Friendship centre working hard in Montreal


In response to this article (Nunatsiaq News, Feb. 18), as an urban aboriginal person who lives in the city of Montreal, I think it is important to state a few facts that are not mentioned.

First of all, the memorial service which was at the centre of this article was organized by the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal (NFCM).

Secondly, in response to the words of Ms. Ida Labillois-Montour, I believe that she perhaps should do more research before stating claims about the urban aboriginal population of Montreal. I work for the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal and I know that there are a number of projects run by the NFCM in an attempt to address this need.

Projects like Hep C HIV/AIDS Outreach, Ka’wahse Street Patrol and the most recent addition, Montreal Urban Aboriginal Homelessness. The NFCM works tirelessly developing proposals for funding, identifying the gaps in service and attempting to meet the demand. All of these projects provide services to the urban aboriginals of Montreal.

More information on all of the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal’s projects can be found on their website The NFCM is providing services to over 1,200 urban aboriginal people and the NFCM is only seeing this number grow. As well, the NFCM works to create partnerships with other organizations to further answer the needs of the urban aboriginal. Currently the NFCM is working with the Heart of the City Centre, which recently opened by Cabot Square.

Partnerships with Medecin du Monde to bring onsite testing, vaccinations and information services to the urban aboriginals on the street and at-risk.

I feel sorry that Ms. Labillois-Montour so quickly dismisses the hard work that many of the homeless and at-risk for homelessness urban aboriginal people in Montreal have done to better themselves through the many projects offered by the aboriginal organizations in Montreal such as the EPOC Life skills training provided through the NFCM, and the Native Women’s Shelter. The NFCM is currently finishing a seven-month life skills training program which has approximately 20 urban aboriginals ready to graduate at the end of March.

In addition, the NFCM will offer this program again in early fall and a further summer program to assist in job readiness. I believe the NFCM has taken a leadership role in addressing the issues of the urban aboriginal people. The NFCM is open and ready to provide information on current and future projects to any organization that requests it.

In conclusion I would like to invite Ida Labillois-Montour to visit the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal and learn about the services the NFCM offers and what the NFCM developing. The NFCM is always ready to partner and-or provide support with individuals or organizations to bring change to Montreal.

Celeste Hayward

Editor’s note: The above-mentioned article did not criticize the work of the Native Friendship Centre of Montreal, but rather, the rampant unjust social conditions that make that centre, along with other aboriginal friendship centers, so essential.

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