ARCHIVED - St. John's Native Friendship Centre, Newfoundland

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The St. John's Native Friendship Centre has successfully established itself as its own small community, reaching out to Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people from across Newfoundland and Labrador.

Transcript: St. John's Native Friendship Centre, Newfoundland

St. John's Newfoundland...

Cradled in a harbour carved of granite...

Surrounded by hills running down to the Atlantic ocean

The eastern most Canadian city...

And one of the oldest in North America...

It is the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador...

This thriving urban centre is home to over 100,000 people....

And where you'll find the St. John's Native Friendship Centre....a non-profit, community based agency serving the Aboriginal People of the province.

With a large number of Canada's Aboriginal Peoples living off reserve, in city centres, the 117 Native Friendship Centres throughout our country provide critical programs and facilities for their urban Aboriginal members.

There are approximately 1,000 Aboriginal people who call St. John's home, and many more that travel here from remote regions.

Established in 1983, St. John's Native Friendship centre services Inuit, Innu, Kablunangajuit, Métis, and Mi'kmaq people from all across Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Friendship Centre provides counselling, referral, advocacy, personal support and other confidential services to assist it's members with overcoming difficulties adjusting to an urban environment.

There are three other unique programs within the centre: The Four Winds Youth Centre, Employment Assistance Services and the Shanawdithit Shelter.

Employment Assistance Services has been operating for over two years.

A full-time counsellor is on staff to assist clients who wish to find employment or upgrade training, and to provide many other support programs such as career decision making.

In addition, the Employment Assistance Services office has a community access project site.

Computers, internet access, printers and scanners are made available to the general public to provide the means to write résumés and search for jobs.

The Four Winds Youth Centre is a beehive of activity. Throughout the year, over 110 youth make regular use of the centre.

The afterschool program offers culturally relevant programming to the youth in a safe and nurturing environment.

As well as doing their homework and making healthy snacks, kids take part in games and activities to enhance their understanding of their heritage.

The Shanawdithit Shelter provides critical care for homeless and transient people.

It supports clients with a variety of needs.

It may be a home away from home for family members visiting a sick relative in hospital...

...Or for hospital out-patients receiving treatments, like dialysis, not available in their own community.

...Or for people who have lost their homes or are in a family crisis... the shelter accepts people in all situations.

The 10-bedroom facility is complete with kitchen, play area, living room and dining room.

The familial atmosphere offers a safe and secure environment, reducing the emotional trauma for people requiring immediate assistance. In addition to providing these services the Friendship Centre also houses a striking display of Aboriginal arts and crafts for viewing and sale.

The Centre has long been an advocate for Aboriginal artists of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Works in a multitude of media, such as sculpture, beadwork, grass work, and jewellery are prominently displayed.

Traditional culture is promoted by the Friendship Centre through exhibits, publications and arts fairs.

Cultural presentations to schools and service groups also help promote Aboriginal awareness.

St. John's Native Friendship Centre welcomes non-Aboriginal members to participate in all of its programs to help promote understanding and communication between native and non-native people.

The St. John's Native Friendship Centre has successfully established itself as its own small community....reaching out to Aboriginal people from across Newfoundland and Labrador...

... and helping to maintain and promote traditional knowledge and culture for old and young alike ....

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