Membertou First Nation

Membertou First Nation

Named after the Grand Chief Membertou (1510-1611) the Membertou First Nation belongs to the greater tribal group of the Mi’kmaw Nation. Membertou is situated 3 kms from the heart of the city of Sydney, Nova Scotia, within its tribal district of Unama’ki (Cape Breton). It is one of five Mi’kmaw communities in Cape Breton, and one of 13 in the Province of Nova Scotia. Membertou is an urban First Nation community consisting of more than 1,150 band members — approximately 750 of which live on reserve.

In 1995, the Membertou Band faced significant challenges including, financial difficulties, low morale, and a high unemployment rate. It was then that Chief Terrance Paul decided it was time for a major change. With great determination, he and the council recruited band members that had previously left the reserve years to pursue an education and were now employed in senior positions in both private business and government off reserve.

This newly formed leadership decided that an unprecedented approach for Membertou was needed and it began by putting its financial house in order while embracing transparency and accountability. Although these tasks required sacrifice, they generated a renewed sense of accomplishment and discipline that quickly earned the respect of external parties in government and industry.

The First Nation has since formed lucrative partnerships with private industry and is the first Aboriginal government in the world to meet the ISO quality management standards. Strong leadership and strategic decision-making have lead to new opportunities, which continue to build momentum for Membertou’s aspirations of financial independence and self-determination.

“We believe that our agreement with the First Nations Market Housing Fund will give band members more choices when it comes to building or renovating their home and we look forward to working with the First Nations Market Housing Fund and our band members.”
—– Chief Terrance Paul (July 2009)

Contact Information:

Jennifer Martin
Policy Coordinator
111 Membertou Street
Membertou, Nova Scotia
B1S 2M9
Ph.: 902-564-6466 ext. 2510
Fax: 902-539-6645