The Qalipu First Nation is expressing what they’re calling “profound frustration and dissatisfaction” after Canada decided to pause efforts to address band membership for former members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians.
The issue stretches back to a 2008 agreement where certain members were denied founding membership. A solution has since been reached regarding Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces, and RCMP. However, a decision regarding original Federation of Newfoundland Indians and their affiliates has not yet been made.
Band Chief Brendan Mitchell was notified of the decision to pause discussions in a letter dated March 29, which states that the decision was made due to active litigation of the 2013 supplemental agreement.
The band is questioning that reasoning. They note that the litigation was active in November 2018 when Minister Carolyn Bennett initiated exploratory discussions, and again the following September when then Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan reaffirmed Canada’s commitment.
In this context, they argue, the decision to pause discussions does not make sense. They say that the decision is contrary to the concept of their nation-to-nation relationship.
In a letter of response to Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller, Chief Mitchell urges the decision be reconsidered given its “inconsistency” with past commitments, saying that the Minister must give immediate attention to what he calls an “unexpected and discouraging development.”