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.