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Indian-Metis Friendship Centre Of Prince Albert

Alex Primeau, Executive Director

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JANUARY 1971      v02 n01 p03  
The Aims and Objectives of the Centre:

1. To study the needs of Indians and Metis people of Prince Albert, and
2. To initiate community action in respect to those needs.
3. To encourage the fuller community participation of the people of Indian descent.
4. To create a better understanding between Indian and non-Indian citizens. With these aims and objectives in mind the Centre does the following:

One member of the staff namely the Case and Court Worker attends court sessions daily. There he assists anyone who is in need of help. He works very closely with the Magistrate, the police, and the legal profession and provides service that is of a benefit to all people.

In our street work we visit the bus depot, station, beverage rooms, cafes and poolrooms. During these visits we assist people whom we contact whenever help is needed. There have been occasions when our assistance has been required to rectify situations that arise in these places.

We try to keep the Centre open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily except Sunday when we ask for-voluntary help to keep the Centre open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.  The facilities of the centre is used by both young and old.  The Youth Club who have their own elected officers run the business that concerns them. They are assisted by two members of the Board of Directors who act as their advisors. The Staff assist them in preparation of the various projects, which they promote. A separate room in the Centre has been set aside for the older people who visit. This is a place where they can sit, relax, talk amongst themselves, visit with one another, and a cup of tea will be provided.

The people who visit the Centre are treaty Indians, Metis and white. They come to us with their problems, these are varied and many. Their problems can include the following: Financial, Marriage, Employment, Discrimination, Pensions, Workmen's Compensation, Birth Certificates, etc. We listen to their problems and counsel them and refer them to the connected agency. These agencies include Indian Affairs, Indian-Metis Department, Provincial, City Social Services, Provincial Department of Welfare, the National Parole Board, the John Howard Society, the Salvation Army, the Magistrate Court, City Police, the R.C.M.P. and the Legal Profession. Various service clubs have been of assistance to us. We assist transient people, who are in need of food and lodging.

We receive clothing and these are dispersed to people who need and want them. We have been successful in obtaining room and board, housing, and employment for native people. Some financial help has been given to our people but this is on a loan basis.

Transportation has been provided for the older people who must go to the hospitals, doctor or to any other agency where they have appointments.

Projects that the Centre have sponsored include the following:  Indian - Metis Days and official opening of the Centre, Saskatchewan Princess Pageant, entry for Winter Festival Queen, Sewing and Knitting classes, Boxing, Cree classes, Native History and Culture, Weekly Bingo, 1970 Indian - Metis Provincial Golf Tournament, Local Friendship Centre Golf Tournament. Curling team to Fort Qu'Appelle Provincial Bonspiel.

We are also the outside sponsors of the Native Brotherhood, a group of natives who are in the Saskatchewan Penitentiary. Just recently a workshop was held there. Outside guests were invited to listen to 10 inmate speakers who related their present problems from childhood to their present environment. It was conceived, planned and produced solely by Inmates. It is the opinion of the Administration, the members of the Native Brotherhood and all outside guests that this workshop the first of its kind in a penal institution in Canada was a tremendous success. The outside guests have a better understanding of the problems that an inmate faces when he comes out to join the mainstream of society.

Visits and interviews are held at the Correctional Institute (Jail) and at Pine Grove (Ladies). Our services are required quite frequently at these places. Our relationship with the administration of these institutions is very good.

The Centre facilities are used for meetings, socials, classes, recreation, and a Community College. The Lounge area is quite popular with groups of 20 or less for meetings.

The Community College, part of the Prince Albert Technical High School has adult classes in the auditorium. These are in the form of upgrading and include many native people.

On Monday evenings a class of Native History and Culture is held. This is in charge of Val Nighttraveller, Cultural Centre, Saskatoon. This course will last for 20 weeks.

Conversational Cree classes are held on Wednesday evenings. This also is a 20 week course. The instructors are Stu Prosper and Jake Mike.

On behalf of the Executive and Board Members, the staff extends an invitation to one and all to visit the Centre and make use of the facilities that are provided.

    Alex Primeau,
    Executive Director.