“Reconciliation between the Crown and the Indigenous Peoples of this land cannot be fully realized until the systemic barriers and root causes of violence against Indigenous Women and Girls are fully addressed.” ~ Christopher Sheppard, President of the National Association of Friendship Centres.
[Ottawa, October 4, 2017] The Board of Directors of the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) would like to extend its ongoing thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of the more than 1180 Indigenous Women and Girls who have gone missing or whose lives have been taken through senseless acts of violence. It encourages all Canadians to take time today to remember those who have been lost along with their families and loved ones. NAFC also encourages all Canadians to honour and celebrate Indigenous women and girls for the valuable contributions that they continue to make to their families and communities, and to Canada as a whole.
“Friendship Centres across Canada from coast-to-coast-to-coast have been working for more than 50-years to support the development of safe and healthy communities for all urban Indigenous people in Canada. In doing so, it strives to deliver culturally enhanced “wrap around programs and services” to more than 780,000 through 119 Friendship Centres across Canada,” said NAFC Executive Director Erin Corston. She went on to say that, “despite our best efforts Friendship Centres are often limited in the support that they can provide as many Centres struggle to provide basic services due to lack of funding. If we are going to address the root causes of violence we must ensure a reliable continuum of services that meet the needs of the growing urban Indigenous population across their life span.”
To ensure that Friendship Centres are well equipped to advocate for improved programs and services, the NAFC has developed a public policy position. The position statement titled, Building and Supporting Safe and Healthy Urban Indigenous Communities (2017) solidifies the NAFC’s commitment to ending violence against Indigenous Women and Girls in all its forms and provides examples of how others including governments, organizations and individuals can contribute to safety and wellbeing of all Indigenous Women and Girls not only today but for generations to come. “We need the support of all Canadians if we are going to end the epidemic of violence against our Women and Girls. It is an integral step in the reconciliation process as reconciliation between Canada and the Indigenous Peoples of this land cannot be fully realized until the systemic barriers and root causes of this violence are fully addressed,” stated NAFC President Christopher Sheppard.
National Association of Friendship Centres
The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) is a network of 125 Friendship Centres and Provincial and Territorial Associations (PTAs) from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Friendship Centres are Canada’s most significant off-reserve Indigenous service delivery infrastructure and are the primary providers of culturally enhanced programs and services to urban Indigenous residents. For over half-a-century, Friendship Centres have been facilitating the transition of Indigenous people from rural, remote and reserve life to an urban environment. For many Indigenous people, Friendship Centres are the first point of contact to obtain referrals to cultural based socio-economic programs and services.
Marylou Mintram, Communications Officer
For more information on our policy statement visit:
Building and Supporting Safe and Healthy Urban Indigenous Communities:
National Association of Friendship Centre’s Policy Position Statement on Addressing Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls.