The Honourable Felix Collins, Minister for Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs, congratulated Brendan Sheppard as the first elected Chief of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq Band.

“This is a very important day for Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation members,” said Minister Collins. “I am very pleased to congratulate Chief Sheppard, Western Vice Chief Kevin Barnes, Central Vice Chief Randy Drover and all ward councillors on their success during the band’s inaugural election held this week.”

On September 26, 2011, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation which is the first ‘landless’ band in the country. While the members of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation are status Indians under the federal Indian Act, band members live in a variety of communities across the province so the band itself does not have ‘reserve lands’.

“The Provincial Government values the important contribution of Aboriginal peoples to our shared culture, history and heritage,” said Minister Collins. “I look forward to working with Chief Sheppard and his team on matters of mutual interest in my capacity as the new Minister for Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs.”

The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation was created with an initial band list of 21,429 members. The membership enrollment process will continue until November 30, 2012. It is already the largest Aboriginal organization in the province. All Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation members are eligible for certain federal programs for status Indians, including the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and Non-Insured Health Benefits.

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