MWikwedong Native Cultural Resource Centre
1723 8th Ave East
Owen Sound, ON
About the Centre
The M'Wikwedong Native Cultural Resource Centre (MNCRC) was incorporated on August 25, 2000 and became a member of the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC) on October 27, 2000. Its founding directors are: Monica Johnston, Don McKinnon, Eliza Knight, John Keeshig, John Edmonston, and Laurie Ann Drane all of which are from Owen Sound.
The MNCRC officially opened its doors to the community in June 2000. It was driven by a grassroots initiative comprised of a core group of 50 Aboriginal Owen Sound community members who worked on establishing a Friendship Centre in Owen Sound. The MNCRC was established to address the social, spiritual, mental and physical needs of the Urban Aboriginal Peoples from Owen Sound, the County of Grey and the County of Bruce by providing a safe environment for Aboriginal Peoples to fully participate in their Community.
At an emotional Sunday meeting at Westside United Church in May of 1998, the congregation invited the organisers to discuss their hopes for a Friendship Centre. After a full discussion, the church offered to let them utilise the old Douglas Street Mission on 8th Avenue East. The Native people in attendance were greeted by the congregation with a warm "Welcome home."
In July 1998, organisers and Neighbours of Nawash helpers went door-to-door in the neighbourhood informing people of their plans and the objectives of the Centre. The response was positive, one person saying, "Finally, we'll have a place to talk". Owen Sound City Council supported the initiative by passing a by-law to allow the new use of the building. Much of the credit must go to Rozella Johnston, Justin Johnston, Ann Findlay-Stewart and Linda Thompson of the Neighbours of Nawash who, with nearly no financial support, worked to see the project realised.
In the 2000's the MNCRC obtained funding through Health Canada for Canada Prenatal Nutrition and Community Action Program for Children. The MNCRC also become the proud owners of the building located at 1723 8th Avenue East.
The catchment area for M'Wikwedong encompasses what is traditionally known as the Saugean Ojibway Territory. This territory extends from Goderich, Ontario across to Meaford and includes the entire Bruce Peninsula. There are two First Nation communities within a 50-mile radius of the City of Owen Sound. The Chippewas of Nawash community has a membership of 2,100 with Saugean having close to 2,000.
To build a culturally empowered community where leadership, healthy living, education and respect thrive.
The MNCRC will promote physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being and will serve as a teaching and learning place that will facilitate the empowerment of the M'Wikwedong community in its reclamation of indigenous language and culture.
Aims and Objectives
- To establish a meeting place where our families can interact and promote cultural programs, services, and language benefiting our children now and in the future;
- To administer programs and services that educate our indigenous community around leadership, healthy living, language and culture;
- To advocate on behalf of the urban indigenous community through networking and outreach with municipal and regional organizations and various levels of government;
- To promote and role model positive, respectful relationships;
- To host and facilitate social and recreational activities and events;
- To provide opportunities for children and youth to develop leadership, language and culture; and
- To serve as a hub for indigenous services, resources and referrals.
Programs and Services
Akwe:go, Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program, Community Action Program for Children Community Wellness, Life Long Care, Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living, and, Wasa-Nabin.
Through its programs and services the MNCRC provides Language classes, community outreach, equipment lending, clothing and food bank, and transportation to and from doctor visits. Additionally, the Centre operates an Early Years Centre.