Former Qalipu chief Brendan Sheppard says Federation of Newfoundland Indians has no grounds to support appeals


Published on April 21, 2017

Brendan Sheppard, former chief of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band is seen in this file photo from January 2013.

©File photo

The former chief of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band is upset about why the Federation of Newfoundland Indians has chosen to support appeals for about 3,800 people denied band membership.

Brendan Sheppard said he has no problem with the Federation of Newfoundland Indians submitting appeals on behalf of the denied applicants and supports the acceptance of any person who can show they meet the criteria for membership.
Sheppard’s issue is with the federation’s reason for offering support — that the enrolment committee may have erred in processing these applicants.
The applicants being supported by the federation all received 12 points under the enrolment process outlined by the supplemental agreement for membership to the Qalipu band. Membership required 13 points.
Those with 12 points likely received three points for living on the island of Newfoundland, but outside a 20-kilometre radius of a Mi’kmaq community, and nine points for being a member of a Mi’kmaq organization prior to 2008.
The elusive 13th point must be obtained by proving a substantial connection to the Mi’kmaq community through frequent visits or communications.
Sheppard said it is unfair to blame the enrolment committee when any blame should be levelled at the Federation of Newfoundland Indians implementation committee, of which Sheppard himself was a member.
The enrolment committee was given a set of guidelines by which to assess each application and they were not permitted to sway from it unless they had the approval of the implementation committee, said Sheppard.
"Many times they asked for leniency and were told this does not fit the parameters by which you must assess the files.”
Sheppard said the point system was established and agreed upon to bring consistency to the review of applications. He said somehow granting an extra point without documented proof of frequent visits or communications will create an inconsistency in the review process.
He said it is appalling the Federation of Newfoundland Indians would now sign off on these appeals.
“I would think that applicants with 11 and 10 points will be asking each other, what, if anything, is the chief of Qalipu doing on our behalf,” said Sheppard.

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