Qalipu FN: Stephenville Community Session Report
February 20, 2017
The Stephenville Community Session occurred on February 16, 2017. It is estimated that 200 – 210 people were in attendance and the session lasted approximately 2.5 hours. The representatives for QFN and the FNI were as follows:
- Howard Thistle, NIHB Navigator
- Alison White, Communication Officer
- Randy Drover, Band Manager
Member/Applicant Question Period
The following issues and concerns were raised by members and applicants:
- It is difficult to make an appeal without submitting new information. People should be able to submit new evidence with their appeal to make their case.
- INAC support line is not living up to commitments being made to callers.
- It is not clear why some family members, who submitted the same ancestry information, were approved and others were not.
- Points were not awarded for FNI membership in certain cases.
- There is not enough time to properly complete an appeal by March 31, 2017. More time is needed to ensure a proper argument can be developed.
- It is wrong to recognize certain family members and not others.
- It is terrible that people in the RCMP and the military were not given special consideration regarding residency.
- The Supplemental Agreement adversely impacted all our families.
- Considerable resources were used to bring people in, remove people, and to now kick people out of Qalipu.
- The parties were advised the numbers of the FNI were not correct when the AIP was being negotiated. They were focused on the FNI numbers but they didn’t consider the family connections in our communities.
- We need to protect everyone. There should be no limit as to when you can apply.
- Enrolment Committee meetings should have been held in Corner Brook.
- People should not have been treated differently because they had to leave for employment or education. There was no employment here.
- Association with another Band in Canada should have been recognized in this process.
- Conditions for self-ID are ludicrous. Concerning the Census, for example, there was no section for you to declare you were Aboriginal. The self-ID requirements were nearly impossible to meet.
- There’s something wrong with this process.
- Supplementary Agreement came with a directive. Were additional directives given to the Enrolment Committee? The reasons, or details, for people being rejected varies, and it sometimes cannot be easily discovered in the documents that was published.
- There are many lawyers in our Bands who struggle to understand these agreements – how do we expect regular people to comprehend?
- The INAC line is not helpful. Some people are being rude.
- People focused on ancestry – they didn’t realize so much attention would be placed on group acceptance and self-ID piece. People were told to focus on ancestry at the time.
- What happened when the family packages were submitted? Were they separated?
- If people had the opportunity to submit additional documents, they would qualify for Founding Membership.
- If the process was done properly, why are there so many inconsistencies?
- The Mi’kmaq people were denied since 1949. It should come as no surprise that we have 103,000 people looking for membership in Qalipu.
- Did government want people to stay in the communities and go on social assistance? People left to obtain employment.
- It wasn’t easy for some people who lived away to make it back to their communities on a frequent basis.
- It was extremely difficult for people to maintain the connection to the Mi’kmaq Group of
Indians of Newfoundland. There is no program to help people come home. It is very costly for people to travel back and forth.
- Canada and Qalipu must help people write their appeals.
- Joe Smallwood made one mistake in 1949, but the Supplemental Agreement makes many more. It is silly to think that a Mi’kmaq person who goes to Nova Scotia, for example, is no longer Mi’kmaq.
- The Federal Government should be taken to court.
- People are willing to lose their cards to get this process right.
- A Federal Inquiry should be launched to determine what happened. The decisions from the Enrolment Committee are not understandable.
- Members/Applicants living in and around annex B communities were rejected based on residency and were subjected to the points system. It is not clear why this happened.
- What we are experiencing is a deliberate attempt to distort the picture to confuse and take power away from the people.
- Local MHA is receiving feedback from the constituents.
- Provincial Government here to support anything Qalipu wishes to do.