NORTH BAY, ON – In a combination funding announcement, report launch and community celebration held today at the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre, grants of $360,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and $100,000 from the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs were announced to support the Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS), a community initiative of the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre.
This announcement is the culmination of a two-year community-driven research and social action project, Urban Aboriginal Communities Thrive (U-ACT), designed to bring together both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members, organizations and other partners to lay the foundation for strengthening social and economic participation of North Bay’s Aboriginal people.
Walking the Red Road, Our community’s journey to help each person live a good life, reports on the findings of the project, first started in July 2012. That report, unique in its use of an Indigenous research framework, and containing individual stories and experiences, details both barriers and community-driven solutions offered by Aboriginal community members. Click here to read report
The report highlights eight key learnings, including the fact that an Aboriginal worldview influences how community members experience services and that those services need to be more responsive. Community members describe the pivotal role that Aboriginal culture plays in strengthening mental health and offer suggestions for better integrating Aboriginal culture into education, businesses and social services in North Bay.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation, along with a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, is funding North Bay’s UAS, which will implement the report’s Action Plan. Nancy Potvin, Executive Director of the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre, says, “Both OTF’s and the Ministry’s generous support will allow the Urban Aboriginal Strategy to strengthen the capacity of North Bay’s Aboriginal community with a diverse combination of traditional methods, mentoring and network and partnership development. That way knowledge can be shared with the entire community, as well as serving as a model for other communities in Ontario.”
“My congratulations go out to all those involved in this ground-breaking work aimed at not only improving quality of life in our community, but in others across the province as well,” says Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing.
“As part of Ontario’s Urban Aboriginal Action Plan, our government is proud to support the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre’s programs and initiatives that help create a greater quality of life and access to cultural programming for urban Aboriginal people,” says the Honourable David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. “By continuing to invest in North Bay’s Urban Aboriginal Strategy, we are helping to build a sustainable, healthy and resilient urban Aboriginal community.”
The North Bay Indian Friendship Centre aims to improve the quality of life for First Nation, Metis, and Inuit people in the urban environment of North Bay by supporting self-determined activities which encourage equal access and participation in society and which respects Aboriginal cultural distinctiveness.