Qalipu enrolment committee not working towards a quota

Diane Crocker
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As the enrolment committee set up to review applications to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band gets into scrutinizing applications, Ron Penney said they are doing so without any magic number in mind.

“There’s not been any kind of quota,” said Penney, chair of the enrolment committee, from St. John’s on Monday.

“So the number is what the number is. The whole objective is to provide status to applicants who have a legitimate connection to the community. There’s absolutely no quota.”

Monday was the final day some 96,000 applicants had to submit additional information in hopes of convincing the enrolment committee of that legitimate connection.

Penney said “thousands” of additional packages had been submitted and he expects a lot more to be received over the next few days as they make their way, postmarked on or before Monday, through the mail to Winnipeg.

Once in Winnipeg the additional information will be scanned and added to the original application packages of the individual applicants. Those electronic files will then be available to all committee members for review.

“They’re trying to make it as practical as possible,” said Penney.

Penny’s committee includes two members from the band and two from the federal government. They meet for a week every month in Winnipeg.

“We have to approve every application, but some are quite clear cut one way or the other.”

For the ones that aren’t so clear, Penney said the committee will look at each one in detail.

Right now they are dealing with applications from people who are either a resident of or live within 20 kilometres of a recognized Mi’kmaq community.

“So it you’re a resident and you have your status then that’s it,” he said and noted about 16,000 to 17,000 people will fall into this category.

He expects the review of those applications will be completed by the end of March and then the committee will move on to the other 80,000 applications. In reviewing those, Penney said the committee will be looking for people to provide information on self identification.

“Were they a member of a previous band or have they identified themselves in some other way.”

Then they’ll look at the issue of community acceptance.

“They have to show evidence that they’ve been engaged in the cultural life of the Mi’kmaq.”

Penney said it’s all being done on a point system and if an applicant accumulates the necessary 13 points and meets the ancestry requirement then they are approved as a member of the band.

The committee has until the end of August 2015 to complete its review. After that applicants will be informed of the outcome.

Unsuccessful applicants will then have one more opportunity to be accepted through an appeal process. The appeal process is to run until the end of March 2016. After that all successful applicants will see their names added to the band’s founders list.

Organizations: Qalipu enrolment committee

Geographic location: Winnipeg

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Recent comments

  • Qalipu
    April 06, 2014 - 18:07

    I'm not sure why or how they came up with their Mi'kmaq list of residencies. Historically, which can be found in the archives at memorial universtiy, Newfoundland heritage sites online and in numerous books, one of the first settlements of the Mi'kmaq's was the Codroy Valley. They paddled from Cape breton and landed in Caperay, or the Grand codroy river area. The first settlers in the codroy valley, were two english brothers and various mi'kmaq families. When Howley was in search of the coal in the codroy valley for the reid company, they enquired through the Mi'kmaqs residing at the grand codroy river who found the seam first. In any mention of the Codroy valley and its first settlements, or of the Mi'kmaqs settlement on the island, Codroy valley is one of the first places mentioned of their settlement. Yet, there are dozens of other communities which are now listed and the Codroy Valley is not. Anyone reading this response, type in history of the codroy valley, or Mi'kmaq in newfoundland or Mi'kmaq history, It won't be hard to find. Why are people from the codroy valley required to send in more information then another comminity which probably wasn't settled by mi'kmaq for another 50 years. And why should that matter anyway of the location.

  • Marilyn
    February 17, 2014 - 08:49

    I do NOT live in one of the Mikmaq communities.. I live where the Mikmaq people lived many years ago > codroy valley!!! We have to live off the land...we can not run to a big shopping mall to buy the freshes fruit and vegetables like the people of cornerbrook & stephenville ... Ok, so who really lives the Mikmaq way of life??... Yet out community is not on the list?

  • Betrayal
    February 17, 2014 - 07:36

    Do all Natives across Canada have to fall under the same criteria to meet Indian status Mr. Penney? I think Not. Also, If there was no quota why change the rules? As for Chief BS, Enjoy your time as Chief, it won't last long. See you in Court.

  • Howard Hewitt
    February 16, 2014 - 08:50

    Mr. Penny, you don't have to review the applications with a quota in mind. The criterion for acceptance has been carefully crafted as to achieve the quota of approximately 20,000 that Chief Sheppard said he wanted 2 or 3 years ago. He has little to worry about now that he and the feds has designed square holes that in which he know most of the round pegs of the Mi'Kmaq won't fit. You will achieve your goal but your name like that of, Benedict Arnold, will live for generations in infamous among the Mi'Kmaq people.

  • christopher l young
    February 15, 2014 - 23:52

    Well right from the beginning it was set up wrong.Explain too me how anyone if the parents were Native and the children had too give the same information why couldn't the group look at the parents and if qualify then the children had todo was submit their birth parents and the enrolement would be much easier.I do have a registered card Mi'Kmaq .from Gov't of NL.The band was .Benoit First Nation.Taqamkuk.Now how is it that a person in Winnipeg is looking if i'am Qualpiu Mi'Mkmaq.I should have that job and that it is my blood my family and my people .That the federal and Provincial gov't screwed all my Qualipu Mi'Kmaq family.

  • G. Davis
    February 12, 2014 - 10:49

    Interesting perspective here. I have lived in Ontario for 28 years now. I have 4 brothers and sisters all living in the Western NL region. We have all applied for status. Potentially, my 4 brothers and sisters will obtain their status because they still live in the area, but I might now because I do not live in the area? We have the same blood in our will be interesting to see how this turns out.

  • D. Lee
    February 11, 2014 - 21:38

    I live next to huge Native Reserve, the Tsuu t'ina, First Nation. I have yet to meet a Native person there who berry picks, or fishes, much less hunts. As a matter of fact; most who drive to the huge new Grey Eagle, casino; causing traffic tie-ups, live elsewhere. I feel this , self described idealistic, Mi'kmaq way of life Mr. Penney speaks of, is a discriminatory, invented unfair process. It discriminates against those in society who are fragile, or elderly- for traditional activities, or where one lives- does not make a person Native.

  • Terri-Lynn Levesque
    February 11, 2014 - 17:41

    I agree with the previous statement that no matter where you live now should have no merit into your acceptance or not. We had to move away years ago for medical reasons that could not be treated in corner brook or St. John's. We had to stay here in Ontario to receive on going medical treatments and as such we had to secure jobs to cover the medical expense. Why are we being discriminated because of that. DNA is DNA. Your blood doesn't change cause you live somewhere else. It's so upsetting that we are bring discriminated. We need to hire a lawyer to fight the government on this. It's not right.

  • LD
    February 11, 2014 - 01:10

    Thank you. I also wonder about who was hired from Nfld, for the enrolment committee, one from the 'good old boys club' who wanted no new comers, or a helpful genuine person supporting the people? Meanwhile, we are a landless band, who wanders like our ancestors, yet if we wander or move away, we are supposed to own land in the Mi'kmaq community. Still say its a bureaucratic genocide.

  • LD
    February 11, 2014 - 00:41

    Thank you. I also wonder about who was hired from Nfld, for the enrolment committee, one from the 'Good old boys club' who wanted no new comers, or a helpful genuine person supporting the people? Meanwhile, we are a landless band, who wanders like our ancestors, yet if we wander or move away, are supposed to own land in a Mi'kmaq community. Still say its a bureaucratic genocide.

  • LD
    February 11, 2014 - 00:40

    Thank you. I also wonder about who was hired from Nfld, for the enrolment committee, one from the 'Good old boys club' who wanted no new comers, or a helpful genuine person supporting the people? Meanwhile, we are a landless band, who wanders like our ancestors, yet if we wander or move away, are supposed to own land in a Mi'kmaq community. Still say its a bureaucratic genocide.

  • Richard
    February 10, 2014 - 22:11

    LD...I agree with your comments 1,000% the whole process is a sham and a money grab...nothing more. The whole thing will come down to a huge court case...more money, hurt feelings and family feuds!

  • Nancy
    February 10, 2014 - 18:27

    Where a person now lives should have no bearing on them being accepted. They have the same DNA and ancestry no matter where they now live. Many had to leave their "home" to find employment and support their families - much better option than being on welfare don't your think.

    • Rodney
      February 10, 2014 - 23:14

      Nancy, I'm with you 100%. A lot of communities offer little to no employment opportunities which forced people to move away for work. If the DNA link has been proven a persons status should be granted without question.

  • LD
    February 10, 2014 - 17:08

    The number should never have been capped number, nor a deadline made for one's heritage in the first place. This entire process has cost everyone. I don't think they even know, what they have done to people, by placing such a burden of stress upon them. Personally for me, and my family it cost physically, emotionally and financially. My daughter spent several thousand to fly home from halfway around the world to defend her heritage. It took at least, 4-500 hours to put this together- to find, research -what should have been kept simple- as it was, by DNA or an ancestor's blood line. I have bought new printers and spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of ink. It cost money in extra plastic files, labels, binders and supplies. Just today it was over $50 dollars to photo copy before sending my file, and another $46 to mail two envelopes to express post. The enrolment committee, Mi’kmaq community and Chief, through aboriginal affairs, has already unfairly, made unreasonable, near impossible horribly stressful demands, as a way to get rid of people, so why would they cap the number now? This request was discrimination against the elderly and very ill who couldn't fly back or, go moose hunting to meet their description of being Native. This is a human rights violation as it's a genocide, it is a bureaucratic genocide of a select group of people, with no way to fight back. No other group in Canada, has had these demands due to greed and bullying, made upon them to keep their Status. It's wrong.

    • P. Jesty
      February 14, 2014 - 13:03

      There seems to be so much confusion and mistrust surrounding the Qalipu Enrolment Committee and this whole process of obtaining status. And it's no wonder with all the changes and new guidelines that are being pushed down our throats by the Federal Government. The acceptance process was changed after many had already received status but before the larger group went through in 2012. That to me is unfair. Acceptance was based on ancestry and blood-line in the beginning and now it is also based on proving "legitimate connection to the community." I live in Corner Brook which is one of the designated communities for acceptance in the band. And now that's not enough!!! Now I have to prove that I have attended ceremonial celebrations and live the Mi'kmaq way of life. What next??? How do I prove that I attended the latest Pow-Wow or that I attended a ceremonial dance celebration that was held this summer. I'm sure they won't accept word of mouth.....everything else has to be documented. And why did the criteria change half way through this process?? I know people who have their membership cards already and some who have been approved but have not received their cards yet and I have personally asked them if they had to prove "legitimate connection to the community" the same as we do. And guess what....the answer is NO!!! Different rules, different criteria, different acceptance committees.....where will it end? So unfair, but so typical of our Government trying to take control and keep the numbers down. What are they afraid of? Every person with proven ancestry to the Mi'kmaq deserve to be approved and should be approved as members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band. A person living in Ottawa or Nova Scotia or Corner Brook with proven ancestry should be accepted on blood line, not where you live. There is power in numbers, maybe we all need to "band" together and demand answers.