Welcome to the ANFCA Website



ANFCA Press Release: New Executive Director, Joanne Mason

031617 – ANFCA Press Release – new ED – FINAL



UP Press Release – UP 2016-17 Results

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 3, 2016 Alberta Friendship Centres Concerned with Significantly Delayed Release of Funds from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)


2016-17 CCS Online Application

Providing operational funding to urban Aboriginal community organizations to help them deliver programs and services that increase participation of urban Aboriginal peoples in the economy

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2016-17 Urban Partnerships Program Online Application

The Urban Partnerships Program seeks to increase urban Aboriginal People’s participation in the economy by providing funding to new projects that will build and/or maintain partnerships and that will attract and leverage additional investments from other stakeholders to support transitions by Aboriginal People into cities and towns.

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On April 28th, 1970, the Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA) became the first Provincial/Territorial Association to be incorporated. Since our inception, the ANFCA’s mandate has surged forward. Today we have one of the largest memberships in Canada: working in partnership with 20 Friendship Centres located in most major urban areas across Alberta building a future of wellness, equality and understanding for an urban Indigenous population of more than 199,000.

Each of the 20 Friendship Centres is dedicated to providing culturally-based programs and services that respond to the distinct needs of urban Indigenous people in their communities and bridging the gaps that occur between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in urban areas. In particular, Friendship Centres are recognized by government and community members for contributing to the revitalization of Indigenous culture; developing greater awareness and understanding of Indigenous peoples and their role in Alberta communities; and providing social, health, youth, children, employment, educational, community development cultural programming to Indigenous people so that they may live more successfully in urban areas.

What are Friendship Centres?

Dotted across the province of Alberta are twenty Friendship Centres quietly working to improve the lives of urban Indigenous people in their communities. As part of their mandate, Friendship Centres welcome all community members regardless of place of origin or status to partake in their services and programming. This sense of inclusively has earned Friendship Centres the reputation of a caring culturally driven community organization that is committed to improving the social, economic and educational opportunities available in their region.

Bound together with a common vision, Alberta Friendship Centres are members of the Alberta Native Friendship Centre Association and the National Association of Friendship Centres. The strong history of the Friendship Centre Movement began in the late 1950’s in response to the number of Indigenous people migrating to urban centres from remote and reserve locations. Over the years Friendship Centres have evolved from a safe place to meet and get referrals to autonomous, community-driven organizations, each with a mandate to address the needs of their community members. Building on success, Friendship Centres are well established, accountable, grassroots community organizations that are volunteer board driven.

As each Friendship Centre is autonomous and is responsible to respond to needs as identified by their community, the range of programs and services offered varies greatly. From accredited alternative schools to daycares and on to youth centres and employment programs to homeless shelters and cultural camps to life skills programs; Friendship Centres are frontline service providers and community supporters.

The Role of the ANFCA

The ANFCA offers operational and administrative assistance to each Alberta-based Friendship Centre. With an operational foundation made possible by the Alberta Government, the ANFCA has created a basis to meet the needs of the twenty Alberta-based Friendship Centres. With a goal to provide effective support to Friendship Centres, the ANFCA offers support in the following key areas:

  • Board development support and training
  • Management support and training of Friendship Centre staff
  • Culturally relevant resource development
  • Provincial management and delivery of the nationally mandated UMAYC and AFCP agreements
  • Partnership and coalition building
  • Development and implementation of provincial initiatives:
  • Alberta Aboriginal Youth Council
  • Alberta Aboriginal Elders’ Wisdom Circle
  • Sacred Circle Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative (SCADI)
  • HIV/AIDS Online Resources Centre
  • Building Healthy Boards
  • Responding to Diversity – A Cultural Awareness Program
  • The Indigenous Friendship International Initiative
  • Provincial Communications Strategy
Vision and Mission of the ANFCA

The ANFCA Vision

The Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association represents an amalgamation of strong, autonomous Alberta-based Friendship Centres and supports these member Friendship Centres in fulfilling their individual missions and visions with a common goal of improving the quality of life of all urban Indigenous people residing in Alberta.

The ANFCA Mission

The Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association is committed to improving the quality of life for Indigenous people in urban areas by supporting self-determined activities that encourage: the development of human and community resources; the improvement of socio-economic and physical conditions; better understanding and relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens; and the enhancement of Indigenous culture among Indigenous people and the communities they reside in.

The Need

Based on the Demographic Profile of the 2001 Census Analysis Series, nearly half (49%) of all those who identify as Indigenous People reside in urban areas. In Alberta, the total Indigenous population was recorded at 199,015 individuals according to the Alberta’s Aboriginal Population Report prepared by AAND Strategic Services in 2003. Of this population 44.3% are below 20 years of age and 77.7% are below 40 years of age. Of those who are 15 years of age and older, 43.9% have not received a high school diploma and only 5.1% have received a university degree. Unemployment amongst those 15 years of age and older is recorded as being 12.6%; 7.8% higher than the non-Indigenous population. Average individual annual income in 2000 was recorded as being $26,490 for males and $16,780 for females.

It is within this context that Friendship Centres must operate and provide services. The needs of the Friendship Centres are representative of the needs of those that they serve; and the ANFCA recognizes these needs and strives to provide consistent and dependable support for Friendship Centres.

Organization of the ANFCA


The primary membership for the ANFCA are the twenty Friendship Centres within the province of Alberta and their representatives that form part of the ANFCA Board of Directors and who also participate on the Alberta Elders’ Wisdom Circle and the Alberta Aboriginal Youth Council. Secondary clients include those individuals who access Alberta Friendship Centres and who benefit indirectly from the work done by the ANFCA. There are twenty Friendship Centres within the province of Alberta, each of which works with the ANFCA office to access supports and services.

Board of Directors

The Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association’s Provincial Board of Directors is made up of representatives from each of the 20 Alberta-based member Friendship Centres. During the ANFCA’s Annual General Meeting each member Friendship Centre sends two (2) voting delegates and during quarterly meetings, each member Friendship Centre sends one (1) voting delegate to each board meeting. The ANFCA’s Board of Directors is therefore made up of interested individuals that have been appointed by their home community to represent the interests of their region and to bring a voice and a vote to the Provincial Board of Directors.

Executive Committee

The ANFCA operates with the direction of an elected Executive Committee. The President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and National Board Representative are elected by their peers from the Provincial Board of Directors. To provide balance and equality the Alberta Aboriginal Youth Council and the Alberta Aboriginal Elders’ Wisdom Circle each appoints a representative from provide input on issues and to ensure a strong commitment to culture is maintained.

Elders’ Wisdom Circle

Formed in 2000, the Elders’ Wisdom Circle provides a format for Indigenous Elders of all Alberta-based cultures to join together in fellowship, to make recommendations to the ANFCA Board of Directors on issues as they relate to culture, programming and organizational direction, to increase opportunities for Elders to engage and interact with youth, to access training and educational opportunities as they relate to current and emerging issues, and perhaps most importantly to honour and infuse the ongoing value of traditional culture in daily life. Elders represent each member Friendship Centre from throughout Alberta and represent the diversity of Indigenous cultures found in the province.

Alberta Aboriginal Youth Council

Originally formed as the Provincial Aboriginal Youth Council (PAYC) in 1997 this group was renamed the Alberta Aboriginal Youth Council in 2003. This energetic group of Indigenous youth representatives ranging in age from 14-24 years comes together from across the province of Alberta to partake in cultural events and activities, to develop leadership skills and to participate in provincial scope training and projects such as the Aboriginal Youth Multi-Media project of Family Violence and Bullying. Each Alberta-based Friendship Centre can appoint a youth representative to attend quarterly ANFCA meetings and to partake in other provincial events and activities.

History of Friendship Centres

The Friendship Centre Movement began in the mid-1950s when groups were formed in most urban areas across Canada to represent the interests of the increasing number of Indigenous peoples migrating from outlying reserves. These early Friendship Centres existed mainly as referral agencies between established social service organizations and urban Indigenous residents. Funding of these early centres was dependent on individual volunteers and their ability to raise operating funds though various fundraising events and private donations.

As the stream of new arrivals continued to grow throughout the 1960s, Friendship Centre staff became increasingly aware of the need to extend their services beyond a referral mandate. For this to be possible, increased organization and adequate funding for each Centre was necessary. To support this transition, in the late 1960s, Friendship Centres began organizing into Provincial/Territorial Associations (PTAs): unifying bodies aimed at providing administrative support to each of the local Friendship Centres within their specified region.

With the increased organization and supportive network that ensued from the creation of the PTAs, local Friendship Centres were able to expand their services beyond their referral mandate to concentrate on proactively encouraging and assisting Indigenous peoples to adjust and thrive more successfully in their new urban environment. With this refocus, both the public at large as well as Provincial and Federal governments began to recognize the viability and importance of the Friendship Centre Indigenous Self-Reliance Movement.

In 1972, the government of Canada’s support of the movement was formally recognized with her implementation of the Migrating Native Peoples Program (MNPP); providing operational funding to each of the then 40 Centres across Canada. The MNPP was renamed the Aboriginal Friendship Centre Program (AFCP) in 1988. The federal government’s commitment to supporting Friendship Centres has been ongoing with the renewal of the Aboriginal Friendship Centres Program. The AFCP program now provides core operational funding to 115 local Friendship Centres across Canada— 20 of which are located in communities throughout Alberta.


moosehideThe Moose Hide Campaign is a grassroots movement started by the Friendship Centres in BC, in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous men join together to stand up against violence towards Indigenous women and children.  The Moose Hide Campaign consists of a swatch of moose, deer, bear, or buffalo hide worn on the lapel to symbolize support of the campaign. The Moose Hide Campaign consists of a swatch of moose, deer, bear, or buffalo hide worn on the lapel to symbolize support of the campaign.


Indigenous Climate Leadership Initiatitve

Indigenous Climate Leadership Survey

Written Submissions



May 4, 2016 Edmonton, Alberta, May 4, 2016– The Alberta Native Friendship Centres Association (ANFCA) has announced the Call for Proposals for the 2016-2017 Urban Partnerships Program (UP), established under the recently realigned Urban Aboriginal Strategy. Please... read more
16th Annual Recognizing Excellence in Friendship Centres

16th Annual Recognizing Excellence in Friendship Centres

Please find attached the Awards of Excellence 2014-15 Application.  Deadline for submissions: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2015.  Please fax or email all completed applications to Nelson Mayer: anfca.director@telus.net or via fax: 780.425.6277    Here is the Application... read more

Urban Partnerships Login

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Néya Napew Na Muton


Néya Napew Na Muton (a Cree phrase) translates to “I Am a Kind Man”. At a time when violence is invading whole communities “I Am a Kind Man” reminds us that violence has never been an acceptable part of Indigenous culture. This program embraces the seven sacred teachings which show us how to live in harmony with creation through wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility and truth.