Abegweit First Nation is a small Mi’kmaq band that was established in 1972. Abegweit First Nation is a unique band that consists of 3 reserves: Morell Rear Reserve #2, Rocky Point Reserve #3, and Scotchfort Reserve #4 that are all separated geographically. Abegweit is a custom band that is governed by 1 Chief and 2 Councillors that are elected every 4 years. The political term of office is 4 years and the Council is made up of 1 Chief and 2 Councillors.
As of August 2015, our current Council for Abegweit First Nation consists of Chief Brian Francis, Councillor Daren Knockwood and Councillor Jacob Jadis. The First Nation works to provide programs and services in the communities.
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Creation of the Abegweit First Nation
Abegweit First Nation was created as a response to a conflict concerning the Council of the Lennox Island First Nation. The distance from Rocky Point, Scotchfort, and Morell Reserves, to Lennox Island also played a significant factor in this, as members of these communities were not always able to attend Band functions or meetings. As well, there was a significant lack of communication between the Lennox Island Band Council and other members of the Band. This led the Scotchfort and Morell Reserves to consider creating a separate band so they could “have their own Council and conduct their own affairs.”
The matter was put to a vote, and on a stormy day in March, (7th), 1972, the majority of those who were able to attend the voting, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the separation. It was agreed that Lennox Island Band “would retain Lennox Island Reserve #1.” Morell Reserve #2, Rocky Point Reserve #3, and Scotchfort Reserve #4 would form the new Abegweit Band. The first election for the Abegweit First Nation occurred in May of that year, with Mrs. Margaret Bernard becoming the first Abegweit Chief, with Councillors Joe Jadis and Cyrus Sark also being elected on that day, 17 May 1972.
Developing a self-sufficient community together, with a healthy, educated attitude by promoting prosperity and sustainable resource development through partnerships, innovation, and one voice, Ours!
Advancing the Abegweit First Nation, socially, culturally and economically using a holistic approach through education and partnerships. Applying a fair and equitable approach to everything we do and creating a healthy and safe environment.
Chief Brian Francis was elected Chief of the Abegweit First Nation in August 2007.
Chief Francis was born September 28, 1957 in Lennox Island, Prince Edward Island. After receiving his early education in Lennox Island and Summerside, he completed four years of apprenticeship training and became a journeyman carpenter. He was the first Aboriginal person in PEI to receive his inter-provincial red seal trade certificate. In 1983, he accepted the position as Education Coordinator with the Abegweit First Nation, providing advice and guidance to Aboriginal students. From 1983-1988, he returned to school on a part-time basis with the Maritime School of Social Work.
In 1988, he began his career with the Government of Canada when he accepted a position with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Charlottetown. He served in various capacities with the Federal Government, including eight years as Employment and Issuance Officer with Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) and six years as an Employment Counsellor with HRDC. In 2002, he accepted the position as Aboriginal Coordinator with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and served in that position until his election as Chief and Band Administrator for Abegweit First Nation in August 2007.
Chief Francis is a strong advocate for continuing education and advanced learning. In 2005 he received his Certification in Conflict Resolution from UPEI. He believes that education expands your mind by challenging people to learn new skills and tools needed for employment by providing an opportunity to expand horizons. Chief Francis promotes education as a life achievement that fosters opportunity and potential for future success.
Chief Francis and his wife Georgina have three children, Kateri, Shawn and John Ryan. The couple resides in Rocky Point, Prince Edward Island.