man having presentation at seminar

Council Meeting – September 26, 2020

The next meeting of Council will be held at 10 am on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at the Corner Brook Civic Centre.

Members of the Band are invited to pre-register for the meeting if attending in person. Please be advised that attendance is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions and we will be unable to provide refreshments at this event. To pre-register, please call 634-5111 or email

You must pre-register no later than 12 noon on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020

Members are encouraged to tune in to a live-stream of the meeting which is accessible through the Ginu membership database. If you need help accessing your profile, or have questions about how to view the live-stream, please contact our Indian Registration Administrator (IRA) at 709-634-4010 or 1-855-263-6440

Ginu login:

Ask Chief and Council a question at the upcoming meeting:

View the meeting agenda here: Meeting Agenda

Ka'qawej Youth Programming Calendar top

People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre Launches New Project for Youth!

Ka'qawej Youth Programming Calendar bottom

People of the Dawn Indigenous Friendship Centre has launched an incredible workshop/discussion series called “Adulting 101: for the Aspiring Leader” starting soon for youth age 15-30. The sessions will focus on developing practical life skills, building confidence and picking up a few professional skills along the way.

Youth can connect with Sabrina Muise, Project Coordinator. She’ll set you up for all the sessions hosted online and keep everyone connected throughout the program which starts next week and runs right into the New Year!

Contact details for Sabrina:
Tel: (709) 643-3902 | Fax: (709) 643-3877
Email: | Website:

“Round Dance” by Nelson White
“Round Dance” by Nelson White

Nelson White’s Art Show Tukien (Awaken) Now Open at Grenfell Gallery


“Knowing” by Nelson White featuring Meagan Musseau
“Knowing” by Nelson White featuring Meagan Musseau

Wouldn’t we all like, in some small way, to be the subject of the artists gaze? To be reimagined through a unique lens and brought to new life as a piece of art or poetry or song?

Nelson White’s new art show Tukien (awaken) brings that lens of reimagining to familiar faces from home, to everyday people we know and love. In this portrait collection, we see locals Dave White, Michelle Cormier, Cal White, Jordan Bennett, Ivan J. White, Gregg White, Melissa Trembley, Aiden Ash Penwaq, John Nick Jeddore, Joanna Barker and Meagan Musseau among the 18 indigenous people represented.

I caught up with Nelson at the St. George’s Community Garden for a chat about Tukien, which is currently on display at Grenfell College in Corner Brook, and about his life as an artist.

“The faces in this collection represent the many ways that strong indigenous people are leading and impacting community” he said, “we are many things and I wanted to reflect all of who we are. These (portraits) are some of the cool, interesting, and intelligent people I know. People in my circle. A circle that continued to widen as the portrait project became a show.”

“Regalia Maker” by Nelson White featuring Michelle Cormier
“Regalia Maker” by Nelson White featuring Michelle Cormier

Nelson also said he wanted to showcase people in a way that defies stereotypes. For instance, the collection includes a portrait of a woman in RCMP officer’s attire. It is titled “Regalia Maker,” turning the stereotype of what a regalia maker should look like on its head.

Tukien opened in Corner Brook on August 14, ahead of other locations in Atlantic Canada, something that was important to Nelson. “Because it’s home. It’s where my family and friends can see it. The people who are in the show can see it and be proud.”

The show will eventually move on to other galleries and locations planned in Atlantic Canada.

The Smithsonian!

“Veteran Elder” by Nelson White featuring Elder Elsworth Oakley
“Veteran Elder” by Nelson White featuring Elder Elsworth Oakley

Nelson is visiting home (Flat Bay) for a few days and will return to St. John’s on Sunday. He’s a bit of a local celebrity here following news of his artwork being placed on permanent display at the Museum of the American Indian in the Smithsonian.

Indeed, a garden neighbour asked me later, “was that the Nelson White?”

Nelson commented on the success of this portrait, “I had no idea this would be such a big deal! It really kind of snowballed,” he added “I’m grateful to have my work accepted at this level.”

Elder Elsworth Oakley, from Massachusetts and living in Eskasoni, is the subject of the piece that has garnered national and international attention. Nelson explained, “Elder Oakley signed up for the marines at 17 years old. He served in Korea and is proud of his service. He’s one indigenous veteran of so many and for me, his face tells a story.”

Nelson hopes that this is just the beginning of greater eastern Canadian indigenous artist representation at the Smithsonian.

On Being an Artist

Nelson White at the St. George’s Community Garden, Friday, August 14, 2020
Nelson White at the St. George’s Community Garden, Friday, August 14, 2020

“I decided a few years ago that it was time to make space for being an artist.” Nelson had always been an artist but explained that he had never really taken it seriously. “It was time to do this professionally and do it right.”

Nelson changed careers to take a job that was less demanding and created less stress in his life. The move opened the door for his creative energy to flow and he has been steadily developing as a known artist. When I asked him what he would recommend to young artists, he had this to say.

“Learn the business side. Learn what they don’t teach you in art school. Being an artist takes more than just making and selling art. Artists should consider grant writing, marketing, online features, artist talks and other ways to be successful as an artist.”

Visit Tukien at Grenfell



10-4, Tuesday to Saturday (by appointment)
Make an appointment online now

To view the portraits from Tukien online, please visit



Story by Alison White (, on behalf of Qalipu First Nation.

Phyllis Cooper Feature Image

Community Leaders: Phyllis Cooper

Phyllis Cooper is an Elder from Stephenville. She’s a talented Silver Feather Artist, a dedicated volunteer with the Newfoundland Aboriginal Women’s Network, and is a community member well known for living the grandfather teachings of Respect, Honesty, Humility, Courage, Truth Wisdom and Love; the pillars of walking a good path.

At the Table with Terry

Phyllis was nominated for the Community Leaders segment of the Maw-pemita’jik Qalipu’k newsletter by Terry Muise. Terry and I sat down for a cup of tea and a chat about the nomination. He had many kind words for his dear friend Phyllis.

“Phyllis is a real sweetheart,” he said, “she is what I would call a true Elder. She walks the talk; she lives the seven grandfather teachings.”

Terry added that Phyllis swears by the barter system and explained how important this is to uphold the culture.

“Phyllis knows that trading allows us to honour the unique gifts and talents of all people. We each trade what we have to offer; we share the gifts creator has given us.” He said.

Terry’s granddaughter, Trinity Lee, has been sitting at the table listening to her grandfather share why he’s nominated Phyllis and decides to speak up.

“I remember Phyllis.”

Trinity attended gatherings with Phyllis as one of the youth participants with NAWN’s project Elders and Youth Breaking the Silence on Mental Health. Phyllis is one of the guiding Elders with that project and Terry noted she is known for being great with children.

stepehenville groupWhen I asked Trinity what stands out in her memory about Phyllis, she thought for a moment and said, “She was silent but outgoing at the same time.”

Trinity explained that Phyllis was always there for you, participating fully in whatever was going on, but not making a fuss about herself or anything else.

You can tell Terry is proud of his granddaughter’s observation of Phyllis, and we share a knowing look about our hope for the youth who will lead tomorrow. Before we finish our chat, Terry suggested I speak with Candace Simon to get more details about Phyllis.

Candace Cannot Say Enough

Phyllis Cooper and Christian Tourout“I’ve known Phyllis since I was little, I used to hang out with her kids. Phyllis was an awesome mom.”

This mom next door would be a constant and positive presence in Candaces Simon’s life.

Candace shared, “I got involved in the Indigenous movement in Newfoundland about twenty years ago and Phyllis has been on the scene a lot longer than that. She also spent many years in Nunavut helping women in crisis, she must have seen so much. Her heart is huge.”

Fairness and justice are important to Phyllis, Candace shared.

She said, “She doesn’t conform to anything or anyone. She will defend the underdog and will speak on behalf of someone who doesn’t have a voice. There are no backdoors with her, either. She is honest, courageous and so kind. A truly genuine person.”

Candace also noted that Phyllis is a strong woman and Elder who knows the land.

Phyllis and Life on the Land

Phyllis Cooper fishingPhyllis shared some details about her love of the land and how important it is to pass this appreciation on to the next generation. She’s a mother of five, grandmother of ten, and great-grandmother of three and Phyllis says she enjoys sharing nature with them.

“I’m teaching my grandchildren how to salmon fish. My granddaughter Kaleigh got her first salmon a few years ago while I took her fishing. She was over the moon! Shilo is interested in going moose hunting with me next month. We have six granddaughters and four grandsons, and the girls love to be out in nature as much as the boys. I think it’s a very healthy lifestyle that keeps them grounded.”

Of all the outdoor pursuits, fishing is Phyllis’ favourite.

“Fishing is my passion; I find it very relaxing. When I’m at the cabin I go trout fishing every night, I bring the fish back to some elders I know who can’t get out fishing anymore but love to eat them. My grandchildren love to trout fish also, they catch them for our friends who are so thankful for them. We also pick berries to freeze for winter, grow a few of our own veggies. I want my grandchildren to know the old ways, to live off what the creator provided for us, to learn to share with others and care about each other. I think if you do that, you will be a much happier person and be more content with your life.”

Thank you for your contribution to our community, Phyllis. Keep up the great work.

Story by Alison White (, on behalf of Qalipu First Nation.

Swearing in of Salome Barker

Youth Representative Salome Barker Sworn In at Recent Meeting of Council

A Council meeting was held in Corner Brook on Thursday, July 23. Pictured here, new Youth Representative Salome Barker signs the oath of office with Chief Brendan Mitchell and Elder Odelle Pike looking on.

Salome noted,

“I’m very honoured and privileged to have a seat on the Qalipu Council as a youth councillor. I’m excited to bring so many Indigenous youths voices to the table and continue to uplift their voices and ideas. There are countless Mi’kmaq youth across the province who are doing tremendous work in cultural revitalization, supporting their communities and making positive change for future generations to come. I do believe that Qalipu youth are the future of Qalipu First Nation and it’s incredibly important to hear us and continue to make room for our voices. I know that I have the support from Mi’kmaq youth within our youth network and that they will be by my side throughout this journey. I’m looking forward to this new position and will have the youth as my top priority. Thank you for this opportunity. Msit No’kmaq.”

The Youth designed their own election code in which the responsibilities of the Youth Representative, elected for a one-year term, are as follows:

  • Form and maintain a Youth Advisory Network.
  • Lead the planning activities for the Youth Gathering.
  • Represent the youth voice at the Qalipu First Nation Band Council.
  • Carry forward recommendations to the Qalipu First Nation Band Council that arise from the annual Youth Gathering.
  • Attend meetings of the Qalipu First Nation Band Council (estimated at six meetings per year).
  • Report back to the Youth Advisory Network after Qalipu First Nation Band Council meetings.
  • Establish and maintain a social media space for the Youth Advisory Network.
  • Serve as an ambassador of Qalipu’s Youth Members.
  • Be open-minded and listen to other ideas.
  • Be respectful.
  • Engage Indigenous youth.
  • Represent the Qalipu First Nation at events where required.
  • Facilitate discussions among the Youth Advisory Network to generate ideas, projects, and programs.
  • Be active in local community groups.
  • Get involved with local schools and engage youth at that level.

The youth election held at the inaugural Mawita’jik Maljewe’jk (youth gathering) last fall included the election of an Alternate Youth Representative to share the duties of the role or step up in the absence of the elected representative. Following the resignation of Youth Representative Jessica Saunders in June, Alternate Youth Representative Salome Barker will now take the youth seat on Council.

Salome will hold the seat until the next youth gathering which is scheduled to take place again later in the fall if gatherings are permitted.