In 2017, the community of Burgeo established a committee to focus on celebrating and learning more about Mi'kmaq culture and tradition in this historic Mi'kmaq community on the south coast of Newfoundland. Burgeo is one of four communities within the Flat Bay Ward, along with the communities of St. Fintan's, Flat Bay and St. Theresa's, that are represented by Ward Councilor Ben Bennett.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to give you a yearly progress report of what we have accomplished for 2017. -Elaine Ingram
Elaine Ingram is the Secretary of the new committee, the Burgeo Qalipu Corp. She shared some snapshots of great things that have been happening in this community, and provided a yearly report to share with our dispersed Mi'kmaq communities.
A New Beginning
"Our first meeting revolved around getting us off the ground and enhancing knowledge that this is a Mi'kmaq community. We sent out five letters to the following people, Chief Brendan Mitchell, Flat Bay Ward Councilor Ben Bennett, the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band office in Corner Brook, the Bay St. George Council Committee, and the Burgeo Town Council. The letters were written to inform them that we have now formed a Burgeo Qalipu Cultural Committee."
"Also, we applied for our own license and we were incorporated in March 2017. We also received our ticket lottery licence in May 2017. To date we had two lottery ticket sales; one was a deep fryer donated by the business South Coast Construction in Burgeo that was drawn on Father's Day. Our second lottery ticket was a carving done in a moose antler that was donated and carved by Chair Greg Janes. The money was raised to help get us off the ground with building rentals, workshops, and our Feast from the Land and Sea."
National Aboriginal Day
"On June 21st we had our first Aboriginal Day here in Burgeo. There was a speech given by Mayor Barter talking about the importance of our culture, with the raising of our Mi'kmaq flag. Chair Greg Janes spoke about why National Aboriginal day is a day to celebrate our heritage. Perry Young was also in attendance to give a speech and lead us in a few Mi'kmaq songs. Overall this turned out to be a great success with many people in attendance."
A Feast from the Land and Sea
Burgeo is known for some of the best places to hunt and fish, duck hunting, rabbit snaring and let us not forget the many flavours of berry picking.
"On July 27th we hosted a very large event, A Feast from the Land and Sea. This was a delicious meal of wild game with all the trimmings, home made bread and rolls, with many berry desserts. Draws were made for prizes, and we served the feast to approximately 80 people. The aboriginal people of this community came together and donated meals, desserts, vegetables, salt beef, breads etc. Guest speakers were Arlene White, Ben Bennett, Mayor Barter and Chair Greg Janes. A wonderful time was had by all, we could not have asked for a better turn out. Burgeo is known for some of the best places to hunt and fish, duck hunting, rabbit snaring and let us not forget the many flavours of berry picking. There was no harm in saying it was a feast from the land and sea. We would like to take this time out to thank each and everyone of you that helped out in any way with this event."
"On November 4th and 5th a Drum Making Workshop to make twenty drums was held. Scott Butt led this event and we had 16 people in attendance. The other 4 drums were made at the same time for a few that could not make it. This was a very great learning experience, with many stories being shared of how our ancestors lived off the land. We are thankful to the Qalipu Cultural Foundation for the $2500 grant they provided to our community group to do this."