United Native Friendship Centre
P.O. Box 752,
516 Portage Avenue
Fort Frances, ON
About the Centre
The United Native Friendship Centre (UNFC) was incorporated on January 31, 1973 and became a member of the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC) on February 25, 1973. Its founding directors are: Jim Windego, Henry Ottertail, Delores Roach, Jerry Woods, Cathy Bruyere, Frederick Burtrum Joseph Whitehead, Ronald King, Charles Steward McCormack, and Willie Wilson.
The UNFC was brought into concept in 1971. After many meetings with the community resources and service clubs, a Board of Directors was established consisting of professional and business people from within the Fort Frances District as well as the First Nations communities. Official incorporation took place in January 1973 and the official opening of the building occurred in May 1973. This was the birth of the United Native Friendship Centre in Fort Frances. In January 1991, the Centre moved into a brand new building which is now the main building located at 516 Portage Avenue. In the fall of 2000, a second building was purchased in order to accommodate the ever-growing programs and staff. Both buildings are within one block of each other and are easily accessible to everyone who utilizes the Friendship Centre's programs. In 2004 a third building was purchased at 308 Butler Avenue which houses our Zaagi'idiwin Aboriginal Headstart program.
Since its early beginnings, the Centre has grown from two to nineteen programs which are housed in three buildings in Fort Frances. Within the current programs are mini-programs and support staff that provides services over and above the mandates of each individual program.
The Centre now has seventy five members and seven board members. This however, does not reflect the other resources that are vital to the Centre. The Centre has elders who provide the cultural and spiritual teachings and many professional resources that give advice and direction to the Centre staff as it is needed. As well, the Centre has formed other links to Aboriginal agencies in our community, by creating partnerships with community service providers and having representation on boards and committees. This process creates excellent communication and strong networking of services. All of these resources are required so the Centre can maintain the four primary functions of counseling, education, social and cultural development that were outlined during the formative years of the Centre.
In 2011, the UNFC will celebrate a very productive and successful 40 years of service in our community. This is the result of community effort, outstanding staff and a dedicated Board of Directors. The Centre looks forward to many more years of growth and development.
Aims and Objectives
- To supply and render services of a charitable nature to Native people;
- To provide, operate, and maintain rehabilitation and drop-in centres to assist Native people;
- To promote, instruct, display and perform handicrafts, art, language, literature, dancing, music and other cultural pursuits of Native people;
- To acquire, accept, solicit or receive by purchase, lease, contract, donation, legacy, gift, grant, bequest or otherwise any kind of real or personal property and to enter into and carry out agreements, contracts and undertakings in furtherance of the above objects;
- To provide a gathering place for Native people of the Fort Frances area;
- To provide a setting where Native people can learn to plan and execute their own social, educational and cultural activities;
- To provide a translation referral and counselling service to Native people of the Fort Frances area as well as to those passing through the said Town of Fort Frances;
- To provide programs geared to helping Naive people adjust to an urban way of life and retain a sense of identity in a new environment;
- To provide a place where Native people can meet and discuss mutual concerns; and
- To plan with governmental agencies and with health, welfare, church and other agencies and groups to improve the number and quality of services to, and facilities for, Native people in the Fort Frances area.
In recognition of the ever-changing world in which we live the UNFC is dedicated to enhancing the lives of Native and non-native people in its community and surrounding area. Its primary responsibility is to serve Aboriginal people with special services in the fields of social, educational, and cultural development. While at the same time, building a bridge of understanding between Native and non-Native people.
Programs and Services
Akwe:go, Wasa-Nabin, Alcohol and Drug, Apatisiwin, Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program, Combined Courtwork, Community Action Program for Children, Community Career Development, Community Mental Health Development, Community Wellness, Criminal Courtwork, Healthy Babies Healthy Children, Homelessness partnering, Alternative Secondary School, Life Long Care, and, Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living.
In addition, the UNFC offers Wiinisidotam Adult Literacy, Youth Justice, and Zaagi'idiwin Aboriginal Headstart.