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GOVERNMENT OF CANADA AND FEDERATION OF NEWFOUNDLAND INDIANS ANNOUNCE ACCELERATED PROCESS TO ADDRESS MEMBERSHIP APPLICATIONS FOR QALIPU MI’KMAQ FIRST NATION BAND
Ottawa, Ontario (February 1, 2010) – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and NonStatus Indians, and Brendan Sheppard, President of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI), today announced an accelerated process for updating the membership list for the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band to be established in early 2010 for the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland.
“Our government’s work with the Federation of Newfoundland Indians is a demonstration of what can be accomplished when two parties work together to find a solution,” said Minister Strahl. “This accelerated process will ensure that eligible members of the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland become members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band as quickly as possible.”
Today’s announcement ensures the creation of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band will not be delayed and provides for the amendment of the membership list every four months after the Band is established, until the backlog of applications has been addressed. The date of the first Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band election will also be extended to permit those added to the Band list under this process the opportunity to run for office and vote in the first election.
“I am pleased with the solution reached by both parties to address the overwhelming response to the registration process for the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band,” said Brendan Sheppard, President of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians. “The number of applications received by the Enrolment Committee reflects the tremendous interest in the formation of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band. This arrangement should provide comfort to those who filed completed applications by November 30, 2009 in that they will not have to wait long to be added to the Band list once they are approved for membership.”
November 30, 2009 marked the conclusion of the first stage of the enrolment process held under the Agreement for the Recognition of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band. This historic process received overwhelming support and the uptake among the Mi’kmaq population was significantly higher than expected. As of November 30, 2009, nearly 26,000 applications had been received and approximately 11,000 had been approved for the initial members list by the Enrolment Committee, chaired by Mr. Tom Rideout.