Qalipu Band of the Mi’kmaq Nation

Monday it was announced: Mi’kmaq people of Central and Western Newfoundland are now members of the Qalipu band under the Indian Act.
Jim John and Dorothy, Gander River 1979 It’s been 39 years since they began politically organizing for that recognition. Hallelujah, and about time.

I’ve wondered if it actually would happen in my lifetime. I have spent my working life on and off involved in this process. I began in 1979 as a new graduate student at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Over the years, I’ve continued working for the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI). The early enthusiasm I felt every time there was a hopeful word from Indian Affairs faded long ago. All we have to do is show x, y or z? Yep, sure thing. Sorry, heard that before.

No Indian Act at Confederation

I’ve never really understood the reluctance by Canada and Newfoundland to give people Qalipu St. George's, Newfoundland, view from the beachthe recognition and status to which they are entitled. It was a fluke (or trade-off) when Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949 that excluded the new province’s First Nations from status under Canada’s Indian Act. At the time, it would have limited their rights of citizenry. Status Indians did not have the vote and other rights taken for granted by most of us.

But the First Nations of Newfoundland and Labrador also did not have the benefits and recognition that inclusion in Indian and Northern Affairs legislation accorded. And, in 1949, a major overhaul of the Indian Act was already in process. In 1951 the most restrictive aspects of ‘wardship’ were removed from the Act.

In the early 1970s, Mi’kmaq in Newfoundland and Innu and Inuit in Labrador began working for the same rights and recognition as their kin in the Maritimes and Quebec had. Together in one association at first, they split into separate groups to pursue their Sign entering Miawpukek (Conne River) reserve, Newfoundlandobjectives in the best way for each of them. The FNI was born in 1972, representing all Mi’kmaq people of the island.

In the early 1980s the Baie d’Espoir community of Conne River split off. As a small predominantly Mi’kmaq community, they believed they’d have better luck on their own than working with a larger Mi’kmaq population spread across a wide area. And they did. It took direct action, like a government office occupation and a hunger strike, to do it. In 1984 the people of Conne River gained Indian Act status. Three years later, land around the village was designated as Miawpukek reserve.

FNI to Qalipu

Soon after, Indian Affairs allowed people with direct kinship to Miawpukek to apply for “off-reserve” status. That gave them individual rights like post-secondary Larry Jeddore with moose in Glenwood tannery 1983education and non-insured medical benefits. Of those eligible to apply, many did. However,  people like the late Glenwood chief Larry Jeddore did not. He had been born in Conne River of a chiefly family. He spoke the Mi’kmaq language. And he was one of the founders of the FNI. But he wanted to see all Mi’kmaq people of the island recognized. He didn’t live to see it but he fought hard for it.

FNI Larry Jeddore in Glenwood band office 1983Agreement in principle to register all Newfoundland Mi’kmaq as members of a landless band was reached in 2008. And finally the new band, Qalipu, exists. Without reserve lands, members receive only the benefits of “off-reserve status.” However, it is official recognition of what they have always known and kept alive: their ancestry, heritage and community as Mi’kmaq people.

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This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Hi
    I am searching for any family information regarding my great grandmother Sarah Matilda Young dob: June 10 1855 or 1858. She married William Bonnar, they had 7 girls. The family name of LeJeune is also there. She was MikMaq and Arcadian French. Her father might have been William LeJeune Young, and her mother’s family name was King.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

  2. Hello!
    I am the descendant of Catherine Blanchard. Her mother was Elizabeth Joe and her father was William Blanchard. Catherine’s grandfather (from Elizabeth Joe) was Thomas Joe. I have read in many sources that Thomas Joe was Mi’kmaq . Is there a way to validate this? I am curious if I am also too late to apply to the Qalipu band.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Sal, I don’t know if there is any documentary evidence for Elizabeth and Thomas Joe. For that, and for questions about Qalipu membership, you’d be best to contact the band office in Corner Brook. Thanks for writing.

  3. Hi Dorothy,

    I’ve been tracing my family tree back for the Benoit family and found of I am a decendant of Francois Benoit and Ann L’Official. Am I too late to apply to the Qalipu band? Is there any other band that recognizes this particular family? Thanks!

    1. Hi Vanessa, you’ll need to call the Qalipu band office in Corner Brook and ask them. Their contact info is on their website.

    2. Were you able to find out Vanessa?

  4. Hi what I do know is my Great Grandmother was Suzette Lejeunne born about 1885 in St. Geoge’s Bay. Her mother was Marcellina Marche and her father was Jean Baptiste LeJeune. Wondering where to go to find out more?

    1. Hi Rozelyn, I have your Suzette as Susanna or Susanne Young (or LeJeune) born 6 Aug (or 5 Dec.) 1883 in Bank Head (St. Theresa’s) Bay St. George, and died 11 Mar. 1967 in Halifax. She married Carl Gustaf Wisen (b 4 Aug. 1880 Sweden d 9 Aug 1956 Halifax) and they had 8 children. Like you, I have her parents as Marcelline Marche and Jean Baptiste LeJeune. Marcelline was d/o Urbain Marche and Celeste Alexander, and Urbain was s/o Alexander LeJeune and Eleanor Anne Quick.

      For where to look for more info, try Lark Szick’s LeJeune/Young genealogy, and for the Marches, the Bay St. George Genealogical Society. Links for both are on my Nf Mi’kmaq Family History & Genealogy page.

    2. Hi, i am a descendant to the sister of Carl Agustaf Wisen, who married Susan, in case you would like to get more info on his family, feel free to contact me.
      Best regards

  5. Henry Anthony and Elizabeth (LeJeune ) Yound were probably married around November 1872 after the birth of Violet Jane Anthony Birth 1 Sep 1842, and after the fishing season was over. Anyway, this is the info that I will put into my Family Tree.

    Samuel Anthony is my Great Grandfather.

    1. Samuel Anthony is my Great Grandfather also, please email me at, I would like to share our family history.

  6. Just found out my grandfather was John Mansfield from tilt cove…he was captain of #6 mine on belle island…wanted to know if he was Indian….if yes how do I go about getting status…thank you…cheers

    1. Hi Darlene, googling John Mansfield, I found out he was born Apr. 2 1898 in Tilt Cove and was in WWI. I don’t have any more information on him but maybe someone reading will be able to help.

  7. Hi Dorothy. I am trying to find information regarding my great-great-grandfather, Richard Bursey married Ann Camden Bair’d Island, Fogo, Nfld. On September 22,1849. Daughter Phoebe, which we cannot find information on her birthday but know she was born Jan 19,1865. We believe Richard was M’iKmaq. But have no proof. Grandfather said his mother Phoebe was.M’iKmaq.
    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so much

    1. Hi Irene, I can’t find anything on Richard Bursey, Ann Camden or daughter Phoebe Bursey. I found a Thomas Bursey, b 1842 Greenspond Bonavista Bay, marr Sarah Paul in 1863. She was born 1845 Deer Island, Bonavista Bay. Thomas is maybe s/o James Bursey and Anne surname unknown. If I were you, I’d look into them. Just the geography and names. Also, due to geography, you might look for connections to the Francis and Gillingham family of Gander Bay. Not much help, but I hope some avenues for you to explore.

      1. Thank you Dorothy. Will check for connections as you suggested.

  8. Thank you of pointing out my error and for the website. I will check it out.
    It should have been:
    Elizabeth and Henry were married in sometime around 1840/41 and their son, my GG Grandfather Samuel married May Ann Rideout in 1875 on November 5 and this is a a confirmed date.

  9. How does that make sense she married after she dead

    1. Hi Sooley, you are talking about Elizabeth Young/LeJeune marr Henry Anthony – good observation. I’ll point it out to the poster. Thanks.

  10. GREAT GREAT GREAT GRANDPARENTS – Elizabeth Young (LeJeune) –Husband Henry Anthony
    Elizabeth Young (LeJeune) was born sometime in 1823 and her death was sometime in 1870 in Tilt Cove, Newfoundland. She was 47 years old when she died.
    Elizabeth’s was married to Henry Anthony who was born sometime in 1818 in Seldom, Fogo, Newfoundland. He was 74 years old when he died on June 25, 1892 in Pelley’s Island, Newfoundland.
    Elizabeth and Henry were married in 1875 on November 5 (not a confirmed date.) They had the following children. Samuel Anthony was my great, great grandfather.
    Susannah Anthony – Daughter -Date and place of Birth and Death Unknown
    Violet Jane Anthony–Daughter -Birth 1 Sep 1842 Round Harbour, Newfoundland – Death Unknown
    Mary Jane Anthony–Daughter -Birth 1847 -Seldom Come By, Newfoundland -Death 7 Aug 1886 – Herring Neck, Newfoundland,
    John Anthony – Son – ABT Feb 1851 – Snooks Arm, Newfoundland – Death: 26 Aug 1929 – Pilley’s Island, Newfoundland
    Louisa Esther Ann Anthony –Daughter -Birth – ABT 1854 -Cupids, Newfoundland – Death Unknown
    Samuel Anthony – Son -Birth Oct 1855 -Seldom, Fogo Island, Newfoundland-Date of Death Unknown
    Priscilla Anthony –Daughter -Birth 18 Aug 1857 – Wards Harbour, Newfoundland – Death 19 Apr 1902 – Wards Harbour, Newfoundland
    Sarah Rose Anthony – Daughter -Birth ABT 1858 –Place of Birth Death Unknown
    Joseph Jessie Anthony – Son -Birth ABT Jun 1862 – Seldom Come By, Newfoundland – Death Unknown
    Violet Eliza Anthony – Daughter – Birth – Apr 1864 – Seldom Come By, Newfoundland – Death Unknown
    As well as much information pertaining to our family history and connections including any Young/LeJeune families current band members. As well I am looking for birth and marriage records and certificates. Our family is hopefully apply for our status.
    Any and all information and direction is greatly appreciated.
    Thanking you in advance.
    Darelene Burden

    1. Hi Darelene, in case you miss it, Sooley just pointed out that the maybe 1875 marr date for Elizabeth Lejeune/Young and Henry Anthony is after her death. I just found a site with info on their family, but no marriage date. Here it is in case you haven’t seen it – sorry, putting in the link messes up page formatting, but here’s the page info: www3 sympatico ca/stephen anthony/Genealogy/g071 html.

    2. Hi Darlene I was wondering if you ever found out anymore on elizabeth. She is my 4th great grandmother. Her daughter violet ellen Anthony was my 3rd great grandmother.

      Thanks in advance

  11. hi, im trying to find out more information about my great grand mother Augustine Young married to (Angus Young) prior being married to Angus she was married to
    (Augustus Tourette). She was M’ikmaq

    1. Hi Susan, I’m trying to sort out more about her right now, but it seems she was Mary Augustine/a (Justine) Chaisson d/o Nazaire (Phillip Laurent) Chaisson and Elizabeth Reneau/Renouf. There is info on her on Jasen Benwah’s site (link above) and Dauphinee and, presumably Chaisson/Chiasson sites (links above I believe).

  12. Hi Dorothy,

    This site is really informative and because of it I have been able to find all of the missing pieces I need to apply as a founding member of the Qalipu First Nations Band, except for one thing…

    My grandfather was Richard “Siki” Bennett and I am only missing the birth or baptismal certificate of his grandfather Edward Benoit, showing that his parents were George Benoit and Charlotte (Pierrot) Alexander.

    Do you know where I can get my hands on that?

    Thank you,


  13. Hi,

    I am a descendent of Pierre LeJeune and belong to the Bras Dòr Indian Village. All LeJeune family line came from Bras D`or and we are in the process of also obtaining our status. We have proven our Miqmaq lineage as my ancestors married from one tribe to another and maintained strong Indian ancestry. My grandfather was full native and I am proud of my heritage. Growing up we hunted, fished and learned to live one with Mother Earth. I look forward to our Indian Village becoming a Band as well. Love your site Dorothy!!

  14. i like to ty for all the help i got from you,,,good site and good advise

  15. i am looking for the children of william lejeune born 1891 on the west coast of newfoundland bay st george area if u have any ino i would appreciate it so much

    1. Hi Audrey, the only William Lejeune/Young I have b 1891 has no spouse or children entered for him. Do you know his wife or parents or any more info that might help identify him? Thanks.

  16. Great article about the Qalipu band and the history of their Battle to be recognized as status Indians .The Gov,t of Canada and Nfld failed to promote their culture & heritage as stated in your article.Your determination and drive to promote aboriginal culture in nfld is greatly apreciate by me and many that you have helped/Iam glad i found your site Joe

    1. Hi Joe and thanks. There are a lot of people who worked a long time, even when it seemed pretty hopeless. I hope they’re proud to finally see some recognition for themselves, their ancestors and their children. And I’m glad you found my site too 😉

  17. Hi Dorothy,

    Well written story of the Qalipu Band, I would like to share this with another site with your permission.

    Best Regards,


    1. Hi Steve, sure, that’s fine, as long as it’s attributed and/or linked to my site. Would you please send me a link to the site you’re posting it on? Thanks a lot. Here’s another article on this I just read today. It’s good.

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