Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

August 13, 2008 11:45 ET

Government of Canada and Mi'kmaq of Newfoundland Sign a Historic Final Agreement

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 13, 2008) - The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians, and Brendan Sheppard, President of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI), today celebrated the agreement to create the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band for the Mi'kmaq of Newfoundland.

"This final agreement shows what is possible when two parties engage in positive, productive discussions," said Minister Strahl. "Our government worked with FNI to find a common solution, a made-for-Newfoundland approach that will help the Mi'kmaq of Newfoundland build a brighter future full of new opportunities."

The final agreement sets in motion an enrolment process that will provide eligible members of the Mi'kmaq of Newfoundland and Labrador with status under the Indian Act. A reserve will not be created as a result of this agreement.

"The Agreement signifies the dedicated efforts of many Mi'kmaq, who struggled to maintain their identity, heritage and culture in Newfoundland and Labrador throughout the years," said Mr. Sheppard. "It is most evident that the official ratification of the Agreement in Principle truly reflects the sincerity and commitment of Prime Minister Harper's government to work in good faith with consideration for the Aboriginal people of Canada."

When Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949, there was no agreement between the province and Canada for extending the Indian Act to include the Aboriginal population. While Canada has provided ad-hoc funding for social and health programs for the Mi'kmaq of Newfoundland, recognition under the Indian Act will ensure they have full access to the same programs and services available to status Indians across Canada.

Members of the FNI voted 90 per cent in favour of the agreement during a ratification vote in March 2008. Enrollment of eligible members will begin shortly and is expected to conclude sometime in 2010 with the formal creation of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band.

The FNI, based in Corner Brook, is an organization representing approximately 7800 members from nine Mi'kmaq communities across the island of Newfoundland.

This release and background information is available in electronic format at:
www.ainc-inac.gc.ca

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Minister's Office
    Josee Bellemare
    Press Secretary
    819-997-0002
    or
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    819-953-1160
    or
    Federation of Newfoundland Indians
    Brendan Sheppard
    President
    709-647-3033