The Grande Prairie Friendship Centre (GPFC) was created to deliver programs that meet the needs of Indigenous people in our community migrating to urban centres. We strive to bridge the cultural gap between the Indigenous and non Indigenous communities through a wide variety of initiatives.

You will also find information on how you can support the GPFC through sponsorship or volunteering, along with membership details & partnership information.

If you cannot find the information you’re looking for or would simply like to speak to a member of our team, you can get in touch by using the email form on the Email Us page.

Our Board

The Grande Prairie Friendship Centre is governed by a publicly membership-elected board, consisting of 12 board members and one youth member from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds.

This dedicated team of volunteers oversees the extensive number of events, programs, and initiatives offered by the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre. Their experience and knowledge have been a true asset to our community and we are grateful for their commitment and expertise.

Friendship Centre Movement

Since 1965, the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre has existed to administer and implement programs to meet the needs to Indigenous people migrating to or living in cities while bridging the cultural gap between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.

In cooperation with community agencies, we work vigilantly to remove barriers the Indigenous community experiences on a daily basis. We celebrated our 50th anniversary on September 8, 2015. The GPFC is one of many Friendship Centres across Canada. If you want to find more information on the Friendship Centre nearest you, visit the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association directory.

 

Grande Prairie Friendship Centre History

1960's

  • 1965: Our first Director is appointed
  • 1966: The Friendship Centre opens as “A home away from home”
  • 1967: A new manager is selected (as recorded in the Daily Herald Tribune)

1970's

  • 1970: Dr. Arnold Murray presents our first scholarship to native student Doug Bulldog
  • April 1971: GPFC has 235 members, averages 39 visitors/day, and has a total annual attendance of 11,121
  • September 1971: The National Association of Friendship Centers is formed, representing 30 centers across Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia
  • June 1972: Secretary of State Gerard Pelletier announces a five-year, $25 million federal program to reinforce the network of Friendship Centers
  • January 1974: A Native Information Centre is launched to assist natives in finding accommodation, employment, and dealing with social and private agencies
  • May 1978: Buffy Sainte-Marie, national coordinator of “The Longest Walk”, visits the GPFC to discuss the protest legislation that would abolish native treaty rights

1980's

  • October 1982: GPFC moves to 10105 97 Ave.
  • 1982: The first graduating class of the GPFC’s Native Education Awareness and Training (NEAT) program; a 14-week life skills training and academic upgrade program including four weeks of job experience
  • April 10, 1985: GPFC as 2500 sq feet are added to the centre
  • June 1st, 1985: GPFC holds an open house to celebrate its 20th Anniversary
  • May 12, 1986: GPDC purchases the Winners Circle Bingo Hall
  • April 17, 1986: GPFC purchases the lower floor of the 97 Ave. location
  • December 1986: GPFC’s $110,000 mortgage is retired (10105-97 Ave)
  • January 1988: The first graduating class of our 40-week Native Counselling Training Program

1990's

  • 1993: The United Nations declares 1993 the year of the world’s indigenous people
  • August 25, 1995: GPFC celebrates its 30th anniversary
  • Fall 1995: The Aboriginal Head Start program enters its pilot stage before partnering with PHAC in 1996 to become a full program offering services to children 3-5 years
  • June 21, 1995: National Aboriginal Day is celebrated at Muskoseepi Park
  • 1998: Babies’ Best Start program is launched in partnership with Health Canada to provide services to pregnant and parenting women of children 0-2 years
  • March 13, 1999: GPFC retires the bingo hall mortgage
  • 1999: The Urban Multipurpose Aboriginal Youth Centre program is created to serve youth aged 14-24

2000's

  • 2000: Finance Minister Paul Martin visits the GPFC to promote the Aboriginal Head Start Program
  • March 2000: The 1st annual Spirit Seekers Youth Conference is held
  • September 15, 2000: GPFC’s Campus Outreach Centre is officially opened
  • September 2000: GPFC celebrates its 35th anniversary and hosts the provincial annual general meeting of Friendship Centres
  • March 2005: Susan Aglukark performs at the 6th annual Spirit Seekers Youth Conference
  • June 2005: Aboriginal Head Start celebrates 10 years with a reunion of former children and families of the program
  • 2005: GPFC’s 40th anniversary
  • 2007: UMAYC becomes Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth

2010's

  • June 2010: The 1st annual Walk for Friendship is held across the province to generate awareness of the Friendship Centres and raise funds for local activities
  • October 4, 2010: 1st annual Sisters in Spirit vigil walk is held in conjunction with other communities across Canada to honour the lives of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls
  • Fall 2010: GPFC’s on-campus location partners with the Grande Prairie Regional College to bring in an Elder in residence
  • Winter 2011: Renovations are started at the 10105-97 Ave. location to expand the Aboriginal Head Start Program and move the outreach and elder’s lounge
  • January 2012: Melodie Wilton, long-time member, former board member, former president and former executive director, passes away following her battle with cancer
  • Spring 2012: First Urban Dialogue is conducted to gather information from the community about what they would like to learn
  • March 2012: Aboriginal Head Start opens a second classroom
  • March 2013: Babies’ Best start moves to the 10507-98 Ave. location, allowing the Mamewpitaw Program to expand
  • September 2013: Angie Crerar is honored as long time board member; Edward Ferguson is honored with a lifetime membership
  • Fall 2013: 2nd round of Urban Dialogues is conducted, this time including the industry
  • April 2014: New project Iskwew begins a 9-month program to provide life skills to women
  • Fall 2014: 3rd round Urban Dialogues begins with a focus on bringing community and industry together to create a regional strategic plan
  • May 2015: GPFC begins celebrating its 50th anniversary
  • Pitone Youth Program and Mikis Beading Project are launched thanks to urban initiatives funding
  • September 2015: GPFC hosts the Provincial Friendship Centre’s Annual General Meeting and hosts a mini-round dance
  • March 2016: Mikis Bead Project ends
  • June 2016: Miranda Laroche becomes Executive Director after former Board President and Executive Director Kelly Benning steps down