Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre
401 N. Cumberland Street
Thunder Bay, ON
About the Centre
The Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre (TBIFC) is one of the "original six" Friendship Centres in Ontario, founded in 1964 and incorporated on February 15, 1968. TBIFC is also the founding member of the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC) which was incorporated 1971.
In response to an increasing number of Native people migrating to Thunder Bay, the Friendship Centre was established in 1964. The original building was a small frame structure that served as a meeting place for the many young Native people in town. Its staff was entirely volunteer yet their energies managed to develop the Centre as both a referral and an outlet for youth programs. With a constant increasing demand on its services, the Friendship Centre soon out-grew the small building. In 1972, after several years of seeking government and community support, a new Centre was constructed on the original property. Today, the Centre operates with a Board of Directors and employs a large staff to maintain its programs and services.
For over 30 years, funding has been provided through the Young Canada Works Program to hire students to deliver the summer program.
The TBIFC is called upon to participate in consultations with various levels of governments, other social service agencies and specific interest groups (i.e. Rising Aboriginal Voices Youth Forum, Municipal Aboriginal Leadership Gathering, Aboriginal Liaison Strategy - Canadian Paraplegic Association (Ontario), United Way Community Discussion, Regional Discussions - Ministry of Child and Youth Services, and Quality Palliative Care in Long-Term Care Alliance specifically in relation to Aboriginal seniors).
The TBIFC sits on many committees including: Aboriginal Domestic Violence Committee, Residential Placement Advisory Committee, Mental Health and Addictions Network, Ontario Works Addictions Services Initiative, Inter-agency Committee - Addictions, and North-western Ontario Aboriginal Achievement Awards just to name a few.
Each year, community elders assist the Centre by conducting spring, summer, fall and winter feasts including providing traditional teachings to staff and community members. Staff also assist community members to gather medicines (sweet grass and sage) and food for use during the year (i.e. picking strawberries and blueberries).
Each year, the Centre contributes food and a handmade cedar wreath to support Fort William First Nation in hosting the Remembrance Day ceremonies held on Mount McKay. This event has grown over the years with many Aboriginal family members laying wreaths on behalf on their veterans.
To develop a sense of Native community in the city of Thunder Bay with opportunities for involvement and control by community members in addressing the issues that affect their lives.
Programs and Services
Akwe:go, Alcohol and Drug, Apatisiwin, Child Nutrition/Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Combined Courtwork, Community Action Program for Children, Community Career Development, Community Wellness, Criminal Courtwork, Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth, Community Mental Health Development, Family Courtwork, Kizhaay, Life Long Care, Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living, and, Wasa-Nabin.
In addition, TBIFC also delivers Treatment and Aftercare, Anishnawbe Skills Development, and Gladue.