Meetings May Decide Fate of Métis Friendship Centre

By Paul, Alexandra | Winnipeg Free Press, May 31, 2017 | Go to article overview

Meetings May Decide Fate of Métis Friendship Centre


Paul, Alexandra, Winnipeg Free Press


The doors are still open at the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre of Winnipeg thanks to proceeds from community bingo three times a week, but the clock is ticking.

A pair of critical meetings over the next couple of weeks will likely decide whether provincial funding is restored or cut off for good.

Manitoba Association of Friendship Centres president Muriel Parker said Tuesday its board is meeting June 3 to June 4 to decide its future involvement the Winnipeg centre, which could close the doors on a friendship centre history that's among the oldest in Canada.

"We will be making a decision then as to what we will do, to help or not help the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre of Winnipeg," she said. "We will either cut our ties with them or we third-party manage, but that decision will be made this weekend."

If the association decides to keep its ties with the friendship centre, Parker said the third-party option would likely involve the association's board taking over operations from the current staff until the Winnipeg centre can elect a new board.

That election follows the association's decisive meeting. After electing an interim board in April in an effort to keep going, the centre scheduled its formal annual general meeting for June 12 to 13. The election of a permanent board is the main agenda item.

The North End community centre has weathered a rocky 18 months of internal turmoil, just as it should be preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Set up to provide services for indigenous people, the Winnipeg centre has long held the title as the first friendship centre in Canada to be officially incorporated.

Keeping the doors open this winter has been a pitched battle. Federal and provincial funding totalling $369,740 was frozen in December. In February, the Manitoba Association of Friendship Centres threatened to boot the friendship centre out of the 11-member provincial organization. …

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