“The Prince George Native Friendship Centre is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization dedicated to servicing the needs of Aboriginal people residing in the urban area and improving the quality of life in the community as a whole. Fundamental to this is the recognizing the inherent worth of all peoples regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, or culture and to promote this view in the community at large”
Our Mission Statement:
“We are a dynamic and compassionate team facilitating individual, family, and community growth, well-being and mutual understanding through the “power of friendship”.
History of Friendship Centres:
The history of Friendship Centres in British Columbia dates back to 1954 when a group of concerned Aboriginal people in Vancouver formed the Coqualeetza Fellowship Club in order to provide support services to Aboriginal students moving to the city. Although providing support to students remained a primary objective of this group, the organizers over the next few years found themselves responding to ever increasing requests for services from Aboriginal people moving into Vancouver. In 1963, the incorporation of the Coqualeetza Fellowship Club as the Vancouver Indian Centre Society marked the beginning of the Friendship Centre movement in British Columbia.
In response to the growing need to provide services to urban Aboriginal people, in 1971, the Federal Government, through the Department of the Secretary of State, introduced the Migrating Native People’s Program, which provided core funding to Friendship Centres. Over the next ten years this initiative led to fourteen new Centres being established in BC, attesting to both the need and community support existing across the province.
In these early years, Friendship Centres were primarily perceived as a place where Aboriginal people could drop in and have a cup of coffee; a place where they could socialize with their own people and receive emotional support. During these formative years, Friendship Centres offered few direct services as their primary role was to refer people to existing social services agencies.
While each Friendship Centre is as unique as the community it serves, all are united in their efforts to improve the quality of life of Canada’s Aboriginal people and to protect and preserve Aboriginal culture for the benefit of all Canadians. Friendship Centres are reflective of the communities they serve, controlled at the local level and, above all else, responsible to and responsive to the people they serve
The Prince George Native Friendship Centre (PGNFC) has grown and continues to be one of the largest and busiest community service delivery agencies in Prince George. Our clientele of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples have supported the Centre’s program offerings for the last 41 years. The PGNFC provides culturally appropriate programming to meet the community’s unique and diverse needs. We offer a wide variety of services, which includes educational, employment, health, and social programs.
Today the PGNFC is a multifaceted organization employing over 200 people, offering a broad range of services to approximately 200,000+ “Friends of the Centre” annually and has the privilege of having many “Friends” come through our programs to become staff within the Centre. For 41 + years the PGNFC has been working towards meeting the original mandate as well as successfully adapting to the changing needs of our community.
Culturally Appropriate Practices:
Our principles and philosophy are grounded in family-based, community development activities and understanding. The PGNFC also believes strongly in the provision of client-centered, holistic and respectfully programming to individuals and families accessing our services. Our guiding values and beliefs are embedded in a respectful and culturally appropriate practices as directed by Elders and other leaders versed in traditional ceremonies.