St Georges Bay Mi'kmaq News

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Hoping for change in the next 25 years

Dear Editor:

In reference to your article in The Western Star, June 26, 2002, "Mi'Kmaq abandon federation, form new alliance". I say "hurray" and tip my hat to Chief Bert Alexander. I think it is time for a change and improvements for the Mi'Kmaq people of Bay St. George and all of Newfoundland. I feel the present chiefs (excluding Chief Dawson of St. George's, a newcomer on the scene) and Federation of Newfoundland Indians has done very little to improve the quality of life for the Mi'Kmaq people the last 25 years. This included all the chiefs in the Bay St. George region.

I have been a member of the Bay St. George Indian Band Council and the StephenvilIe-Stephenville Crossing Band Council for approximately 25 years.

After presenting my documentation (which was OK'd by Dorothy Anger, anthropologist and her assistant Marlene Companion) to Chief Ben White I was sent a letter from Chief Ben White stating that I did not qualify for membership in the StephenvilIe-Stephenville Crossing Indian Band Council. He did not state why I did not qualify, and did not offer me any assistance to become a member.

According to Brendan Sheppard's speech at one of our meetings, he stated that the duty of the chief was to help any band member (which I was until this time, membership paid in full) in any possible way he could help. What happened here?

I think because of a court case in May, 2001, which I won against Chief Ben White and the board of directors of Deer Pond Camps Ltd., he did not want me in the band.

This is only one of the many stories of upsets and torments dished out by the chiefs past and present of the Bay St. George Indian Band and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians.

It is a known fact that the federal government has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the Bay St. George area and has nothing to show for the money spent. It seems to me that everything is done in hushed tones and secret.

Now is the time for change, the new alliance is accepting applications from all individuals who meet the prescribed criteria for membership. Join now to help to improve the quality of life of the Mi'Kmaq people. Nothing has happened in the past 25 years. Now with Chief Bert Alexander's guidance and good will things will change for the better for our people.

Maybe even I, with my proper documentation, will be accepted in the New Alliance of Mi'Kmaq people.

Stan Baldwin,

Stephenville

The Western Star

July 4, 2002


Historical profile on each community in Nujio'qoniik (Bay St George and the Port au Port Peninsula)

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Copyright © 2002 Jasen Benwah

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