[Ottawa, ON August 2, 2017] The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) hosted its 46th Annual Meeting this past week in Montreal, Quebec where more than 300 delegates and observers gathered to discuss issues of concern to the urban Indigenous population, provide feedback and direction to the NAFC, confirm members of its Board of Directors and elect new members to its Executive Committee.
The following individuals were elected to the Executive Committee of NAFC’s Board of Directors:
Christopher Sheppard (Newfoundland) was elected as President of the Association. Mr. Sheppard started with the Friendship Centre Movement as a member of the Aboriginal Youth Council, and has served in a variety of capacities on the NAFC Board of Directors. Most recently he served as NAFC’s interim President after the sudden passing of Mr. Nelson Mayer, President and long-time champion of the Movement.
Edith Cloutier (Quebec) replaces Bill Mintram (Saskatchewan) as Secretary of the Association.
Elijah Stirling-Mack (British Columbia) replaces Andrea Andersen as Youth representative on NAFC’s Executive Committee.
Mr. Sheppard, Ms. Cloutier, and Mr. Stirling-Mack join remaining Executive Committee Members, Kelly Benning (Alberta) who serves as Vice-President and Chester Langille (Ontario) who serves as the Association’s Treasurer.
Membership also confirmed the following new or returning members of the Board of Directors, Shari Caudron (Northwest Territories/ Nunavut), Anna Zanella (British Columbia), Donna Soles (Saskatchewan) replaces Tyler Sayese, Greg Fiddler (Manitoba), Tanya Sirois (Quebec), Patsy McKinney (New Brunswick), Pamela Glode-Desrochers (Nova Scotia), Jennifer Hefler-Elson (Newfoundland), Bill Webber (Yukon), Wally Sinclair (Alberta) replaces Merle White, and Rae-Anne Harper (Alberta) who replaces Desarae Bilinski as National Youth Representative.
In addition to the Annual Meeting, NAFC’s Aboriginal Youth Council (AYC) also hosted its Annual Youth Forum where youth from coast to coast to coast gathered to discuss issues of importance to urban Indigenous youth, and other business. The event also served as forum for electing members to the AYC’s Executive Committee and confirming AYC members at large. Newly elected AYC executive members include:
Rae-Anne Harper (Alberta) former Vice-President replaces Tyler Sayese as President.
Jenna Chisholm (Nova Scotia) replaces Rae-Anne Harper as Vice-President.
Lianna Rice (Labrador) replaces Brittany Whynot as Treasurer.
Ms. Harper, Ms. Chisholm, and Ms. Rice join remaining AYC Executive member Desarae Bilinski (Manitoba) who currently serves as Secretary.
The AYC also welcomes the following new and returning AYC members, Shyla Elgie (British Columbia), Stephanie (Jerri) Keeash (Ontario), Dakota Laliberte (Saskatchewan), Claudia Petiquay (Quebec), Carly Thomson (Atlantic), and Simiss Roan (Alberta) while bidding farewell to Brandy Fekete of Manitoba.
The NAFC wishes to welcome all incoming members and would like to thank departing members for their time and dedication to the Friendship Centre Movement.
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.
As the national body of the Friendship Centre Movement, the NAFC is democratically governed, status blind and accountable to its membership.
Marylou Mintram, Communications Officer