The NAFC Senate is an integral part of the Friendship Centre Movement. Senators are individuals who are recognized for representing a set of core values which reflect the history and evolution of the Friendship Centre Movement.
Senators may be called upon to provide information, guidance or advice to the Friendship Centre Movement from time-to-time. They are role models to Aboriginal youth and are highly respected ambassadors of the Friendship Centre Movement.
Senator Marjorie White (Marge) was born in Port Alberni to the Huu-ay-aht First Nation. Marge left her reserve in 1956 to pursue a career in Nursing in Vancouver, BC. In 1957, Marge became a member and President of the Coqualeetza Fellowship organization located in Sardis, BC. Influenced by the Fellowships push for the need of an Indian Centre the Vancouver City Council in 1963 finally supported the efforts of Marge and her colleagues who were directed to create an ad hoc committee to establish the guidelines to opening an Aboriginal social centre, later that same year, the first official Indian Centre in Vancouver was opened and Marge and her ad… Read More >
Senator Roger Obonsawin is a member of the Abenaki Nation of Atlantic Canada and Northern U.S. For the past 35 years, Roger has been actively promoting and defending treaty and Aboriginal rights of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. He is also a successful business person and owner and President of the OI Group of Companies: Obonsawin-Irwin Consulting Inc., OI Employee Leasing Inc., Native Leasing Services and OI Personnel Services Ltd. Roger is the founding president of the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) and Pedahbun Lodge (substance-abuse treatment centre). Roger has served on numerous Board of Directors including the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC), the Addiction Research Foundation and the… Read More >
Ray Fox was born and raised in North Battleford. His grandfather is Ed Fox (Mak-eh-cec) of the Sweetgrass First Nation. Ray has a long history of service and dedication to his people and his community. The constant theme in both his career and volunteer activities has been service to the community – whether as a politician, broadcaster, board member or director. He has also worked tirelessly to bring Aboriginal issues and perspectives to the forefront. Ray’s main employment is at the Battlefords Tribal Council as director of justice. He has extensive involvement in community justice awareness activities including public education and developing crime prevention strategies. Ray is one of five… Read More >
Senator Adeline Webber is a proud member of the Teslin Tlingit First Nation and was born and raised in Whitehorse, YT. Adeline became involved in the Skookum Jim Hall in the mid 1960’s, (later renamed Skookum Jim Friendship Centre.) She became a Skookum Jim Friendship Centre Board member in 1989 and would serve as President for ten years. After more than 15 years on the Board of Directors of the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre, having served on the executive during the entire period she retired in 2004 and was appointed honorary lifetime member of the society. In addition to her dedication to the Friendship Centre Movement, Adeline continues to be… Read More >
Senator Miriam YoungChief is a proud member of the Kehewin Cree Nation in Alberta. She is also a mother and grandmother, a sister and auntie. She first became involved in the Friendship Centre Movement in 1972 as a volunteer developing a feasibility study for a child care centre for the Canadian Native Friendship Centre of Edmonton. From there, her journey took her to the Sagitawa Friendship Centre in Peace River where, as program director she reintroduced youth involvement in traditional community activities. Then, as executive director, she developed training programs specifically designed for Friendship Centre staff and Boards of Directors. This was the first time anyone designed and delivered Friendship… Read More >
Senator T8aminik (Dominique) Rankin, a Native Algonquin from Abitibi (QC), lived in the forest according to the nomad way of life during his childhood. Carrier of 7 Sacred Pipes and close student of the regretted William Commanda, T8aminik's latest book, entitled “On nous appelait les Sauvages” (Editions Le Jour, 2011), recounts his incredible life story and the way he was able to heal from his six years at Amos Residential School. Vice Grand Chief and Grand Chief of the Algonquin First Nation from 1981 to 1989, he spent many years as the President of the Society for Education in Museology and Vice President of the International Movement for new Museology.… Read More >
Senator Helen Hudson-MacDonald was born and raised in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. Helen is a member of the Salt River First Nations. She has been involved in Aboriginal rights organizations and politics for many years in the Province of Saskatchewan and in the Northwest Territories. Helen became involved with the Friendship Centre Movement in 1971 spending many years as Board member of the Uranium City Friendship Centre and Saskatchewan representative at the national level. Upon her return to the Northwest Territories she became involved with the Uncle Gabes Friendship Centre filling the position of Secretary-Treasurer for four years before moving to Rae-Edzo, NWT. While in Rae-Edzo she became active in… Read More >
Senator Winston McLeod was born and raised in Selkirk, MB and has been an active member in his community all his life. Winston has served on the Selkirk Housing board as well as serving as board member of the Women’s shelter. Winston was instrumental in the building of the Selkirk Housing Co-operative and in the founding of the Selkirk Food Bank. Over the years, Winston has served as a board member of the Selkirk Friendship Centre and Vice President of the Manitoba Association of Friendship Centres. Read More >
Myrtle Banfield (nee Tooktoshina) was born in Otter Creek, Labrador and raised in Tessialuk; later moving to Happy Valley, Labrador. Myrtle presently lives in St. John’s and has two children, Lisa and Neil and is a proud grandmother to Steven and Emma. She is an accomplished Inuk woman and is a beneficiary to the Labrador Inuit Lands Claims Agreement in Nunatsiavut. Myrtle spent four years in Residential School in North West River, NL. Myrtle began working with the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre in June, 1988 and in 1991 became their sixth Executive Director. She has seen many changes in her Friendship Centre since it opened its doors in June… Read More >