Federation of Newfoundland Indians Vote Results
For Immediate Release: March 30, 2008
FEDERATION OF NEWFOUNDLAND INDIANS SAYS YES IN DECISIVE VOTE
Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador: Members of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians have voted to accept the Agreement-in-Principle negotiated with the Government of Canada. The Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland can now move forward with their efforts to achieve official recognition under the Indian Act.“Years of hard work have brought the Mi’kmaq to this historic day,” said FNI President, Brendan Sheppard. “I’m sure the leaders of the past and our elders who are no longer with us would be pleased. I congratulate the members of our negotiating team and the Mi’kmaq community of Newfoundland for their commitment, leadership and determination in taking this important step towards recognition.”
Of the 3,232 ballots cast, a resounding 90 per cent, or 2,913 votes were in favour of the Agreement. The ratification process required a positive endorsement of 50 per cent plus one of the total votes cast.
As a landless band agreement, no reserve will be created as a result of its ratification.
According to Sheppard, the decision to negotiate a landless band was based on a thorough consultative process with the FNI membership.
“During our consultations, our chiefs and band members directed the negotiating team to focus on achieving recognition as Status Indians and negotiate a landless band agreement,” said Sheppard. “With the ratification vote behind us, we will now focus on what really matters – building a brighter future as First Nations Indians – secure in our future and in charge of our destiny.”
The next step will be for the federal government to ratify the Agreement-in-Principle and the two entities will then sign a final agreement. The FNI will then undertake a registration process to create a Founding Members list, which is planned to begin this fall. Once the first phase of this registration is complete, the Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland will be added to the federal Indian Registry and the First Nations band, named Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band will be established. (Qalipu, pronounced hal-lay-boo, is the Mi’kmaq word for “caribou.”)
It is anticipated the new band could be established in early 2010.
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For more information, contact:
Media Inquiries: Caron Hawco, ABC
Phone: (709) 738-5262
Federation of Newfoundland Indians
Ratification Officer: Wayne Green
Phone: (709) 693-4256
Or visit our Agreement-in-Principle website: www.qalipu.com