Most of the members of the Native Council of Prince Edward Island (PEI) descend from the original Mic'maq people who inhabited the Island for untold centuries. They were an independent and powerful people who thrived in this rich land by hunting, fishing, gathering, and trading with other aboriginal nations. Some of our members continue to live in the traditional way, while others work in the modern economy.
The early Mik'maq established their ways of governing, and of managing their economy and their social relationships. Today, NCPEl dedicates itself to continue this tradition through our own form of self-government for the Métis, Non-status and status Indians living off-reserve on Prince Edward Island.
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 Vicepresident and Marcia MacLeod as a member of the Board to represent us.
This arrangement worked well, but as the Island membership grew it became clear that our population required direct representation. On April 1, 1975 the PEI. Association of Métis and Non-status Indians formed as an independent group, and we incorporated, under the Societies Act of Prince Edward Island. Still later in our evolution, we changed our name to the Native Council of Prince Edward Island (November 23, 1978). Each of these milestones should be looked upon as steps in the return of Aboriginal people to a state of self-government.
The Native Council of PEI is affiliated with the Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council which deals with regional issues affecting Aboriginal people and makes representations to the Council of Maritime Premiers. The Maritime Aboriginal Peoples Council represents approximately 25,000 aboriginal people in the Maritimes.
The NCPEI sits on the board of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (C.A.P.). The C.A.P. is comprised of Provincial and Territorial organizations that directly represent approximately one million Metis and Aboriginal people in Canada.
We also exchange information, ideas and support with such organizations Métis the Assembly of First Nations, the Native Women's Association of Canada, Canadian Native Friendship Centres, and National Indians Arts and Crafts Association.
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, and to let as many members as possible practice basic skills in self-government.
It would be good in some ways to return to traditional forms and methods of government. This has not yet been possible because we are so much a part of the general PEI. society, and because we have for so long operated under the laws and political forms of Canada.
NCPEI is really a federation made up of three zones, corresponding to the counties of PEI. In addition, members can organize smaller units on a local or community basis. These smaller units ensure that people will be well represented, and will have recognition of their particular local needs. This also allows for easier communication between individuals and the Provincial association.
Members elect their delegates (20 from each zone) to the Annual General Assembly, and they elect their representatives (2 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, and a healthy turnover as well as continuity in the executive group.
Native Council of P.E.I. is an Affiliate of the Congress of Aboriginal peoples.