Membertou First Nation and Millbrook First Nation are shining examples of growth for Nova Scotia’s native communities, the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs says.
Executive director John Paul called the two Mi’kmaq communities flagships, but added chiefs in all of Nova Scotia’s native communities are working hard to provide fundamental services such as housing while also opening up educational opportunities for citizens.
“Everybody is working on the same issues,” he said recently. “Over time you’ll see most, if not all, of our communities involved in one way, shape or form in economic development.”
Chief Lawrence Paul is widely known as a progressive politician who has helped transform Millbrook from a have-not reserve to a thriving community since he was first elected in 1984.
“I wanted a better standard of living for the band members up here,” he explained to Metro Halifax. That’s why he’s encouraged economic activity on reserve land, whether it’s leasing land to giant grocery chain Sobeys, running a fishery or investing in aquaculture.
In fact, Chief Paul has been named a top 50 CEO by Atlantic Canada Business Magazine and has received a CANDO Economic Developer of the Year Award, among many other honours.
“Some people don’t believe it’s a First Nation when they go through here,” he said of the reserve's success in recent years. "We're here to stay."