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Qalipu Chief Brendan Mitchell wants Urban Reserve file concluded this year

Chief Brendan Mitchell of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation addressed the Stephenville Rotary Club on Wednesday.
Chief Brendan Mitchell of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation addressed the Stephenville Rotary Club on Wednesday. - Frank Gale

Brendan Mitchell expects that a decision will be made sometime this year on the location of an urban reserve in this province.

The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Chief said investigation into establishment of one is moving ahead.

He told Stephenville Rotarians at their regular luncheon meeting on Wednesday this all started when Brendan Sheppard was chief and continues to be an active file towards getting this done.

Mitchell said there are 124 of them that exist in Canada and in this province it’s time to stop talking and move forward with doing it.

“There’s a lot of interest in an urban reserve, a place where people can get their vehicles registered and have businesses that are self-sufficient,” he said.

Mitchell said if one were established in Corner Brook, he could see satellite urban reserves located in Stephenville and Grand Falls-Windsor.

“I see Stephenville as a place that gets stuff done and I see opportunities here for business development.”

Highlights of Mitchell’s address:

1949 – Joey Smallwood said there weren’t any Indians in Newfoundland.

1972 – The Federation of Newfoundland Indians was established and funded education, fixing up houses and money for things like youth programs.

1987 – Miawpukek First Nation in Conne River receives recognition as a reserve.

2008 – After perseverance an agreement was signed to form the Qalipu First Nation.

2011 – Qalipu First Nation Band was formed in September.

2014 – a Supplemental Agreement was reached with a directive to the enrollment committee to who should get enrolled.

With a lot of people being left out there is a lot of upset in Mi’kmaq communities resulting in situations with families not getting along because some are in and others out.

Settlement of Qalipu process is a weight around (Qalipu First Nation Band’s) neck.

Various lawsuits being lobbied.

Qalipu has a $22 million budget with about half for drug programs and dental and $7 million of it a year for post-secondary education.

Education is power and opportunity and those who are educated pay it forward in their communities.

Qalipu has expansion of operations with its own fishing boat and licenses.

Owns real estate with two buildings in Corner Brook, one in Grand Falls-Windsor and the Main Street Mall in Stephenville that houses the People of the Dawn Friendship Centre.

Plan to do better with fishing and get into hunting as well. It’s about people in communities.

Confident we will get enrollment situation straightened away. We will work our way through a process.

Working hard on our relationships with municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.

Last summer became a member of the Assembly of First Nations.

People want to be part of what the band is doing.

What the Rotarians though of Mitchell’s address:

Anne Doyle
Anne Doyle

Anne Doyle

It was very enlightening, especially to learn how Qalipu was formed and how the information was presented clearly and frankly by Mr. Mitchell.

Wanda Hilyard
Wanda Hilyard

Wanda Hillyard

After listening to Mr. Mitchell, it will be very interesting to see how the Qalipu First Nation partners with business in the Stephenville area.

Janice Kennedy
Janice Kennedy

Janice Kennedy

It was really interesting and it’s great to see where Qalipu is going and great to see they are engaging in regional and economic development, especially if they moved to establish an urban reserve in Stephenville.

Pauline Duffy
Pauline Duffy

Pauline Duffy

Personally, I’m glad to see the People of the Dawn Friendship Centre in Stephenville but think there should be some kind of a physical building located in Port au Port, where there are more than 6,000 members in the second largest ward. It was nice to hear some positive things and I look forward to the future.

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