Prospective band members’ applications now in jeopardy

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As many of your readers know, a few months ago thousands of applicants to the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band found out that their applications will probably not be considered.

Consequently, a group of those applicants formed an organization called the Qalipu Watchdogs, and over the past two months this organization has been fighting to have our applications considered by the parties involved, namely the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band.

An agenda at play

In response to questioning in the House of Commons by Liberal MP Gerry Byrne (Humber—St. George’s—St. Barbe) it became clear that neither of these parties want a large membership into the Band, and both parties are changing the criteria to bring about this result.

According to federal government officials Greg Rickford and Chris Alexander, the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations Band asked for these changes and is a party to this action.

This action will not only result in over 70,000 applicants being in jeopardy, but many existing members will also be in jeopardy with this new criteria.

This demonstrates blatant disrespect for band members and for people who applied in good faith.

Hector Pearce

Vice-chair, Qalipu Watchdogs

Organizations: Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, House of Commons

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Recent comments

  • Bonita Wanhala
    August 27, 2016 - 20:49

    Before this process was subject to renewal my application was accepted and I was sent a letter confirming this. Most of my family have been granted status. What is happening now is a travesty, who can we trust if we cannot trust the people we elect?

  • kathleen
    April 29, 2013 - 00:09 it is scary to me how the last socially acceptable form of predjudise in this country seems to be natives

    • david
      April 30, 2013 - 00:09

      You just aren't paying attention to anything else...

  • kathleen
    April 27, 2013 - 11:50

    pretty tired of hearing the "my taxes" argument.....all native funding comes from a's their money....and has been for over 150 managed by the government.....and believe me they have managed to their advantage..... "The Government of Canada is the trustee over First Nations Trust accounts worth today over $2 trillion. It earns an annual interest of over $35 billion."

    • david
      April 27, 2013 - 17:13

      First off, I ?Googled your quote. It apparently was lifted from some Facebook post. Certianly must be 100% factual then, right? So, let's move on from there: $35 billion annual interest on $2 trillion amounts to a 1.75% interest rate. That would simply be a horrendous, deplorable, unprofessional mismanagement of funds....(if it was true...). Next: where would the government have gotten $2 trillion to fund such a Trust, if it does exist? Petty cash laying around? would have to have issued bonds in the capital market to raise the money. Bonds that bear interest, interest that must be paid by the issuer --- the government --- every year. How? Through taxpayers like me. So, you see? There's no "free, unaccounted for money" to finance and supply Natives with Kathleen, Just in your dreams....inspired by Facebook. So get over your tiredness about the very valid argument over "my taxes" ..... it only gets worse.

  • Duffy
    April 24, 2013 - 21:04

    David could not have said it better BUT I guess he is not Politically Correct. God forbid anyone say anything about the Indians.

    • david
      April 25, 2013 - 12:14

      Thx, Duffy. Being mindlessly PC is the idiotic BS that got us bent into pretzels over these paralyzing non-issues. BTW, it can't be an insult to Indians if they aren't Indians...that's kind of the crux of the situation.

  • Richard
    April 23, 2013 - 12:24

    David, don't worry, nobody on here gives a rat's pube what you think either!

  • Richard
    April 23, 2013 - 12:12

    Marsha, you said that you applied in August of 2012 and you have not heard anything and that you have relatives that live in Ontario that applied at the same time August of 2012 and they already have their status cards? I have a huge problem with that, if you are correct on the dates. I applied in June of 2010, waited 2 years to be accepted into the Band and now 11 months, on top of the 2 years I still do not have my Status! Another example of the dirty work at QFNs!

  • Linda
    April 22, 2013 - 14:45

    I don't see why the government does not implement one procedure for every applicant to follow. I know all of my life I was told we were of native decent on both my grandmother and grandfather's when I decided that I wanted to verify this I went to a professional who did background research, pulled all birth certificates, visited with family and with other elderly residents of the community to verify such facts. This individual then put together a complete heritage profile of my family and certified that my family is 100% native on both my grandmother and grandfather's sides. Yes this did cost some money, however, if more than one member is willing to join in the cost can be split and the report done correctly and the blood lines verified. This would cut down on alot of the paperwork and individuals who tried to trace bloodlines by themselves and prepare reports tracing back several individuals who they aren't even sure if they are the correct family members as back in the day they had a habit of naming everyone after someone else and names got very confusing.

  • Native Nflder
    April 19, 2013 - 21:08

    I don't care who gets recognized as "aboriginal" and I don't care who does not. What I do care about is being left with the bill for drug cards, free education, tax exemptions etc. There are many true aboriginals that have always been proud of their heritage living in the Bay st George and surrounding area as well as Conn River. What I find amusing, or maybe sickening are the jonny come lately crowd that are up in arms because they have yet to get the "card". If you are so proud of your heritage the card should mean nothing along with the monetary benefits it allows. To rant on about heritage and ancestors when a lot of these people only discovered their native blood after the money started to flow makes sympathy for the cause hard to obtain. If you are in it for the money have the guts to say it, at least it would be honest. Before you judge me, let me say I would fall under the requirements to get the "card" but I don't want it. I was never raised as an Indian and had no idea there were any in my family tree till I was informed by a relative. I have no native pride and don't want a free ride on the taxpayers of Canada just because I can. Let the true natives have the card and get off the bandwagon, its too crowded.

    • Native Newfoundlander
      April 27, 2013 - 09:43

      I don't care who gets recognized as aboriginal either but the comment about tax payers being left with the bill for drug cards,free education,tax exemptions etc. You are paying them out everyday if you look around and see what is spent on the social services in this provience and country. Whats the difference. But if you are intitled to have your status by all means it should be all not just a chosen few.

  • disgruntled
    April 19, 2013 - 09:45

    Isnt it sad when people who should be celebrating their heritage together, which was at one point considered to be a shameful thing, can't look past politics and money. I hear that the number of Status Indians is the reason why they wish to change the rules which they are contractually obligated to follow. But these are my question... How does the number of aboriginal people in the band affect the band?? What are the negative effects? Does it cost more to opporate the band council? Does brendan sheppard get a pay rate decrease? Are peoples benefits in jeopardy? Do some individuals loose out on school funding, and if so what criteria must they meet to get it in the first place? What are the positive effects ? Do we have a stronger voice as a people? Do we have more people making decisions, rather than an inner circle of friends making decisions that benefit them and theirs(not saying that happens)? Do we obtain better grants? Are there more career opportunities? Would all of this even matter if there wasnt some sort of monetary gain on the line somewhere???? We have Stephan Harper's bully government on one side, and on the other we have "we the people". If the government had their way, we would all be like the Beothuk.

  • Richard
    April 18, 2013 - 11:46

    Cindy, I concur with your statement. One thing that needs to be added is that the Government is changing the rules because of certain people at Qalipu First Nations. The QFNs made their concerns about the high number of applicants know to the Feds along with suggestions to implement these changes, the Qalipu First Nations is a major party to this action. Yes our own people that we trusted and relied upon to fight for us when Government funding ran out, did the complete opposite...nothing except find ways to disqualify over 70,000 applicants that acted in good faith according to the criteria that the QFNs set in the beginning. I have lost all respect for the band, they are only looking out for themselves. I will get my status through other means, I do NOT want to be affiliated with a group that disrespects their own people. I hope that the 20 thousand plus with Status in NL and that are members of the QFNs will demand answers from their Chief on this issue or they could find their Status revoked. Sadly, this is a fact!

    • Marsha
      April 19, 2013 - 00:52

      Richard, I too have applied for my status. I sent my application in Aug 2012 and attended the Qalipu POW WOW last summer where I was introduced to many of my family that I had not met before. My family heritage on Newfoundland is a large number. I receive my direct heritage from my grandmother who raised mein Ontrio and who was herself born and raised in Flat Bay. All of my cousins have recevied their status cards, even ones who live in Ontario and applied at the same time as I have received their status. We are of the same family and my application has not been processed. You said in your post that you will get your status by other means. How does a person do that. I am by blood and family a First Nations decendant as well.

  • Colin Burke
    April 18, 2013 - 06:34

    The federal government erred by relying on the number of people "self-identified as native" in a census without stating that only those people would qualify for native status. That may not have been its only error, of course, but it was an important one from the government's point of view.

    • Richard
      April 18, 2013 - 11:52

      Colin...there's one problem with your does one self-identify as Native on a census when NL's Natives were Not recognized by the Government until September of 2011. While a large number of us knew we were of Native blood many of us never knew that fact until recently. Just saying.

  • joey
    April 17, 2013 - 19:00

    I agree every application should be read and if those people meet the blood lines required through birth certificates etc you should recieve your status. and living the Micmac way of life in nfld applicants living out of the province they get status cards only.They should not be able to vote for council or chief if you dont live in the province .Newfoundlanders can choose their own destiny and benifits should be geared to nfld only.This will eleminate most of the seventy thousand applications not read.It will also seperate people just applying for ststus and the ones who want benifits.

  • Richard
    April 17, 2013 - 17:07

    David you are seriously mistaken if you think that I am not a part of any community just because I left NL years ago. Do you even read before you post? I doubt it because if you did you would NOT post such such nonsense. You are under the false impression that all of us Newfoundlanders that left NL years even decades ago are out to find ways to sway on issues in NL! Wow, you don't realize that we are definitely not trying to sway anything or anyone, we are standing up for ourselves against others that are unfair and unethical in matters that effect not only us but our people that currently reside in NL. Here's an exert from your rude comments directed to me..." Youre part of the enormous community of "Newfoundlanders who left their communities". And that gives you a certain amount of 'expertise' and 'sway' on issues here (and others' opinions) now.." Dude, I do belong to a community and I take enormous pride in the fact that I like many thousands of others that left NL still visit every year to see friends and family that we were forced to leave. We spend millions of dollars while we visit and the run off from that money more than likely goes a long way in NL to support local crafts, products and businesses. In fact I am sure that the money spent in Nl by "the enormous community of "Newfoundlanders who left their communities". also helps you to get a paycheck and enables you to continue living down there. So my advice to you would be...sell your trailer and go back to school! Maybe then you could post something on here that would make sense. Bottom line...people like you are the reason most of left in the first place!

    • david
      April 18, 2013 - 16:56

      You're seriously mistaken if you think I give a rat's pitutty what you my previous reply for details.

  • Micmac Defender
    April 16, 2013 - 23:13

    i will be to the Watchdogs protest on Monday April 22th, i sure hope you are all going to be there. this is our chance to take a stand. WE WILL NOT GO A WAY!!

  • Madonna Hooper
    April 16, 2013 - 19:46

    How dare you " David" and "To Bad:, to stand in judgement of the native people of NL. I worked for 47 years nursing, yea you heard right, 47 years. I can assure you I'm no leach and I'm not looking for any monetary gain. The native people of NL. have every right to be recognized as an indigenous people, benefits or no. I'm appauled at your ignorance.

    • EXPAT
      April 17, 2013 - 14:34

      Why can't they ask a valid question? If applicants simply wanted to be part of a community they would not need government. I see many people celebrate their culture without official decree. It smells rotten on all sides. If members to this new group are receiving tax payer dollars (regardless of how much) then tax payers have every right to speak up.

    • Richard
      April 18, 2013 - 11:33

      Madonna, you are 1000% correct and another wonderful example of the majority of Newfoundlanders that are either living in NL or outside of the province. As I previously stated I don't need any benefits but I definitely want my status card. I applied through the Qalipu First Nations and the whole process has been a long, drawn out and horrible experience. I am of native origin on both my mother and my fathers' side. Some morons on here are under the false impression that we are going to be dipping into their tax dollars to pay for our exemptions! Good Grief! Natives do and will continue to pay taxes, the benefits could certainly help people in NL and elsewhere who are on fixed incomes, seniors, people without pensions etc.. Do the posters on here not realize that the local NL people will now have extra disposable income due purchase things like diabetic meds and others that are not being covered by MCP? Anyone can figure that the Provincial Government would have a mush reduced burden in these areas as the Federal Government would then be responsible. The Federal Gov't would be responsible to ensure the health of it's Native people as set out in signed treaties, Newfoundlanders have gone without meds because they could not afford them, many, sadly still are going without meds and are dying as a result. These people can now afford to purchase things for their homes, cars or in some cases be able to afford car insurance. All of this will be a great boost to NL communities. It's very disturbing to hear the remarks from some on here that are so filed with hatred and prejudice toward us. We will prevail and win this battle. Ultimately some people will have to learn to think before they post!

  • first nations
    April 16, 2013 - 18:45

    There is going to be a rally on april 22th at qalipu fist nations, lets all be there to show the watchdogs we are with them. seems they are working around the clock , you can count us in we will be there, i checked the weather and its good for monday......

  • corner brook guy
    April 16, 2013 - 16:08

    If the qalipu watchdogs and having a rally on monday april 22th, lets all get out there and get involved, its about time we took a stand. i will be there, and i will see who i can bring with me.

  • Gerry Wheeler
    April 16, 2013 - 15:07

    Well it is very disturbing to see all the commotion that is evolving out of an issue where people want to imbrace there Native ancestry. It is very sad to see how unprepared our leading bodies were for the influx of applicants under the original criteria laid out to the people of NL. Didnt they realize that the criteria presented to us pretty much includes most of the West and South coasts of the island which consists of thousands of people with native blood. I have been accepted as a founding member from when i first applied in the early part 2008 and now my membership is in jeopardy because of the errors of our leaders. If they all want a shorter list then i will today renounce my membership, I refuse to have my name listed with a native Band that is creating such controversy, Make no wonder the Natives of Canada cannot seem to get ahead in this Country, Qualipu First Nations Band and all of its strife in just the beginning of its creation is an example why.

  • mike
    April 16, 2013 - 12:52

    This will lead to another law suit. The original requirements were spelled out. How can they go back and change it now. I dont care about the money I want my status for other reasons. But I know I will be in the lawsuit for the change in requirements.

  • Richard
    April 16, 2013 - 12:34

    David and To seem to have it all figured out! Wow it's so great to hear your opinions of people that have been looked over for the few jobs that were available in NL because of their Native ancestry. To often than none this was the case. Nl's Natives were not allowed to even speak their language, were assimilated and yes, even spat upon, forced to deny who they were. I left NL over 25 years ago to pursue a better life. I put myself through school/College and University and paid full taxes in this Country. How dare you post your prejudiced comments regarding people that have been and still are being completely ignored by the Federal Gov't as well as their own people! Some things never change! Oh yea, FYI I'm Native on both sides, my dad's and my moms.

    • david
      April 16, 2013 - 19:33

      So, what "community" do you profess to be a part of, Richard? No wait....I'll give it a collective name for it right now. Youre part of the enormous community of "Newfoundlanders who left their communities". And that gives you a certain amount of 'expertise' and 'sway' on issues here (and others' opinions) now...and that is precisely this: none.

    • Sean
      November 15, 2013 - 21:19

      Saying because you don't live I nfld you can be a nfld Indian is ridiculous. So lets see if you as a Canadian move to Bermuda for 3 years to work you are no long Canadian. If that is the case I don't want to be Canadian

  • Don
    April 16, 2013 - 12:27

    Typical responses from those that are ignorant to the issues. Ancestry for the Mi'kmaq people have been buried and swept under the rug by the provincial and federal governments for years. Those that can prove there ancestry have a right to be recognized as such. The government and the existing Qalipu Band do not have a right to pick and choose who will have status based on criteria they now want to change to reduce the numbers. Just as in your ancestry, weather you have English, Scottish or Irish blood. You are who you are!

  • scott
    April 16, 2013 - 12:10

    I do not know or care about any monetary gain for joining the band I have stood on my own since is was 17. I found out about my native heritage after my father passed abd i did a familytree. I want my child to know her heritage and be a proud member of the band but for some to say a person is a loser and trying to gain is wrong, and insulting and a poor reflection on the native community

    • david
      April 16, 2013 - 13:25

      Ther is no native "community"...just like there's no "society"'s all just a bunch of greedy individuals, doing whatever they each feel like doing. Give up on this idea of some big "collective" with aligned aspirations and values. It doesn't exist....which is exactly why this government approach to 'groups' and 'communities' never works. But it sure costs a lot of money ---- because every individual loves money, and will join any 'group' to get some.

  • Kim
    April 16, 2013 - 12:01

    In my opinion, the parties involved should have put more thought into who was deserving before this all began. Did anyone, anyone at all, ask the question of how they would handle things if they received a much higher number or applications than expected. Apparently not. It's a little late now when so many (whether deserving or not) have already been accepted. Just another example of how things work around this province--the people in charge come up with the great ideas, make lots of promises, and then try and recind when they realize they messed up.

  • david
    April 16, 2013 - 11:34

    This gimme gimme circus is like watching a line-up in front of a Wal-Mart at 4am, waiting for the "doorcrasher" specials ---- except that even those lineups, filled with super greedy people waiting for the "big giveaways", can at least figure out a way to form a line-up and stay civilized until the doors open. Thank God Wal Mart doesn't have big sale events here......we don't have enough doctors.

  • To bad
    April 16, 2013 - 07:35

    Majority of the members in this band are only there for one reason, money, while the minority are there because its there heritage. Too bad for the true Indians in this band. And so sad for the losers trying to get a monetary gain as a result of those true Indians hard work.

    • Cindy
      April 16, 2013 - 18:02

      Attention "TO BAD" You obviously don't have a clue what Indian Status in Newfoundland is all about. There is no "Money". We are a Landless Band, so we still pay income tax, and we do not receive any money for being Indian. The only financial benefit is the Non insured Health Benefit, which is secondary to any other type of Health Coverage. You need to get your facts straight before you give you opinion. The Government should be ashamed of itself, they agreed on the rules of membership, and should not be allowed to change this now, it was already agreed upon.

    • Cindy
      April 16, 2013 - 18:03

      Attention "TO BAD" You obviously don't have a clue what Indian Status in Newfoundland is all about. There is no "Money". We are a Landless Band, so we still pay income tax, and we do not receive any money for being Indian. The only financial benefit is the Non insured Health Benefit, which is secondary to any other type of Health Coverage. You need to get your facts straight before you give you opinion. The Government should be ashamed of itself, they agreed on the rules of membership, and should not be allowed to change this now, it was already agreed upon.