

On February 17, the Band announced funding of $275,000 to support seniors aged 60+ and essential workers who incurred childcare costs during the pandemic. The benefits, payable at $50 monthly to seniors to subsidize the cost of travel for essential supplies, and up to $200 monthly per child for essential workers with childcare costs, were made possible through a federal fund whose criterion held that the Band member had to be living in Newfoundland to avail of the funding.

Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce that following discussions with government, the criterion have been modified to make these benefits available to all eligible members, regardless of their location.

Mitch Blanchard is the Manager of Qalipu Health and heads up this benefit program. He noted that accessibility of the benefit for all eligible members was something he was pleased to be able to offer through working with partners.

“We knew there would be challenges with availability and that there were members living outside the region who needed this benefit just as much as those living on the island. We approached Indigenous Services Canada regarding our concerns around accessibility for all members and we are pleased to say our concerns were heard. The program has been changed to allow all eligible Qalipu Band members to apply, regardless of where they live.”

Band members living outside Newfoundland whose applications were previously rejected due to location will now be reassessed and will not have to apply again.

All eligible Band members are invited to apply for the Covid-19 support benefits which can be found here https://qalipu.ca/covid-19-support-programs

Benefit Press Release

Qalipu First Nation Launches New COVID-19 Support Benefits for Seniors and Essential Workers

Seniors aged 60 + and essential workers who incurred childcare costs during the pandemic will be the recipients of a new benefit fund valued at $275,000 that will be administered by the Band effective today until all available funds have been fully allocated.

The Vulnerable Population Essential Travel benefit is geared toward seniors aged 60 +.  These Band members are eligible to apply for a monthly subsidy valued at $50 (per household) to support travel for purchase of groceries and other essential items during the pandemic.  Alternatively, seniors who require a taxi to travel may request travel arrangements be pre-paid in lieu of the $50 benefit.

The Essential Worker Childcare benefit is for Band members who were essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and incurred childcare costs.  These individuals are eligible to apply for up to $200 in monthly benefits per child.  This benefit can be paid retroactively starting in April 2020, will require a letter from the members’ employer verifying their status as an essential worker, along with childcare receipts.

Band Chief Brendan Mitchell noted, “In light of recent developments around the COVID-19 pandemic in our province, it is clear that our communities continue to need our support in whatever way we are able to give it.  I’m happy to be able to assist seniors and essential workers at this time and the Band will continue to advocate for programs and benefits for Band members impacted by this difficult situation.”

Health Manager Mitch Blanchard heads up the new program and has several staff in place to help make administration of these benefits as smooth as possible.

“We know that there are a lot of members in our Band who will be eligible for these benefits which will likely mean a high volume of applications.  Our staff are ready to help as many people as we can with the available funds.”

To access the online application form, please click the link below.  For more information, please email covidsupport@qalipu.ca

Access information and online application:

https://qalipu.ca/covid-19-support-programs/

Language Revival v3

Qalipu Launches Mi’kmaw Language Revival Project

Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce the launch of a new project focused on the revival of the Mi’kmaw language among our membership.  The project, set to begin in February, will take place via virtual workshops, will be available to beginner, novice and intermediate levels and will aim to create opportunities for learners to speak with fluent speakers of the language.

Band Manager Keith Goulding noted, “This is an exciting project for the Band and a positive step forward in reviving our heritage. This language initiative gives us an opportunity to deepen our connection to culture and provide our members with meaningful learning opportunities.”

The language project will be coordinated by newly hired Project Coordinator Dean Simon who has just returned from a two-year Mi’kmaw immersion program in Eskasoni.

“The Mentor-Apprentice Mi’kmaw Program with Mi’kmaw Kinamatnewey has provided me with a solid understanding and comfort with the language and I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned.  Right now, to get an understanding of where people are with their level of learning, I am asking everyone who is interested to complete the pre-registration”, Simon said.

The pre-registration can be completed here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YNGJLVX

For more information, please contact Dean at dsimon@qalipu.ca or call 643-4593

QFN Press Release

Qalipu First Nation Joins Health Partnership

Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce it has been welcomed into the Atlantic First Nations Health Partnership (Health Partnership). With Qalipu First Nation joining, the Health Partnership now works on behalf of 34 Atlantic First Nations and is focused on improving the health and well-being of its members through direct engagement in the health programs and services provided by First Nations and Inuit Health Branch/Indigenous Services Canada (FNIHB/ISC). The Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat (APC) is the Health Partnership Secretariat.

Over the past year, Qalipu First Nation was invited to attend a series of meetings as an active observer to better understand and become a partner of the Health Partnership. On November 19, Qalipu First Nation was welcomed into the Health Partnership following a vote by the 11 Health Partnership Chiefs representing various regions of the Atlantic.

Band Chief Brendan Mitchell was pleased to share news of this development, which he says is a positive step forward in Qalipu’s journey.

“This is another encouraging step forward on our journey. It is important that First Nations stand together in their negotiations with Canada; when we speak confidently with one voice, we are strong. I look forward to working with Chiefs of the other First Nations in Atlantic Canada to accomplish positive outcomes for our respective communities.”

Mitch Blanchard, Manager of the Health and Social division for Qalipu First Nation explained how the new partnership will benefit Band members.

“Being a part of the Health Partnership allows Qalipu First Nation to be involved in the co-management of health programs and services that impact our membership. Together, through the Health Partnership and its committees, we help shape priority areas in health and wellness.”

Qalipu First Nation’s inclusion in the Health Partnership is a key step in accomplishing community health priorities. Qalipu First Nation will have the opportunity to share, learn and collaborate with other First Nations Chiefs, FNIHB/ISC, APC Health Directors, and other like-minded organizations.

Blanchard added, “We look forward to what we can accomplish together, and continued opportunities to work together with other First Nations in Atlantic Canada.”

closed_ Small Business Support Fund Web Banner

Qalipu First Nation Launches COVID-19 Small Business Support Fund

Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce the launch of the COVID-19 Business Support Fund for member-owned businesses. $150,000 in funding is available and the Band will distribute the funding as non-repayable grants of up to $10,000 for small businesses that qualify. The fund, made available through Indigenous Services Canada, aims to support small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Economic Development Officer Kellie Kerpan will receive and process applications starting on Monday, October 26. She noted that the application is straight forward and that the Band hopes to help as many as possible with the funds available.

“To be eligible, the business has to have been in operation for a year, still financially viable and expecting to continue operations, and be able to use the fund to prevent layoffs or other negative impacts due to the pandemic. We also stipulate that the business has not already received any other non-repayable COVID-19 business funding.”

Kerpan added, “We look forward to approving as many grants as possible with this fund and supporting Band members who are working so hard to keep their businesses going during this challenging time.”

The application and guidelines are now available online. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications received before the starting date of October 26 will be returned.

For additional information, including application and guidelines, please click here (https://qalipu.ca/covid-19-small-business-support-fund/)

To discuss, please contact kkerpan@qalipu.ca or call 709-489-2898

Youth Gathering nov6-8

Mawita’jik Maljewe’jk (Youth Gathering)

The Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce that our second annual youth gathering, Mawita’jik Maljewe’jk [ma-we-dah-jek mal-jawesk], has been scheduled for November 6-8 at Burry Heights. 

Last year, the Band affirmed its commitment to honoring the youth voice within our communities by establishing a youth seat on Council, and hosting a youth gathering where an election could be conducted by youth participants from the nine electoral Wards within the Band. 

Current Youth Representative Salome Barker noted that she is excited that it is possible for the gathering to go ahead despite many cancellations around COVID-19 and is seeking input from the youth network in designing content for the conference. 

“We’re so lucky to have secured this opportunity to get together.  It’s been a long time without many opportunities to see one another, and we are looking forward to this.  I encourage youth in the network, or who are hearing about this for the first time, to get in touch with me and let myself and the planning committee know what they would like to see at this gathering.” 

At the gathering, the youth will hold an election to renew the youth representative seat.  The event will include traditional ceremony, teachings, drumming, singing and plenty of opportunity to network and enjoy time outside around the campfire.  Travel, accommodations and meals will be provided for by the Band. 

To register, please click here  

To contact Salome please email sbarker@qalipu.ca or join @Qalipu Youth Network on Facebook.  

Press Release

Qalipu First Nation Supports the Chiefs of Nova Scotia

Qalipu First Nation is part of the traditional Mi’kmaq Nation whose territory consists of Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec as well as the northeastern region of Maine, the Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland.

The Chief and Council of Qalipu have been following the events around the legal moderate livelihood Mi’kmaq fishery in Nova Scotia. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our neighbouring Chief’s for taking an important stand in defending the 1752 Peace and Friendship Treaty, and the subsequent Marshall Decision upholding that Treaty. Qalipu fully supports the position of the Mi’kmaq Chiefs in Nova Scotia and the Mi’kmaq Grand Council which maintains Mi’kmaq rights to hunt, fish and earn a moderate livelihood and we stand with our Mi’kmaq neighbours in Nova Scotia in support of the 1999 Supreme Court decision.

While dispute between Mi’kmaq fishers and non-indigenous fishers is unfortunate and the aggression, unnecessary, it has never been clearer that it is time for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, to step in and bring resolution to this situation immediately. The Government must also denounce the racism that has been inflicted upon the Mi’kmaq by the non-Indigenous community. It has been 21 years since the Marshall Decision and “moderate livelihood” must be defined, and the necessary policy must be finalized through constructive discussions between the Mi’kmaq Chiefs and Canada.

Qalipu First Nation further calls on all involved to work together in the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect so that a peaceful resolution can be reached which supports the rights of Mi’kmaq fishers.

A newspaper on a wooden desk - Press Release

New Financial Certification for Qalipu First Nation

Qalipu First Nation is excited to share news regarding a certification that the Band has been working toward for the past two years. On Tuesday, July 28, 2020, the Qalipu First Nation was awarded the Financial Management System (FMS) Certificate through the First Nation Financial Management Board (FNFMB). This certification demonstrates strong governance and finance practices and will allow for greater flexibility for the First Nation in creating its plan for the future.

Band Chief Brendan Mitchell noted that FMS certification is based on international finance and governance standards and is an accomplishment of which all Band members can be proud.

“We have worked hard to develop the policies and procedures that demonstrate financial responsibility, transparency and accountability worthy of this rigorous certification process. Our membership can take comfort in knowing Band funds are responsibly managed and be proud of working together in a good way as we plan for our future.”

Director of Finance Jodie Wells said that while it was a lengthy process to obtain the certification, it was well worth the effort and she is proud of the work of the Qalipu team including the Finance and Audit Standing Committee who worked with her every step of the way.

“We have worked hard as a team to develop new policies and procedures as well as adjust and try again as we underwent testing by the FNFMB. I’m so proud of the work we have done. Our day-to-day operations are smoother than ever, and we have the ability to plan and manage long-term strategic projects.”

For more information about the FMFMB and certification for First Nations, please visit https://fnfmb.com/en/benefits (https://fnfmb.com/en/benefits) .

A newspaper on a wooden desk - Press Release

Qalipu to Deliver COVID-19 Support Programs

Qalipu First Nation is pleased to share details on funds received through the Government of Canada’s Indigenous Community Support Fund following a call for proposals to address the impacts of COVID-19 on Indigenous communities.  Of the $90 million available to regional, urban, and off-reserve Indigenous organizations, the Band will receive $678, 311 to implement its proposed project.

Band Manager Keith Goulding noted that this project will have a many faceted and positive impact on communities the Band represents.

“We cast our net wide to meet the objectives of this fund and provide the maximum support to our communities.  Seniors and vulnerable people, food security, education, mental health, and COVID-19 preparedness measures were the cornerstones of this fund, and our project endeavours to provide support in all of these areas.”

Specifically, support from the Band will be delivered in the form of care kits for vulnerable community members, providing for essential transportation of vulnerable populations, wellness and prevention kits for youth, and a childcare expense support fund for essential workers.

Further details on eligibility and delivery of these funds will be shared with membership as project components are implemented.

For more information on the Indigenous Community Support Fund, including allocations across Canada, please click here