Audio by Brittney Pastion of CFWE-FM
On July 5, the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary announced a second location, an Indigenous hub that will provide appropriate programming, services and resources for the city’s Indigenous community.
Programming in six areas will include language and cultural, education and training, employment services, health services/opioid response, women’s health and wellbeing services/youth programming, as well as crime prevention and a community reintegration program.
In each program a dedicated position will facilitate including two elders that will begin work mid-July.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi was in attendee for the hub naming ceremony, now known in Blackfoot as "Iitaohkanitsini’kotsiiyio’p", meaning a place of conversation. It is located at 316-7 Ave.
“Today marks a milestone,” said Shane Gauthier, executive director for the friendship centre.
The centre’s partnering organizations include the Source, Alberta Mental Health, Inn from the Cold, and Calgary Homeless Foundation.
“It’s been two years in the making.” Gauthier said it was “a huge step forward in terms of truth and reconciliation for our people.”
The Indigenous hub was a response to the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the 46 Articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said Gauthier.
Financial support came from the City of Calgary, United Way of Calgary and Area, and Calgary Foundation, with special support from the Calgary Police Service. A ceremonial tenancy transfer between the CPS and the friendship centre was done through a pipe ceremony in April.