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EDITORIAL: Foundation will help members find identity

The new Qalipu Cultural Foundation is aimed at helping members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations Band find their identity.

Launched at the K’taqmkuk Mi’kmaq Museum in St. George’s on Wednesday, it was spelled out that this foundation is dedicated to reaching out to members by providing programs and services.

These would include culture, history and heritage workshops, elder community engagement sessions, Mi’kmaq language classes and genealogy programs.

While the revival of the Mi’kmaq culture has been ongoing for a number of years, there is also recognition that many of the newer members know little of their culture. As was pointed out by Qalipu member Dana Squire at the launch of the foundation, now is the right time for this to be taking place.

Through organizations like the Bay St. George Cultural Circle, a small segment of the Mi’kmaq population has already been gathering, sharing teachings, conducting ceremonies, teaching traditional skills such as drumming and singing, creating crafts and engaging local communities to participate and learn about the Mi’kmaq Culture.

This foundation will help bring these services to many more members who want to seek out their history, culture and even the language if they are interested in finding out where they came from. Having genealogy available will also help members to further reach into their family’s past.

While the foundation seems to be saving it for another day, a yearly signature event is being planned, with the first expected to take place this September. While that hasn’t been finalized yet, it’s something else to which members can look forward.

Sherry Dean, foundation vice chair, pointed out that right now they are just babies in this process and that the launch was a milestone towards closing a gap in knowledge of the past.

It all amounts to Qalipu members discovering where they came from and truly finding their identity for those who want to delve into their culture and their history.

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