UPDATED: Mi'kmaq First Nation Assembly of Newfoundland weighing its options

Diane
Diane Crocker
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Latest News

CORNER BROOK  The Mi’kmaq First Nation Assembly of Newfoundland will decide Thursday night what action it will take now that applicants to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band are getting rejection letters.

Hector Pearce, vice-chair of the assembly, said the group had a conference call with its lawyers Monday to discuss its available options.

“There are a couple of options that we’ll look at,” said Pearce, who declined to elaborate on those options before the meeting.

“We will decide on a course of action Thursday night. We have to.”

With the rejection letters going out last week, Pearce said the group — which is represented by Gowlings, a firm that specializes in aboriginal law — has a grace period of about 30 days if it is going to take any legal action.

 The reasons given for the rejections tend to be either that a release form included in the application was not signed or that the applicant’s long-form birth certificate was not submitted.

Based on the feedback the assembly has been getting its estimating that between 60 and 70 per cent of those rejected fall into the category of not sending in a long-form birth certificate, while another 20 per cent were rejected because they didn’t sign their application.

But Pearce said people are telling the assembly that they did sign their applications and did include the long-form birth certificates and they have copies to prove that.

“In a number of cases the reasons for rejection just appears to be bogus,” said Pearce.

“It just appears that the enrolment committee is rejecting people,” he said adding that people have no chance to appeal.

 

‘False information’

“If we had gone through exactly the same process as the original 30,000 (applicants and members) and if we had been rejected for reasons that that enrolment committee were stating we could accept that,” said Pearce. “But we can’t accept rejection based on what we consider to be false information.”

Pearce said the rejections have nothing to do with the information contained in the applications.

“It has nothing to do with whether you’re of Mi’kmaq ancestry or not. That’s not the question,” he said. “The government is not concerned about that in my opinion, they’re just not concerned about it. What they’re concerned about and their priority in this whole process is to get the numbers for the Qalipu Mi’kmaq band down to approximately 10,000 people.”

That, he said, means they have to eliminate about 90,000 applications.

“They’re not even looking at what would be the essence of the application, which is am I considered of Mi’kmaq ancestry based on the information I’ve submitted. And that should be the question and their answer should be based on that question. But instead of that they’re just trying to reduce the numbers.”

Two of Pearce’s grandsons received letters of rejection stating their long-form birth certificates were not included.

“Which is bogus. My files show that we did submit the long form, and so that rejection is not valid,” he said.

He also expects to receive a rejection letter.

“I suspect the reason will be the same.”

 

Earlier story

CORNER BROOK  The Mi’kmaq First Nation Assembly of Newfoundland will decide Thursday night what action it will take now that applicants to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band are getting rejection letters.

Hector Pearce, vice-chair of the assembly, said the group had a conference call with its lawyers on Monday to discuss its available options.

“There are a couple of options that we’ll look at Thursday night,” said Pearce, who declined to elaborate on those options before the meeting.

“We will decide on a course of action Thursday night. We have to,” he said.

With the rejection letters going out last week, Pearce said the group, which is represented by Gowlings, a law firm that specializes in aboriginal law, has a grace period of about 30 days if it is going to take any legal action.

The Mi’kmaq First Nation Assembly of Newfoundland, originally known as the Qalipu Watchdogs, was formed to fight for the fair treatment of all band applicants after questions arose about whether or not some 70,000 outstanding applications for membership would be evaluated.

The group’s concerns were further strengthened when the band and the federal government entered into a review of the enrolment process aimed at reducing band membership. That review resulted in a supplemental agreement between the band and federal government that includes a full review of all applications, including those outstanding and those already approved.

Last week applicants started receiving letters of rejection from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. The reasons given for rejection tend to be either that a release form included in the application was not signed or that the applicants long-form birth certificate was not submitted.

Since then Pearce said the assembly has been hearing from a lot of those impacted saying the reasons they were rejected is just not true.

“In a number of cases the reasons for rejection just appears to be bogus,” said Pearce.

Organizations: First Nation Assembly of Newfoundland, Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Mike Doucette
    March 05, 2014 - 14:40

    This is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS !! I think all of us that have been wrongly denied should storm parliament in great old NFLD. Then Ottawa. About 90 000 unhappy Mikmaq descendants should at least get there attention.

  • marina royal
    December 09, 2013 - 22:53

    Well back in May or June of 2012about 2to3years of paper work I got a letter stating I met all the criteria a nd was approved a nd if I never heard anything within 30 days of receiving the letter I would get my government card..then over another year and a half I get a letter telling me it's up to me if I want to send more paper work..I don't run a paper mill and I was born and Indian and will die one!!!what do they want from me..moose skin.rabbit skins???someone tell me please!!!!!..thank you.

  • Brian
    December 03, 2013 - 18:45

    First let me say I am totally discussed with the leader ship of the Mi'kmaq of Newfoundland .A contract was signed and sealed , status cards were issued to those that qualified and now they may be revoked. Only inNewfoundland would this be allowed to happen. Only in Newfoundland would a chief get away with breaching such a contract. In my opinion he should have been let go as chief. Now the whole integrity process has been tarnished. I live in Ontario born and raised as a Mi'kmaq in Newfoundland. I am as much a Mi'kmaq as our wonderful chief Shepard. I may not get home as much as I like but. Mi'kmaq I am. if the Feds want to amend the contract and add I will keep my status if I move back home, I will. This they will never do, it has now come down to dollars and cents and The Feds do not want to give any away. Asthe deal stands today a Mi'kmaq living in Newfoundland after 2015 could move off the island and move right next door to me here in Ontario and keep his status. What a joke this has become. The Feds along with Shepard have screwed legitimate Mi'kmaq applicants and tarnished the band for years to come. The Feds and Shepard are laughing all the way to the bank. Only In Newfoundland.

    • puddin
      December 09, 2013 - 23:02

      If you can't stand and represent. Our people. When we need you to..then your not. The right chief of our people!!!!

  • Brenden Gillam
    November 18, 2013 - 21:51

    Mr Pearce is 100% correct. "Quote" am I considered of Mi’kmaq ancestry based on the information I’ve submitted and that should be the question and their answer should be based on that question "Unquote". It can not be any more simple than that!!!!

  • Paul
    November 18, 2013 - 11:27

    I received my letter. It was in order however I have to submit documents proving acceptance by community / self identification by January 31, 2014. I read details on self identifying and I do not fit those requirements. My sister is registered and her family will most likely be rejected on the new rules setting up self identification. As far as I am concerned I self identified when I signed my application as I gave all ancestry details as proof... The second round will soon show that the amendment to the agreement is structured to reduce numbers no matter if your family have very strong connections to the Mi'kmag. Others will be rejected for not signing docs or supplying afadavids not withstanding the the other proofs sent establishing anstery. Chief Sheppard and ward members how can you all sleep at night? Your brothers and sisters are struggling with this. What a way to start the history of this band. It should not have to come to a legal challenge. The Mi'kmag and the Federal governments sense of fairness and transparency is not apparent in this round of application review. Current members of this band should now ask the leadership questions on this matter as some of you will now have relatives barred from being members of this band. How can you have whole family's affected like this? The June 2013 self identification rules will cause wholesale rejections of applications as it was designed to make it almost to get the required docs, etc... Mi'kmaq members standup for your family it is the right and honorable thing to do. Ask Chief Sheppard and the ward councillors why your siblings may not be able to be a part of their birthright because of the June 13 supplemental agreement on self identification which makes it near impossible to attain.

  • Rick Callahan
    November 17, 2013 - 07:51

    keep checking The Western Star

  • SA
    November 14, 2013 - 21:39

    The "supplemental agreement" is an elimination process, nothing else. It changes the rules for eligibility - retroactively! Indeed it now precludes that the vast majority will be found ineligible. It eliminates those who left their home to find work, while brothers or sisters staying behind are accepted. They left home so they need not hunt and trap to survive and now they and their children are denied and punished. This is leadership by the bands, and government? Call them - First Nation Disassembly of Nfld and Dept of Aboriginal Quotas and Northern Abuse. A sad, sad day for Nfld and "our people".

  • annoyimous
    November 13, 2013 - 09:41

    I receievd a rejection letter stating my daughters application was denied based on not being signed by applicant and legal gauradian, however when i reveiwed my copy of the application the full and final release was indeed signed off and witnessed. I contacted the organization that forwarded me the letter in winnipeg and had to leave my name and number.. i havent heard from them yet, a week later. So yes there is alot of bogus denials. I will be keepng a close eye to the next steps og this group.

  • R.C.
    November 13, 2013 - 09:20

    PP is absolutely correct. I only heard about this recently as I have been out of the Province, and country, with the Canadian Armed Forces for the past 37 years and don't have any immediate family left in the province. I am accustomed to the unfair methods called "Government process", but, a blood line is a blood line whether I'm being shot at or not.

  • PP
    November 12, 2013 - 23:57

    I found it very difficult to get information on how to go about applying as I am in another province other than NL. It was difficult to reach anyone and the help I did receive did not do me any justice. We were unable to reach the deadline for my family as they were not returning my calls and not giving me sufficient information on how to do things from out of province.