Qalipu Watchdogs presents concerns to interim minister

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CORNER BROOK — The Qalipu Watchdogs group is asking James Moore, the interim minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, to work towards a solution to concerns over the large number of applicants for membership in the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band that is fair and equitable for all Newfoundland Mi’kmaq.

In a letter dated Feb. 18, the group provides Moore with the reasons for its formation.

“Our purpose is to act as a single voice for those remaining applicants to the Qalipu Band (and those involved in the appeal process) and to ensure that their concerns are raised for consideration by Canada, the FNI (Federation of Newfoundland Indians) and the Qalipu Band.”

At issue for the group is the future of some 70,000 applications that have yet to be processed and a review of the application process started by the federal government in response to the large number of applicants.

“Our objective is to ensure that Canada extends the enrolment application review process to all applicants of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band on a timely basis and in a manner fully consistent with the precedents, considerations and methods used by the enrolment committee and the appeal master in the first stage of the enrolment process,” said the letter.

“In addition, we want to ensure that current Qalipu Band members and those who are already registered under the Indian Act are not prejudiced by an alternative assessment not already provided for in the 2007 agreement (on the band’s formation).”

The group believes that any deviation from this would constitute a fundamental breach of the 2007 agreement.

“In total, nearly 103,000 Newfoundland Mi’kmaq applied for membership under the Qalipu Band in good faith and everyone of these individuals deserves answers on what’s happening and equal opportunity to have their applications reviewed and processed.”

The group also indicated to Moore that it is willing to meet with him to discuss the issues and concerns raised in the letter.

Organizations: FNI

Geographic location: Canada, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Mary Sorrell
    March 12, 2013 - 18:31

    I would just like to say i sent my application for my MI"KMAQ Status in Nov 14th 2011 still havent heard nothing! I call the Qalipu office and they are good about returning my phone calls and they say my imformation is in the computer! But no awnswer as to when my application will be reviewed i just think that no matter where we live! My MIKMAQ Heritage is from Cape ST George and that is my right! ! A lot of my family have been approved! Thier has to be a Quicker way to do the application process! And mine as the rest of you 70000 pluss applications are just thier and not being reviewed!

  • Charlie
    March 02, 2013 - 19:24

    I now live out of province. Has nothing but negative rumors in the family that a gramdmother was "Indian". In the last few years rumors became researched fact, so according to the rules, I should be recognized as Qalipu. Why should the requirements now be changed because the band is becoming too big? Like many others, I would simply like to have recognition, without an interest in economic gain.

  • Ronny Rowsell
    February 26, 2013 - 12:07

    As a member of the band I have never been so embarrassed to witness no more members accepted posted on the door of the band office in corner brook.God help us what are we doing to our peoples we have been discriminated so much our people have been here sense prehistoric times.We as a peoples have only one voice our Chief time for some voices to be heard our words are being heard by silent ears once again so sad hurts the soul peace be with you all.

  • Proud Newfoundlander
    February 26, 2013 - 08:10

    I am an educated , working individual with benefits medical etc for myself and my family and I DO NOT want hand outs, I want the right to claim my bloodline to claim my birth right. To be proud to say I am Mi’kmaq. To “JIM - February 20, 2013 at 22:07:24” do you think it was of no cost to apply for your status?? Well obviously you have no clue ... the cost involved in acquiring all the documentation, the time, the research, the copying the patience so educate yourself before you speak of something you know nothing about. I am appalled at the ignorant racist comments that are posted every time there is a story written about Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band. Newfoundlanders love to preach how accepting they are and how loving and caring they are BUT this is not the case unless you are “white”, if you are Indian, native or another minority you are treated with blatant ignorant uneducated racist attitudes. Look at the labour market in Newfoundland and Labrador and tell me how many minorities you see working in business, very few. Open your eyes and shut your mouth, learn some real facts before you judge, what you know nothing about.

    • Reality
      February 26, 2013 - 09:36

      So.. Why do you need the government to tell you that you are Mi'kmaq? I don't understand the need for government given status if it isn't about the benefits. And stop throwing around your racist claims. Stop trying to be a victim. People aren't complaining about this status argument because you are native, they are complaining because people are being segregated based on culture. We know the facts and as long as our taxes are supporting one special interest group, we will not "shut up".

  • my say
    February 22, 2013 - 06:56

    The number of people applying to the Qalipu First nations, isn’t the real problem here. The numbers are high for the simple reason that a contract was established between the FNI, at the time and the Federal Gov. Fni set the rules for the criteria to be reached to become a status Indian under Qalipu, and the Federal Gov, with alllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll there resources and people like lawyers etc, signed on the dotted line. This became a contract, and as we all know, a contract once signed, cannot be broken without penalty. So, who is the blame here. If you were to, say that whatever ethnic group you belong to , that you may have the privilege of joining such a group, as Qalipu, and you found that you met the criteria needed to join such a group, you would do it HANDS DOWN. So don’t be, for lack of a better word, JEALOUS of someone else. We all can look for and seek wrong doings in almost every ethnic group out there. Everyone has their faults and criticism. I am a first nation’s person of Qalipu, and I am proud of that. Yes, as a previous person mentioned, I would easily give a 200 dollar and more, of a non-refundable deposit for my status and they could take away my VERYYYYYYYYY few privileges that I do have, and I would STILL be proud of my ancestry that I have discovered, the culture and the people Lay the blame where the problem started, the ones who came up with the rules for this. No the people for only doing what you would do if YOU were in there shoes.

  • NL Student
    February 21, 2013 - 17:38

    I would like to know HOW a current member has managed to get 2 UNIVERSITY DEGREES paid for? Not ONE but TWO. Heather actually stated this publicly in the Western Star when she was running for Chief or Something haha She is a blond blue eyed Indian too. SICKENING if you ask me? What kind of corrupt system is in place already? Seriously.

  • Observer from the mainland
    February 21, 2013 - 16:27

    I find it sort of sad that people are even having this debate. Similar to Terih's comments, my husband's family was not even aware they were Mi'kmaq until one family member finally spoke up and informed the rest. Then some puzzle pieces started to click into place. I suspect that it was fear of discrimination which caused my mother-in-law's family to stay silent, but I'll never know for sure because she has long since passed away. And we live out of province, but that doesn't mean my husband is any less "indian" than those of his family members still living at home on the Island. For the record, we are still waiting, too - along with countless others. I hope this issue is soon resolved before it tears more family and friends apart. I'm proud of my husband's heritage - and pleased that our children are learning about it now. Blessings, everyone. Hang in there!

  • kp
    February 21, 2013 - 10:45

    This just keeps getting more ridiculous all the time! 103,000 INDIANS IN NEWFOUNDLAND???? Give me a break! The Qualipu would be the largest, BY FAR, Indian Band in ALL of Canada!!!!! There would be more Mik'maq on the Island of Newfoundland than all of PEI, NS AND NB COMBINED! their REAL Mik'maq ancestral home. Under the existing rules I DO qualify as well, RIDICULOUS! I am no more Indian than 99% of those claiming Indian Status. And all of this for some Tax, Medical and Education benefits! Plus obviously the hope for additional benefits to come such as Hunting Fishing and THEN LAND.

    • TeriH
      February 26, 2013 - 01:12

      In response to KP: I have to be registered as a Status Indian to participate in the Economic Developement. I am a Nurse. As you know our people have a very high incidence of Diabetes. I am hoping to teach our native people that need a job on how to do Foot Care just as I teach Nurses and Personal Support Workers now on how to create and do their own businesses so as they can go forth and health teach their patients and do Foot Care for those that cannot do their own. The Foot Care Technician can give their patients increased mobility, reduced pain, reduced falls and injuries and have a higher quality of life. I have my own corporation and I do Foot Care and am doing very well at it. Hope this answers your question, KP.

  • Blunt
    February 21, 2013 - 10:37

    Mr. Sheppard, I think 70,000 people might have 3 words for you if the agreement is not kept...........CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT

  • dorothy alexander
    February 20, 2013 - 22:58

    henry, we are not pies you can not slice and dice us you have the blood or you dont amen. also there should be no deadline on applications who heard of such nonscense.

  • Viking
    February 20, 2013 - 20:50

    A am a blue eyed, blond haired, white skinned male that will apply for my card! I want the freebees like everyone else. My status is that my great great great great grandfather had a girlfriend that was 1/4 indian - is that good enough ?

    • kp
      February 21, 2013 - 10:51

      Yes Viking you too can apply but WATCH OUT! Afterward you will actually start to think and talk like you are a REAL Indian!

  • TeriH
    February 20, 2013 - 20:33

    I have to agree to what you are saying except Henry. We lived the native life not Henry. He has no idea about being Native. Most of us were not told that we were Native because family was made to be ashamed of who we were. Being taught that the Natives were savages in school. Parents did not tell us as we would be made fun off. I found out on my aunts deathbed that we were Native in 2003. Then have to come to terms of who I was. Now I am proud of who I am. We lived off the land and did native things and all along I thought that was the white man way. All made sense once I found out who I was. There were 10 families that came to NL that were native and I am so surprised we have so many Native brothers now. I want to help our people once I get my status. I want to teach and open a clinic and have my people work in the clinic doing foot care and other nursing duties for our elders. They will make a living doing Foot Care as an independant once they are taught. They will be self sufficient. That is why I am waiting for my Native status. Henry do research on Natives of NL and learn what we are all about. Once you have made yourself knowledgeable about our culture you too will understand.

    • KP
      February 21, 2013 - 10:56

      Why does it take "your status" to start helping your briothers? Why do you want to open a foot clinic? Is there some rare disease affecting Newfoundland Indians feet? How will being trained in Foot Care make everyone independant or self sufficient?

  • Jerry
    February 20, 2013 - 19:13

    Henry. The federal Government established the rules for membership in the Qalipu band. I feel it is my right and privilidge to apply if I meet the guidelines and I have a funny feeling that most of you naysayers would too if you qualified.

    • kp
      February 21, 2013 - 10:59

      When the Federal Government agreed to start this process and recognize the landless Indian Band, they expected a couple thousand at most! NOT near one quarter of the NL population!

  • John
    February 20, 2013 - 15:42

    Henry, are you aware that until 1960 a Status Indian couldn't even vote in a Federal election unless he/she renounced his/her Indian status, they had to say I'm not who I really am, to in fact lie and hide. Dances and religious native cerimonies were forbidden by the Indian act at one time, an Indian couldn't frequent a pool hall because he was seen as lazy if he did so. Indians couldn't wear tradtional dress in a show or public exabition without permission or a band living near a town of more than 8,000 people had to move, no questions asked. Parents were forced by the Indian Act to send thier childeren to Indian Residential Schools, which were run by the Catholic Church where they were taught thier parents were whores and drunks and they were illigetimate and would linger in pergatory forever. Did you know companies could just expropriate reserve land without band permission, just take it and use it. The list goes on and on. Now tell everyone to get over that!! I'ts no wonder people hid thier heritage. If the government treated us like that, how do you think the average Canadian treated a native person. Now that we want to embrace our heritage you try to squash it with rude and biggioted remarks. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. I'm sure if you or yours were treated like dirt you would have lots to say about it, and not just get over it.

    • kp
      February 21, 2013 - 11:02

      These things that you are mentioning happened to OTHER PEOPLE, other Indian Bands across the country NOT to you and your ancestors.

  • Joe Russell
    February 20, 2013 - 14:41

    Denying us access to Band membership is not only unconstitutional but morally wrong. Being Mic Mac is our birthright and we have every right to expect the same treatment afforded the existing Band Members. It doesn't matter whether you live away, or live the Mic Mac lifestyle. Those are just excuses, not valid reasons to exclude anyone. By treating us this way, they are doing exactly what the Federal Government did to all Newfoundland Mic Mac, ignored them. Someone should launch a constitutional challenge againt those who are denying membership to 70,000 people, who are every bit as Native as all the rest.

    • Reality
      February 26, 2013 - 09:43

      Unconstitutional? Really? And isn't it Mik'maq? This whole process is a joke. If you are Qualipu, show your pride and acknowledge your culture, but don't ask for our governments approval.

  • Richard
    February 20, 2013 - 10:07

    So Henry, who died and made you the authority on who should be entitled under the true Indian Act??? What exactly do you mean? Do you think for one minute that over 100,000 applicants will NOT meet the criteria? I find your statement totally assinine and it shows just how you generalize and group people of different backgrounds than your own into one little basket. I have one word for you...Racist! Henry, you get over it! The Native people of NL have been passed over for long enough, they deserve better, it's their blood rite.

  • INDIAN
    February 20, 2013 - 10:02

    That is where you are wrong henry sir

  • Dave
    February 20, 2013 - 09:54

    Well, Henry. I could have applied under and of all four of my grandparents. I wonder, does that make me 25%. I see you still have the attitude that a lot of people against first nation people. Too bad such predegious still exists in this so called modern world, but you are proof that it does.

    • Sam
      February 25, 2013 - 18:59

      Henry must be a Englishman, that is the attitude they had toward the Indian people.

  • Paul Locke
    February 20, 2013 - 09:09

    Leave it to Newfoundlanders to screw everything up for themselves.

  • Henry
    February 20, 2013 - 06:38

    Get over it. Under the true Indian Act you are not entitled unless you are at minimum 25% Indian...

    • Jim
      February 20, 2013 - 20:37

      I wonder how many of the 103,000 would hav applied if their was a 200 dollar non refundable deposit. Put that money towards programs for the tribe.. My thinking the number of applicants would be down to the expected number of 20,000

    • Proud Indigenous Woman
      February 22, 2013 - 13:01

      That's why Indigenous people all over Canada are saying that the Indian Act is not working and needs to be changed. Have you been living under a rock???