Chief Liz LaSaga of the Flat Bay Band Inc. is questioning the hiring of John Davis as the new general manager of the Qalipu Development Corporation.
However, Chief Brendan Mitchell of Qalipu First Nation said its disappointing and shameful when all Qalipu is trying to do is put the right people in place to help their people.
LaSaga said as a strong advocate for hiring Qalipu Band members or, at the very least, culturally seasoned Indigenous people, especially in leadership roles. She questions why Davis was hired when, from her understanding, he is not a Qalipu member.
“For the record, I do not know Mr. Davis and based on my inquiries the calibre of his credentials are not a question. This is not personal to Mr. Davis whatsoever,” LaSaga said.
She said members of the public asked her to determine if the level of diligence is satisfactory.
LaSaga said she is not quite clear on that yet, but said a few of her concerns have been already satisfied by Qalipu Band manager Keith Goulding.
Mitchell said Davis is self-identified as a Mi’kmaq person, has applied for membership in the band and is connected to the Brake family in Humbermouth with a strong Mi’kmaq lineage.
He said Qalipu hiring requirements prefer the candidate be a Qalipu member but the idea in the end is to get the best candidate for the job and Davis fill those requirements as a well-educated person with decades of experience in the type of job he has for which he has been hired.
LaSaga believes new leaders in the region need in-depth training.
“I am not talking about the practices and traditions, but training on the Mi’kmaq profile of Newfoundland and Labrador, how our mentalities are carved from the notorious oppression period and what effects it has on us (weak and strong) in our make-up today,” she said.
LaSaga said Flat Bay has the means and connections to provide this training and that she has offered it to the former leadership of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians and Qalipu First Nation many times but it was always avoided, even mocked.
Mitchell doesn’t believe people should be interfering in what Qalipu is doing and said creating conflict is unnecessary and disappointing when Mi’kmaq people across the island should be creating unity instead.