Membership in Mi’kmaq First Nations Assembly growing

Diane
Diane Crocker
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CORNER BROOK  Efforts to boost membership in the Mi’kmaq First Nations Assembly of Newfoundland (MFNA) are paying off.

Hector Pearce, vice-chair of the assembly, said Wednesday membership in the association now stands at 5,000.

That comes following the holding of four community meetings, the last of which took place in Grand Falls-Windsor Tuesday night, to talk about plans to fight changes to the enrolment process for the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band and to encourage applicants and band members to join the assembly.

Pearce said the four meetings attracted a good attendance with 60 people attending Tuesday’s meeting and about the same attending an earlier one in Lewisporte. But it was the meetings in Corner Brook and Port Saunders that drew the biggest crowds, with about 400 and 300 people attending respectfully.

Pearce said people at all the meetings have expressed the same concerns.

“They’re just so confused and so upset about what’s happening with their applications.”

And he said they feel they have nowhere to turn and don’t know what to submit to satisfy the criteria of self identification and group acceptance.

Pearce said the assembly hopes to double its membership from 5,000 to around 10,000.

“We need a healthy number of members if we’re going to fight government on this issue, because the more members we have the more revenue we can generate and the greater our chance of being able to deal with the government in court.”

He also noted there is a possibility if the issue does go to court that the court may dictate that any agreement reached between the assembly and government will only involve members of the assembly.

“So that’s your number one advantage in being a member of MFNA in that any court settlement you’re guaranteed to be a part of that.”

Meanwhile, Pearce said the federal government has responded to the two judicial review applications filed by the group’s legal representatives in Ontario by stating it will challenge the applications.

“That’s no surprise,” said Pearce. “It gives us a message that government will delay in any way they can any kind of a settlement to this issue and they will make it as costly as they can for the applicants by challenging some of these judicial review applications.”

Pearce said the assembly plans to hold another series of community meetings in the new year. Possible locations include Stephenville, the Port aux Basques and Burgeo region and Harbour Breton.

Organizations: MFNA, First Nations Assembly of Newfoundland

Geographic location: Grand Falls-Windsor, Lewisporte, Corner Brook Port Saunders Ontario Port aux Basques Burgeo Harbour Breton

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Recent comments

  • Gerald White
    December 20, 2013 - 03:04

    Good Luck keep the faith

  • belinda
    December 19, 2013 - 15:26

    being a native person of north america means just that ,land boundries do not deminish our rights, and should not be held against those wanting their heritage recognized

  • belinda mccann
    December 19, 2013 - 13:35

    please keep informed

  • Henry
    December 19, 2013 - 09:30

    Way to go MFNA. Thanks to the many registering. This will be our best chance at recognition. Persons not registered should register as quickly as possible benefit from this inniative. Its only 20.00 a year. Strength in numbers... Please go to MFNA site and register.

  • Allie
    December 19, 2013 - 08:00

    Won't be long before the whole island will be Mi'kmag Nation....Everyone want's to be in the group...Not for the money though---LOL

    • betrayal
      December 20, 2013 - 13:10

      Typical narrow minded response.

  • Pearl
    December 19, 2013 - 07:10

    I live in NS, JUST TO THINK THAT MY SISTER LIVE IN NL and can keep her card and because i had to move away for work and been going home for funerals, weeding , owend a cabin in Gallants, call home all the time, have land in SHip Cove, we are still blood , you can't take that from us, what else do they wat,, give it a rest.

    • judy besaw
      December 20, 2013 - 17:18

      I live in NS was born and raised in NFLD, Most my family in NFLD are members, Their blood run in my veins, how can you except the people living in NFLD and not all of us that have the blood line. Accept all that are true Mi'kmag. We will be a hugh band. My paperwork is all in order and I proved who I am. Get er done byes, Lord tendering lighting.