Message from the Chief – May 3 2024


Last week I had the honour of attending my good friend, Noel Joe’s documentary, “The Forgotten Warriors,” which tells the courageous story of the nine-day hunger strike led by retired Miawpukek Chief Mi’sel Joe, alongside his brothers — Andy Joe, Billy Joe, Ches Joe, and Cousin Aubrey Joe and friends Wilfred Drew, George Drew, and Rick Jeddore and Noel’s uncle, Mike Benoit.

In 1983, the provincial government, led by Premier Brian Peckford, withheld over $800,000 of federal funding from their community for a year. Despite repeated negotiations led by Marylin Johnn and Jerry Wetzell, there was no resolution. In response, the brave protesters journeyed to St. John’s, locking themselves inside the office of Joe Goudie, then-Minister of Rural, Agricultural, and Northern Development.

After nine days their resilience paid off, and an agreement was reached, leading to the release of the much-needed funds to the community. This week, Noel’s documentary will be featured at the Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador conference, where its important message will reach a broader audience. It can also be viewed on CBC Gem.

We offer our congratulations and gratitude the film team for telling this important story. Noel was joined by Roger Maunder from Up Sky Down Films along with cinematographers Dave Howell and Dru Kennedy who is also a member of Qalipu First Nation.

As we reflect on the sacrifices made by the Forgotten Warriors, let us ensure that their legacy lives on. Let us honor their bravery by sharing their story far and wide, ensuring that future generations never forget the struggles and triumphs of our ancestors.