Anomalies galore reported at Qalipu end of enrolment community session

Published on February 16, 2017

Laura White talks about the cost of finally getting a card and is hoping others that were turned down will get the help they need. She was one of more than 200 people to attend a Qalipu end of enrolment community session at the Stephenville Lions Club on Thursday. Looking on is Frank Russell.

©Frank Gale/TC Media

Laura White talked of knowing she had aboriginal ancestry since she was four years old, but never having the proof.

She said because she left the province to get an education she was denied access to the Indian Band but during the years worked hard on getting recognition as an aboriginal person.

White said it was costly but she came home twice a year, all while raising two boys.

“I was approved in this enrolment, but it cost a lot. I moved back home and, despite a Bachelor of Arts Degree, I don’t have a job,” she said on Thursday night at the Qalipu end of enrolment session in Stephenville.

It’s her hope that people will be put in place to help those who haven’t been accepted.

Qalipu Chief Brendan Mitchell assured her there is help for anyone who had been turned down but is eligible for appeal.

There were lots of questions from the more than 200 people who were in attendance at the meeting, the largest group yet at the sessions that took place throughout the Bay St. George Region and already held at Flat Bay, Port au Port and St. George’s.

The Lions Den was originally booked for the meeting, but it was moved to the larger bingo hall portion of the building.

Mitchell is expecting an even larger crowd on hand for the session in Corner Brook at the Pepsi Centre Room 2 at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27.

Vera McCann spoke passionately about receiving her letter telling her that she was declined for not meeting residency requirement, yet she has lived in Stephenville her whole life.

She said the irony is that her two daughters, who went through her line, got accepted and are not even living in the province.

Gary O’Quinn was irked by the fact that after filing several times, including prior to the Sept. 22, 2011 deadline and again after, that he never got a letter. He said of the 10 children in the O’Quinn family, there was only one that got in.

“There’s some kind of scheme going on and there should be a federal inquiry into this,” he said.

Pat Marche said as this process moved along there seemed to be a concern about the number of people who were applying and they wanted to keep the numbers down.

Marche said he has a daughter who lives in Nova Scotia, whose kids go to school with Mi’kmaq friends and the sad part is now they won’t be able to prove they are aboriginal.

“It’s immoral and cruel to change somebody from being a card-holder to not being one,” he said.

Mitchell made it clear that Qalipu will do what it can in the next 13 months to try and retain as many members as possible.

“No Mi’kmaq person should have to give up a card after having it for six years,” he said.

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