Most of the members of the Native Council of Prince Edward Island descend from the original Mi’kmaq people who inhabited the Island for untold centuries. They were independent and powerful people who thrived in this rich land by hunting, fishing, gathering, and trading with other Indigenous nations. Some of our members continue to live in the traditional way, while others work in the modern economy.
The early Mi’kmaq established their economy, way of governing, and social relationships. Today, NCPEl dedicates itself to continuing this tradition through our own form of self-government for the Métis, non-status and status Indians living off-reserve on Prince Edward Island.
The Native Council of PEI is affiliated with the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council (MAPC) which deals with regional issues affecting Indigenous people and makes representations to the Council of Maritime Premiers. The Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council represents roughly 25,000 Indigenous people in the Maritimes.
NCPEI sits on the board of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP). CAP comprises provincial and territorial organizations that directly represent roughly one million Métis and Indigenous people in Canada.
We also exchange information, ideas, and support with such organizations as the Métis National Council, the Assembly of First Nations, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Canadian Native Friendship Centres, and National Indians Arts and Crafts Association.
History of the Native Council of PEI
The Native Council of PEI began as PEI Local #17 of the New Brunswick and PEI Association of Métis and non-status Indians. This took place on September 8, 1973. At this founding conference, PEI Local #17 elected Peggy Rydzewski as second Vice-president and Marcia MacLeod as board representative.
The arrangement worked well, but as Island membership grew it became clear our population required direct representation. On April 1, 1975, the PEI Association of Métis and non-status Indians formed as an independent group and were incorporated under the Societies Act of Prince Edward Island. On November 23, 1978, the name changed to Native Council of Prince Edward Island. Each of these milestones is viewed as steps in returning Indigenous people to a state of self-government.
Structure of the Council
The Native Council of Prince Edward Island is set up in such a way to allow maximum participation of all members. It is also set up to be democratic to allow members to practice basic skills in self-government.
NCPEI is a federation made up of three zones. Prince county is Zone 1, Queens County is Zone 2, and Kings County is Zone 3.
In addition, members can organize smaller units on a local or community basis. These smaller units ensure people are well represented and have recognition of their local needs. This also allows for easier communication between people and the provincial organization.
Members elect 20 delegates from each zone to the Annual General Assembly. They then elect their two representatives from each zone to the board of directors. Members of the executive are elected at large and serve four-year terms. Since NCPEI was incorporated, there has been a healthy participation of members at the executive level.
- To aid and assist all off-reserve people of Indigenous ancestry in Prince Edward Island to improve their general living conditions while achieving a level of self-government
- To work with all levels of government, agencies, and private industry to improve social, educational, and employability for off-reserve Indigenous people of Prince Edward Island
- To foster and strengthen language, cultural identity, and pride among Indigenous people in Prince Edward Island
- To inform the public of unique needs facing the off-reserve Indigenous people of Prince Edward Island
- To cooperate with all other Indigenous organizations whose goals are like those of the association
- To foster and establish a relationship with the Mi’kmaq Grand Council and other Indigenous groups in dealing with the treaty rights and land claim issues which affect the Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous organizations on the Island
- To assist and give a collective voice to the Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous persons living off-reserve in Prince Edward Island
- To advocate and hold all levels of government accountable on behalf of the Mi’kmaq and all Indigenous persons on Prince Edward Island for treaty rights and land claims
- To provide resources and a community setting for the Mi’kmaq and all off-reserve Indigenous persons in exercising traditional rights, customs and practices
- To advocate and give a collective voice to the Mi’kmaq and other Indigenous persons living off-reserve in Prince Edward Island, including bringing court proceedings on their behalf