Protest against Qalipu application process planned for Monday

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Organizers are concerned possible changes will mean unprocessed applications for membership in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band will be considered differently than those already approved.

A protest calling for a fair and equal process for old and new applicants to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band is being planned for outside the band’s office in Corner Brook on Monday.

Although it is unclear exactly who is spearheading the protest, messages circulating on social media are saying it is meant to be a peaceful protest and anyone who wants to participate is asked to meet outside the office on Church Street at 12:30 p.m.

There are believed to be as many as 70,000 applications for membership that have yet to be processed and the federal government is considering changing the requirements for those outstanding applicants.

About 25,000 applicants have already been approved under the current rules and regulations.

Geographic location: Church Street

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  • kirk
    February 03, 2014 - 16:20

    Many of the people commenting on this board are missing the point of this whole mess. Being of first nation ancestry and the rights and benefits that come with it are guaranteed under the law. Whether or not you live the mi'kmaq way of life or live in a mi'kmaq community shouldn't be an issue. There are many first nations people living all over Canada living whatever way they wish. Their status is liked to their blood line. So if you are of Mi'kmaq ancestry and can prove it you should gain your status. That was the deal. To deny applicants their status who left Newfoundland to seek a better life for themselves and families is just wrong.

  • Leonard J. White
    February 16, 2013 - 14:31

    I have received my status card almost a year ago. It took me two yeras to get this far. I have sisters and brothers also trying to get their card. They use the same infromation that I used by putting their name where my name was, all the info. is the same going back to the 1800,s. Yet they still are having trouble getting their card. Hoping it is resolved soon.

  • mbernadette
    January 30, 2013 - 18:25

    Brendan and his CEO and the chiefs are opportunists. They have created wealth for themselves. That needs to be exposed and challenged. This has happened on reserves across Canada. I understand Ann is not native but has help create companies for herself and Brendan. Could this be true? I agree with much of what Ansale'wit has written. I have had first hand experience of how Brendan treats opposition or even perceived opposition. We must keep pressure on Qalipu to do what they are elected to do. Perhaps they don't know what they were elected to do since their idea of what they were creating is not our understanding .... there have been many conflicts of interest and deception...but this is politics, isn't it?

  • mary
    January 23, 2013 - 11:31

    The Mi'kmaq are not originally from NFLD......they came to hunt but lived in Nova Scotia........Beothuks were native to the province, but were killed by the Mi'kmaq and the European settlers. So who knows, maybe if theres a way to determine if some of us have Beothuk blood then our claims would supercede other claims and the Mi'kmaq would owe Beothuk descendants some money! This is something worth investigating:)

    • JoeJoe
      February 02, 2013 - 23:12

      This is categorically false. I'm not getting on no qalipu band wagon, but the fact is it's highly likely that the beothucks would of been directly related to the mikmaq, not to mention nearly all of our records on beothucks were through the lense of totally ignorant british colonialists, and mikmaq guides. It's highly highly likely, judging by british records, and what we know of mikmaq and beothuck interactions that the beothucks that survived would of married into the MikMaq

  • John
    January 19, 2013 - 02:16

    As for me, my parents grandparents were identified as Mi'Kmaq. My grandparents and parents didn't. All this was kept secret in our family. My great-grandparents were from Conne River. My parents just started to open up about this. I've often wondered about my family's heritage and now I see why no one talked about this. My mother talks about being a child and being called a dirty Indian. No wonder they kept their mouths shut. I"m amazed at how all of this has come down to a "money grab". What money??? I don't see any money here, just a need for people to know and understand who they are and be proud of that and thier ancestors. If the band council wants to keep any monies for their friends and family, they are welcome to it. I just want for myself and my family the recognition that we are Mi'Kmaq and have the band help us to understand what that means. I find the non-Mi'Kmaq persons statements disturbing to say the least. How would you like it if the government decided to disrespect your family because of your family background and deny you your heritage. I am saddened by all this and wish I have never found out any of this. I feel I"m being hated for my heritage, who I am, where I come from. Your abusive comments make me ashamed of who I am, and it's not right. No wonder my family hid their background. No one in my family is interested in any monetary gain. We all work and have always supported ourselves and our families. This is about history and ancestry. The band council should be concentrating on that and not money. Where is the information? Why are they on using any funds to put our history back together so people can be proud of who they are and understand the past. I think my ancestry is being lost again. I was beginning to see the light, but it's being extinguished, I'm saddened by how this is all turning out.

    • Brian
      January 22, 2013 - 11:30

      You should be saddened with the abundance of Mi'Kmaqs who are abusing this system and giving your culture a bad name. You should be proud of who you are and not be hindered by members of your own culture using their culture for financial gains.

  • joseph macisaac
    January 18, 2013 - 23:38

    When Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949 the authorities at that time had it enshrined in the terms of union that the Native People of our Province would be treated as equal to the people of the rest of Canada .

  • Cindy
    January 18, 2013 - 15:44

    **Stigma typo

  • Cindy
    January 18, 2013 - 14:43

    We have every right to get our Indian Status and any benefits that goes along with it, just like any other Canadian!!! When the Government agreed to the formation of this band, there was no cut off on the number of people who could join, we did not say we only had 25,000 Indians in Newfoundland, that was the number of people and family's involved with the Newfoundland Indian Federation at that time. So the number of applicants should have nothing to do with the acceptance process. If you qualify, you should be accepted. Really, if you think about it, the Government got off pretty easy, since Newfoundland Indians should have been given status back in 1949. Comments on this page refer to this as a "Money Grab" or "Embarrassment", that is just not true. Why should Newfoundlanders not have the same rights as other Canadians? . I am Qalipu, I thought I only had one Grandparent that was French/Indian, once I researched my ancestry, I found out that both my parents are French/Indian, and all my grandparents were also French/Indian. Its sad that I did not know this, I believe my Grandparents did not teach us about our Ancestry, due to the stigmata and prejudice people receive when they claim their Indian Ancestory, and sadly, when you read may of these comments, you can see that that prejudice is still rapid today.

  • Rebecca Fletcher
    January 18, 2013 - 13:43

    When we did a project years ago for a school project, and as the details of the Qailpu Mi'kmaq First nation was coming to light as my kids Heritage They were amazed and proud and wondered why or if the rest of the family knew, They where telling everyone, So I hope for them the government finished with all application that where in before there deadline. Not changing anything.

  • Talking Smoke
    January 18, 2013 - 12:00

    Ignorance is bliss................I find many of these comments quite comical and a tad sad. ........I have travelled extensively throughout Canada and the Arctic. Even on many of the reserves, no one lives the way of our ancestors. The main reason of course is that government, churches, schools, etc. denied basic rights to do so. Over time, and with government agendas many First Nations People were merely assimilated into main stream society, lost their language and way of life. I also hear that we are all Newfondlanders and of Irish, French, English, etc., backgrounds... Well this is true to some extent. However, it is not true for many. My family is not and has never been attached to any ancestry except Mi'Kmaq. It is also a proven fact based on Federal Geneology. And yet with this documented proof, we still ask, not fight, to be recognized. Yes there are those who are looking for the money aspect. But this is not the case with everyone. Many like to paint everyone with the same tarnished brush. Now with respect to living the Mi'Kmaq way; most have no idea what the Mi'kmaq was even is... And yet they are quick to jump on the totem pole and yell from high how they are living it. And if they had to return to the ancestal ways they would starve.... So for anyone interested, the Mi"kmaq way begins with self. And your focus is for the good of all the people who reside in your home, community and country and that means everyone. There would be no hidden agendas and no selfish acts to gain anything unless it was for the betterment of all your community and country. So please climb down from your totem poles and be examples of the Mi'kmaq way instead of showing how little you actually know about it. Our children learn from our examples. How sad that they are not learning what it really is like to be Mikmaq...................

    • MaryP
      January 18, 2013 - 19:55

      I agree somewhat with Talking Smoke. The Mi'Kmaq way begins with self. It must be in your heart and mind.

  • Danica
    January 18, 2013 - 11:48

    Why should the rules change after everything was hashed out between the federal government and the federation of newfoundland indians. It was agreed upon that the deadline for submission for status was November 1st, 2012. Now, because people maybe dug a little deeper and discovered native heritage, they want to change that because so many people applied? Wish I could be at the protest.

  • MaryP
    January 18, 2013 - 11:46

    I beleive the rules are being changed not only by the feds, but, by qalipu as well. I beleive Qalipu made a deal for a specific amount of money for a specific number of members. Now that the numbers of aplicants are gone so high, qalipu council is afraid that there won't be enough grant money for freinds and family already approved. I feel there is room here for a full investigation into the doings of this current Qalipu council as well as the federal gov departments involved.

  • Ansale'wit
    January 18, 2013 - 11:18

    Just want to assure Mr. Gerry Byrne that he shouldn't feel important because Mr. Sheppard told him to mind his own business! He did not receive any special treatment. Mr. Sheppard treats everyone who is not part of the "inner" circle the same way. Women receive the worse treatment . His condescending manner of talking to everyone is not appropriate and apart from his rudeness, he seems to be labouring under the impression that he is a god! His ego is definitely too big for NL and his belief that "he is running this organization" reinforces the belief that everyone who has had anything to do with him always knew. He is not a team player with the exception of working with his CEO. Officials elected by the membership have no say even though "they" are supposed to be in charge, at the will of the people! It appears that the people have made poor choices with the election of this first council. Not one meeting since the band was formed. Gerry Byrne might be a politican and can see the value of supporting what his constitutients want, but isn't that what he was elected to do? As to Mr. Sheppard doing his job, there has been no sign of that to date. A radio broadcast or some info in the newspaper that says they are trying to work with government and ends with "If they refuse to extend the process you people are on your own" does not speak of someone leading, it speaks of tame indians bowing down to Aboriginal and Northern Affairs. If they were true leaders they would meet with the people in the communities and seek their support in forcing the governnment into doing what is needed to fix this mess. I guess he thinks people would probably not support him? 20,000 people speaking with one voice is much more powerful than Mr. Sheppard and the CEO speaking with 2 voices. The government wouldn't like it! Too bad! 100,000 people waiting for a website to be updated with real information takes a back seat to Certificates of appreciation posted from Aboriginal and Northern Affairs to Mr. Sheppard and the CEO for the great job they are doing!! Its a joke and they have made us a joke. Look at the comments above! A real leader would force the removal of the discriminatory remarks above, but I guess someone who tells an elected official to mind his own business probably thinks everything looks okay to him.

  • homer
    January 18, 2013 - 09:24

    kp if you were back on the rock you would be doing the samething your just a newfie who is pretending to be someone else , you got the cowboys in Alberta we got the Indians in Newfoundland, so come back with your own kind and stop pretending you don't have Indain blood in you and if you don't have Indain blood in you come back anyway we will still love and protect you.

  • Mr Corner Brook
    January 18, 2013 - 08:03

    KP, David, Sandy and JCAT are all right. This is nothing more than a money grab. There is NO prejudice and its an embarrassment to our people as Newfoundlanders.The greed and and true intentions are quite evident. All the "brotherhood and unity" is tossed aside as you see the various individuals squabble and fight amongst themselves. Pitiful actually. And Gerry Byrne...hes just using this as a soapbox, just some more free publicity...don't kid yourselves. The only time this guy surfaces is when he's looking for something, and this time its the provincial liberal leadership. Its time to call this stuff what it is, a crock! We are all Newfoundlanders, and if you look back far enough, we all have some Indian in our ancestry. Instead of trying to divide ourselves as Newfoundlanders we should be trying to come together.

  • Sandy
    January 17, 2013 - 21:34

    The early peoples of Newfoundland soon developed into a new breed of people. This new breed was made up of a mix of English, Irish, Scottish, French, Innu, Innuit, Mi'Kmaq, Basque, Jerserymen and many more nationalities yet to follow, These multinational peoples will crossbreed and become known as NEWFOUNDLANDER's (the only species of its kind) and become one of the most respected people of the world, we were prejudice to no one.

    • Sandy
      January 18, 2013 - 08:06

      We are all half breeds, and we help everyone at anytime. So come out and help your own peoples in a time of need. You don't have to agree with the cause in order to support your kin folk. Stop bickering and step up and show some respect and suport for others.

  • JCAT
    January 17, 2013 - 20:51

    Never new NFLD had so many indians...Yep .. NFLD is gonna be one big Indian Reserve before its all said and done..... who would of thunk it ? Whats really going on here ? Looks like a money grab ..another Newfie joke for the mainlanders to laugh at.. I'm sure all the members of of Parliment are... except of course Gerry Byrne.. HELL GERRY YOU MAY QUALIFY FOR NATIVE STATUS.... WHERE CAN I SIGN UP FOR THIS PROGRAM....THERE'S GOT TO BE SOME NATIVE IN ME . KP YOU HIT THE NAIL RIGHT ON THE ...WELL SAID !!!!

    • david
      January 18, 2013 - 09:02

      +1. Time to call a spade a spade, and put the "faux outrage" about racism on the back burner. This is a guiltmoney grab by people today who did not suffer anything or in any way to deserve a penny of it.

  • wILLIAM
    January 17, 2013 - 20:23

    eVERTHING BEING SAID. They knew we were Mi'Kmaq in 1949. Just like our fish and minerals, they sold us away for the good of Canada. They forced us to nelglest our people and think we were dirty because we we Indian. Do people realize what it felt like to be called Jacatar in the most abusive way. I now say thank you when I am called Jacatar. The leadership of out band is so corrupt. Do you realize that sheppard and Annie are millionares...

  • waiting for my status
    January 17, 2013 - 19:46

    Band needs to crack down on the abuse. Status was meant to improve the way of life for the ppl not enable them to buy things that other wise they would not be able to afford. . It was meant for education and medical not luxury cars and truck , campers , motorcycle , skiddoo and sea doos . .stop the abuse and the visits to Conn River.

  • KP
    January 17, 2013 - 19:30

    Oh come on people!!!! There are NOT 100,000 Indians living in Newfoundland!!!! I am from Corner Brook, I have a lot of family and friends who have and are claiming status, I COULD claim status but I'd be as BOGUS an Indian as 90% of those who are claiming it now. I live out here in Alberta (A Newfie in Alberta, who knew?) and I work with Indians/First Nations, I have been on Reserves, I have Indian friends and they can't believe what is going on back home!!!! When I tell them the how distant a relation could be to get your status they can't believe it. AND yes people are doing it for the limited benefits that are there now, Uninsured Health Care Benefit and the Education Funding BUT most are also looking forward to other potential benefits in the future - Fishing Hunting rights, LAND, and possibly not having to drive over to Conne River to get there tax free truck! AS I SAID I AM RELATED TO AND KNOW SOME OF THESE SO-CALLED INDIANS, its a shame and THEY should be ashamed! Right now across the country Indians are protesting and they have a lot to protest about, unfortunately I think they are misdirecting their anger, they need to level it at their own Chiefs and Councils who mismanage, squander and STEAL the money allocated to them. As I said, I know Indians, I have friends who are Indians BUT THEY ARE NOT IN NEWFOUNDLAND.

  • Henry
    January 17, 2013 - 19:03

    I will be at the protest and I urge all applicants to come and show your determination to ensure your legimate voice is heard and to let chief Sheppard and the. Council know that we need their support to ensure. All native rights are protected not. just. Registered natives. Is it about the numbers or is. It about what's right for. All concerned.

  • Ducky
    January 17, 2013 - 18:49

    What happens to those who have received their acceptance letter but nothing else. Half of my family are approved the other half are waiting. My brother was Pat Rumbolt. He worked extremely hard to ensure that the Qalipu band had a strong start. Those of you who do not know the tireless hours he had given to help the natives establish their roots before he died, would not discredit his right to membership. Our hearts are saddened that he did not live to see his dream become a reality. The government is wrong to change any criteria for membership, regardless of why these hopeful members want their status they are entitled to it, BOTTOM LINE. Regardless of those who like it or not. There is no big haul of money. No more than taking it from one government pot to another.

  • Talking Smoke
    January 17, 2013 - 18:07

    I said 10 years ago that if Brendan Sheppard remained a part of the Mi'Kmaq peoples fight for justice in this province that we would suffer more than being left out in 1949... But there is still some hope.. All those who can't get in the band can sue the Qalipu Band and the Federal Government. Those who signed the waiver in your application not to sue the feds after you join the band becomes null and void if you do not become a band member and you can sue away.............And someone should demand to see the documents that were negotiated between Sheppard and the feds on behalf of the Mi'Kmaq people of this province....I think that you will find that the majority of people were negotiated out and not negotiated in...Sheppard has to go.... PLEASE PLEASE remember this at the next elections..................You have 4 years to make a plan and get him the hell out of our culture......

  • ted
    January 17, 2013 - 17:53

    i dont know why some people act so stupid over things thats great for our province.*it might not benitfet us people /but its great for our grand kids for there schooling*whats there to be racist about.*just think our province is fifty years behine on a lot of things here on the island*there are alot of people dont understand what this indian statas is all about.*alot of people that never put there foot on the island should not be accepted*

  • Laura Rumbolt
    January 17, 2013 - 17:11

    I fine this so wrong. You have my father as an elder in all the websites for the band council but his family can't get our status. they lost applications for some of my family and we only found out that by calling cause a few of the family get letters stating the they was native. this is wrong. i feel like this is not what my father wanted when he was the chief of the non status indian over 20 yrs ago. my father believe in fairness to all people. where did this get lost.

    • Gerry Byrne
      January 17, 2013 - 17:44

      The very organization that was born out of protest and the fight against an historic and arbitrary decision not to extend the rights and responsibilities that were inherently guaranteed under the Canadian constitution upon Confederation now looks like an organization perpetuating that same style of supression. Sad!

  • Helen
    January 17, 2013 - 14:44

    I see nothing racist, just the usual political conundrum...what to do? Lack of historical insight has led to unanticipated consequences. The people are not to blame. Accountability is within our rights. We didn't start this but it is our responsibility to see it through.

  • Ann
    January 17, 2013 - 14:43

    Some very large assumptions made in these comments, I'm sure there are some that are only in it for the benefits, but I think it's unfair to say the majority are. Many people had no idea their of their heritage until they explored it, and the majority of whom I know are very interested in being a member. Bottom line is its wrong for the government to change the rules halfway through the process,

    • david
      January 17, 2013 - 15:10

      Yes...just a swelling up of cultural pride at play here Ann.

    • Al
      January 18, 2013 - 11:23

      I beleive the rules are being changed not only by the feds, but, by qalipu as well. I beleive Qalipu made a deal for a specific amount of money for a specific number of members. Now that the numbers of aplicants are gone so high, qalipu council is afraid that there won't be enough money for freinds and family already approved

  • david
    January 17, 2013 - 13:53

    BTW...you do get the irony about trying to play the "racism" card against me or my (quite legitimate and common) opinion, right? This whole "Native heritage" thing is ALL ABOUT race....you get that? This IS racism...very expensive, incredibly inequitable, misplaced racism.

  • John
    January 17, 2013 - 12:01

    Just another way the FNI lost the ball. Twenty years ago there were few indians in Newfoundland. Few to carry the fight. Now there are over 100000 and counting. Interesting to see how many have never set foot in our province and are the cause of locals not being processed yet. Most just want the benefits and are not interested in anything but what they may get.

  • Gerry Byrne
    January 17, 2013 - 10:46

    Some within the band executive have suggested that, for the vast majority of applicants, people really don't care about membership; they just want the benefits. I encourage everyone who genuinely believes that they possess rights and responsibilities that have been created by their ancestry to come out to this peaceful demonstartion. I will be there.

    • Too funny
      January 18, 2013 - 08:13

      "possess rights and responsibilities that have been created by their ancestry". For the majority of the members and applicants, their ancestry is predominatly european. It should be interesting protest against themselves.

  • david
    January 17, 2013 - 10:46

    You don't need to be very intuitive to see how "valueable" people perceive getting into this club is....ka-ching, pass the lootbag and let my government handouts for life begin!

    • Jake
      January 17, 2013 - 13:03

      Whats wrong David you don't qualify thats all thats wrong there

    • Stop the racism
      January 17, 2013 - 13:17

      To @David, please stop. Before you say hateful and racist comments on a public forum, please do your research. Members of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First nations band DO NOT receive "government handouts". There is a medical/dental benefit program that members can avail of similar to any other medical plan. Additionally, there are some educational programs that can help eligible students, not all. Do your research and maybe visit the office and ask some questions. Do not spread these sorts of comments and fuel the racist thoughts that are existing now in our society. You may be surprised that you might be of the very same ancestory as the ones you speak about.

    • david
      January 17, 2013 - 13:47

      Hateful? Heck, I'm jealous! If only there were a contrived, undeserved, bottomless, taxpayer fund to pay for many wants in life, I imagine I'd be "for" it too. But I'd also put up with any related, quite rational, legitimate taxpayer outrage and complaints that will certianly get directed my way.....small price for being royalty.