Even after attending a meeting for exploration into the Flat Bay Band Inc. separation from the Qalipu First Nations Band, Brendan Sheppard, past-chief of Qalipu feels such a split would not be a good thing.
He was in attendance at the Tuesday evening meeting at the People’s Complex in Flat Bay that he said was well attended.
As a resident of Flat Bay, which is self-governed by Flat Bay Band Inc., Sheppard praised Chief Liz Lasaga for the good work she’s doing in the community getting programs that create jobs from people in Flat Bay, the Bay St. George area and even as far as Corner Brook.
“She’s doing a great job at that and should continue at it but trying to separate from Qalipu, frankly, I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said.
Sheppard said looking to separate is a major step for the community and is not doing anything for the Qalipu organization.
He said trying for an Indian Status Band is only going to cause dissension amongst the people in the community and he doesn’t believe the federal government will be providing core funding to a community of somewhere between 152 to 172.
Sheppard stands by Chief Brendan Mitchell and Qalipu as one band, which was implemented under his (Sheppard’s) term as chief, for all wards in the province.
He doesn’t believe the federal government will set a precedent by allowing this separation, resulting in other communities across the province wanting to do the same.
Sheppard said Lasaga was quoted as saying the Qalipu Band was going to fall apart but Sheppard said he doesn’t believe that will happen.
He said at this point in time, Flat Bay Band is hoping to separate from Qalipu without Qalipu being totally settled because not all applicants have been informed of whether or not their membership has been accepted or denied.
Sheppard believes the agreement that was made could be better but he’s sure that people who have their cards and got them while he was chief feel good to have them.
He’s hoping Qalipu will send out a letter to the people of Flat Bay outlining the need for them to stay together for the unity of the Qalipu First Nations Band.