Qalipu First Nation and Marathon Gold are pleased to announce the winners of the first round of scholarships introduced last year to encourage and support Qalipu band members with career development and growth as they attend post-secondary education. Five scholarships, valued at $1,000.00 each, will be presented annually over the next 5 years.
Please join us in congratulating Kaylee White, Tanner Wells, Chelsea Beaton, Matthew Antle and Anna Brake, winners of this year’s scholarships. Each of these students demonstrates the attributes and qualities upon which this scholarship was based, academic excellence, community service and extracurricular involvement.
Qalipu Chief Brendan Mitchell noted that the promotion of educational pursuits is one of the top priorities for the Band.
“We fund hundreds of band members each year through our education programs and value every opportunity to see our people pursue an education and find success. This scholarship, founded in partnership with Marathon Gold, greatly supports students. We are proud of the accomplishments of this year’s winners.”
Matt Manson, President & CEO of Marathon Gold commented: “Marathon Gold is pleased to be able to partner with Qalipu First Nation in establishing this important scholarship program. We recognize the challenges and the rewards that come with furthering one’s education and would like to acknowledge the hard work, community involvement and academic achievements of the five scholarship recipients. We wish them all much success in their future endeavours.”
Congratulations to all!
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.
Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce the selection of its new Band Manager, Charles Pender, who will begin working with the Band on Monday, February 27th, 2023. Reporting to Chief and Council, Charles will be responsible for oversight and management of Band business and programs, including the management of Qalipu staff at six office locations.
Band Chief Brendan Mitchell was pleased to see the search for a Band Manager conclude with the selection of a strong candidate.
“We had an independent party complete the initial applicant screening process and preliminary interviews before making their recommendations to the Executive Council. Following this process, I’m pleased that Charles Pender was the chosen candidate. Charles is a lifelong resident of Corner Brook and a strong presence in the community. He has been a leader in the field of education, an active volunteer and twice served terms as the Mayor of the City of Corner Brook. I am confident in his ability to lead our Band in a positive direction.”
Charles graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education and from Laval University with a Master’s in Education. He taught at schools around the province before becoming a Director at Grenfell Campus, MUN. Charles has also been a public administrator since 1997. He was twice elected as Mayor of the City of Corner Brook and has served three additional terms on Council.
Charles’ education, work experience and volunteer service have led to strong skills in the areas of change management, project development, negotiation, budgeting, human resources, funding proposals, and social media. He is excited to share his skills working on behalf of band members.
“As a proud member of the Qalipu First Nation, I’m very pleased to accept the position of Band Manager. I am looking forward to working with the Chief, Council, and staff on behalf of all band members.”
Today is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, a day to recognize the terrible legacy of Canada’s residential school system, commemorate residential school Survivors, and remember the thousands of Indigenous children lost to this system.
This year, as part of its commemoration of this day, Qalipu hosted a logo contest for our youth across K’taqamkuk. Youth from grades K-12 were invited to reflect on what this day means to them, and how that could be represented in artwork.
We are excited to share that the winner of our first annual logo contest is Kali Gill, a grade nine student from Corner Brook Intermediate. Kali’s touching and heartfelt logo is making waves across social media today, and her logo will be featured on orange shirts that will be made available for sale at QFN offices.
Of her artwork Kali says, “My artwork can be interpreted in different ways. It could show a mother remembering when her child was taken from her, or it could be a memory of herself as a survivor of the residential school. It represents the sadness and loss of so many innocent lives, like this little girl walking into the school with false hope. I drew the lady as an elder because even though time passes and we age, our teardrops hold memories that will never be forgotten.”
Kali takes home the top prize of $250 along with a $500 donation to her school’s breakfast program which will be presented by Chief Mitchell soon. Other prizes including books and cultural supplies will be shared with runners up.
Mitch Blanchard who co-hosts the contest with his Department of Health and Wellness along with the Department of Education and Training, notes, “There were 156 submissions in total this year. Looking through the artwork was moving. It was powerful to see how our children connect with the meaning of this special day, and the heart that comes through in their artwork.”
Congratulations to Kali and all the other students who took the time to reflect on what this day means to them and represented it with their artwork.
September 29, 2022, Corner Brook — Qalipu First Nation would like to advise its members, partners, and community that on September 22, Keith Goulding tendered notice of resignation from his position as Band Manager with Qalipu to pursue another career opportunity. Goulding has worked with the Band since its formation in 2011; he was previously the Director of Education and Training and in 2017 was successful in the competition to become Band Manager.
Rod Bennett, Director of Operations noted that business will proceed as usual and there will be no impact to member programs and services.
“From the point of view of Band administration, all systems and processes are in place to ensure there is no impact to our day-to-day operations. We have a strong senior management team and I expect that business will continue until a hiring process to fill the position are put in place.”
Brendan Mitchell, Band Chief, noted that he is disappointed to see Goulding go, and reflected on the many positive accomplishments of the Band that took place under his leadership.
“There have been many positive gains during Keith’s time as Band Manager. Keith started out leading a team of around fifty employees and today, this number has nearly doubled. He oversaw major changes to our election process and was also at the helm for big milestones such as the Bands receipt of Certification from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as well as certification from the First Nations Financial Management Board, both markers of organizational and financial excellence. He also was in the lead on the achievement of a 10-year block funding arrangement that has been key to our path to self-governance. We wish him well in his new endeavours, but he will be missed.”
Qalipu First Nation is please to announce a funding contribution of $544,000 from the department of Canadian Heritage for the delivery of Mi’kmaw Language programing for members of its community and beyond.
After introducing Mi’kmaw language to about 60 people two years ago, roughly 150 last year, Qalipu First Nation Mi’kmaw Language Revival Program is poised to serve 180 learners this year. It is expected that demand will be well over that mark, but some cap needs to be in place with current staffing levels.
“We received written support from the Mi’kmaw Grand Council, the Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief, and exit feedback from our participants was overwhelmingly positive” says Dean Simon, Mi’kmaw Language Facilitator for QFN (now permanent position with Qalipu). For the first time, Qalipu used an in-house teacher, with fluent supervisors, to catch any errors and to expand on topics that arose. Mr. Simon says this was important to establish credibility.
The programs’ goal is to introduce the language to as many people as possible while building a core of fluent speakers in the next 3-5 years, who will have the capacity to create other fluent speakers, teaching it forward. To this end, this year and next year the Qalipu program will select prospective teaching assistants to travel to Unama’ki (Cape Breton) for a 2 week preliminary immersion experience.
“I am looking forward to going back as well because my 2 years in Unama’ki required working in English 90% of the day to self-fund my learning, and ultimately detracted from my immersion”.
This year’s virtual offering will expand from 5 weeks to 10 weeks, with learner support throughout the whole year. Another deliverable in next 2 years is to source and develop resources for youth from Pre-school to High School, and to work with the QFN Education Department to distribute those resources and provide training for teachers.
Simon completed a course called Language Reclamation Methods, at the University of Southern Maine during the past year and will bring the shared experiences of indigenous classmates from all over north America to this year’s offering. “We are not the only people who have lost a language and work hard to bring it back.”
“I am very optimistic that Mi’kmaw will be heard again in Newfoundland.”
Experience Qalipu (EQ) of Qalipu First Nation (QFN) in partnership with Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority (DLRAA) and the Town of Deer Lake are pleased to announce and provide Indigenous Tourism Sense of Arrival to the airport and through the Humber River Trail System.
With $65,000 received in combination from Provincial and Federal Governments to support the incorporation of Indigenous awareness and tourism marketing at the Deer Lake Airport, funding will be purposed for:
- Phase one of a trail development project, which includes the design work for an Indigenous themed trail on airport property. This trail will connect into the great Deer Lake trail system
- The installation of an 8X20 mural painted by an Indigenous artist inside the airport
- Incorporation of Experience Qalipu marketing inside and outside the airport, including pole flags, wall posters, digital marketing, and targeted digital ads
“The partnership between Qalipu First Nation and DLRAA has been longstanding, and this project is another outcome of how working together can achieve great things”, said Tammy Priddle, President and CEO Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority. “The announcement today will provide an opportunity for travellers and people of this region to experience the strong Indigenous Tourism offering in our area every time they visit our regional airport,” said Ms. Priddle. She further commented, “In addition, the walking trail expansion will allow travellers, employees, tenants and people of the region to learn more about the Qalipu culture, connect with the beautiful surroundings and walk along the mighty Humber River.”
Band Manager of Qalipu First Nation, Keith Goulding concluded, “This partnership project provides us with an excellent opportunity to showcase our membership and welcome people to our traditional territory, Ktaqmkuk – Newfoundland.”