6,500 rejected Qalipu Mi'kmaq band applications to be reconsidered

Thousands of people whose Qalipu Mi’Kmaq band applications were rejected will be reconsidered for membership.
About 6,500 rejected applications for band membership for the Qalipu Mi'kmaq will be reconsidered on the basis of "substantive" criteria, such as self-identity and ancestry, according to lawyer Jamie Licker. (CBC)

Thousands of people whose Qalipu Mi'kmaq band applications were rejected will be reconsidered for membership.

Last fall two people were heard in federal court after their applications were rejected for technical reasons, such as the type of birth certificate they used or failure to sign one of the declaration boxes.

The judge ruled they had been unfairly treated and ordered their applications be reconsidered.

Now, lawyer Jaimie Lickers, who represented the two people who won their case, says the federal government has extended that reconsideration to 6,500 rejected applicants.

The federal government has given about 65-hundred aplicants for the Qalipu Band extra time.

Rejected applications are now being reviewed on the basis of what Lickers calls "core, substantive criteria," such as self identification, community connection, identify with a Mi'kmaq way of life, and identifying Mi'kmaq ancestry.

"Those are really the keys of determining who should really be a member of the Mi'kmaq," she told CBC's Corner Brook Morning Show.

Lickers said the new Justin Trudeau Liberal government and the new band council played a role in the court decision.

"We can't ignore that we've since seen the election of the Trudeau Liberal government that they've been very vocal about their commitment to fostering true reconciliation among the aboriginal and non-aboriginal population of Canada," she said.

"The openness on the part of the government to really address some of these difficult issues head on, the importance of that cannot be denied."

With files from the Corner Brook Morning Show