Qalipu Watchdogs looking our for you

Clayton Hunt
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According to various news reports there are approximately 70,000 applications for possible inclusion in the Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Nation Band that may not be processed.

Apparently, the review date for possible status in the band ended on December 18, 2012.

While these applications may be processed at a later date, some people in the province are starting to believe that they may never be processed.

These people have formed a group called Qalipu Watchdogs to act as a single voice for the remaining applicants to the Band (and those involved in the appeal process) to ensure that their concerns receive fair consideration.

The Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Nation Band was officially formed on September 26, 2011 with a membership of 21,429 people.

At the time the band was officially formed it was announced that the enrollment process would continue until November 30, 2013.

The review of applications for this second stage was to conclude  on December 31, 2012. Applicants would then have a three-month period to make an appeal if their application for status was declined.

While the timeline seemed fine no one expected about 100,000 applications to be received for status review. With such an overwhelming number of applications to process, the final applications were actually reviewed on December 18, 2012. 

The remaining 70,000 applications may not be processed at all.

Hector Pearce, from Lewisporte, is the Vice Chairman of the Qalipu Watchdogs.

Pearce said that he wrote to the Honourable John Duncan, the federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs early in the New Year expressing his displeasure with the fact that the remaining  applications may not be reviewed.

Pearce later met with a group of friends who decided to form a committee to organize and develop strategies for dealing with the possibility that so many applicants may not receive fair treatment from the federal government in this important matter.

The committee that was initiated from all of this is known today as the Qalipu Watchdogs.

Pearce said, “We are simply saying to the Minister that the remaining applications should be given the same treatment as those reviewed up to December 18. We are not looking for automatic acceptance in the band but at least our applications should receive the same treatment as all the rest.”

Pearce said that the committee is already forming strategies to deal with this issue.

“Our first strategy is to inform as many applicants as possible that their applications may not be reviewed. We are encouraging these people to sign up on our website as supporters of what we’re trying to do.

“Chief Brandon Sheppard met with federal officials on this issue in Halifax on February 7 and more meetings are scheduled for the week of February 17 to 23.

“Our second strategy will be to arrange meetings with federal officials with the Qalipu Watchdogs committee if the Band is not successful in having the review date extended.

“Another strategy will be to explore the possibility of a class action suite against government if it should come down to that.

“While Chief Sheppard is asking people involved with this matter to be patient, we have the impression that December 18 was the end of the review process.

“We are not just going to stand by and let this matter drop as we do feel we can help people in this matter.

“A large number of people put a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money into putting their application in for possible status in the Band. They submitted their applications in due diligence following the guidelines set down by the Band and the federal government.

“Every applicant in this process should have his/her application reviewed in a sincere manner.”

Pearce said that the committee is not acting in a vindictive manner but simply wants everyone to be treated fairly.

“The Qalipu Watchdogs is an excellent, responsible committee that can look at this issue in a professional, intelligent and organized manner. We are not against any group, but we want to approach this in an organized way that we hope will bring positive results to the issue for everyone involved.

Organizations: Qalipu Watchdogs committee, Qalipu Mi’Kmaq First Nation Band

Geographic location: Lewisporte, Halifax

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • Rhonda E. Porter (nee: Allen)
    January 20, 2014 - 20:21

    Please add my name to the petition. I do not feel I should be denied my heritage and for government to be showing such a lack of respect. Thank you

  • Dave
    March 01, 2013 - 17:39

    Its amazing that people have opinions, are willing to share them, whether good or bad and then identifies themselves as "don't let the smoke get in your eyes". If you willing to have your say, at least identify yourself with a name. And by the way, I totally concur with both Damieon and John.

  • Don
    March 01, 2013 - 15:47

    The Qalipu Watchdogs goal is a simple one. Fair and Equal treatment for all applicants. If you are one of the 70,000 + unprocessed applications, then we want to hear from you. Contact us at info@qalipuwatchdogs.com. Or go to our web site, www.qalipuwatchdogs.com.

  • John
    February 28, 2013 - 16:22

    Who will be responisble if nothing happens, I will. I'm standing up to be counted and that requires faith on my part and the part of all the others who have been left out in this process. As for confidential information, the group isn't asking anything more than can be found in the phone book, or on a facebook page. My faith in the group and it's leaders had resulted in, with the help of MP Gerry Byrne, a motion in Parliment to help resolve this issue. There is no smoke in my eyes at all. I can see very clearly thank you.

  • Damieon
    February 28, 2013 - 16:04

    The information that is being asked by the Qalipu watchdog committee is no more than your name/address/phone number and a few yes or no questions. All of this information is public information that anyone with access to the internet can find. No one is asking for your SIN number, your bank account information, or your money. It is a small donation that will be needed to pay for legal fees if/when it comes to that. The fact is that there is more information on your application that is sitting in a box in the basement of the old Majestic Theater than the Qalipu Watchdogs are asking for. Dont be ashamed of being native, BE PROUD! it is true that the watchdogs started as a facebook group. This was done because people are looking for information on their applications without any answers. The Chief and council was contacted by myself, and many others to get an answer to questions on the matter and no answer was given from him or the Federal Government up to and including today. "If something were to happen"? Im not sure where your going with that question. Are you saying that the people representing 75,000 applicants are in it for some kind of big money grab and are not trustworthy? or are you just making a judgement based on nothing? Do you have information that supports this? If not then stop trying to make these people look like there trying to steal money and step up to the plate and volunteer yourself. These people are volunteers who are taking time out of their day, nights and weekends to not only fight for a few people but ALL applicants and current members, which by the way is the job of the chief, which he is not doing. I would suggest you and the other 70,000 applicants start supporting the watchdogs, because when the applications start to be processed, the Federal Government will look at how many, and who have signed the petition identifying themselves as native as per the agreement. Chances are anyone else will be turned away for that reason alone.

  • Don't let the smoke get in your eyes
    February 28, 2013 - 13:34

    With all the recent episodes of people's personal and confidential information being accessed by people who are not supposed to access it, and careless storage and protection of personal information by government and other bodies, I'm not so sure I want to be divulging my personal information to what amounts to nothing more than a facebook group. Donating money to some bank account in some 'unregistered' charity's name doesn't sound any more comforting. Who will be responsible if something happens?