About the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre

Our Mission Statement: To provide the Urban Indigenous People with the tools to achieve a balanced wholistic lifestyle.

Our Vision: Creating change that empowers Urban Indigenous People

Our History: In 1971 the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) was founded. The OFIFC is a provincial Indigenous organization that represents the collective interests of twenty-eight (28) member Friendship Centres. Its Friendship Centres improve the quality of life of the Indigenous people living in an urban environment by supporting self-determined activities and services which encourage equal access to and participation in society and respects Indigenous cultural distinctiveness.

In 1972, a group of Indigenous people established a temporary cultural centre, housed on Park St. South. The people felt there was a great need for “Gathering Place” in the Hamilton community. After a lot of hard work and encouragement from the Secretary of State and the Aboriginal community, the “Letters Patent” were issued on June 19, 1973. The founding members were, Stewart Victor Longboat, Helen Van Norman Probert and Elwood Cecil Montour.

Hamilton Regional Indian Centre (HRIC) is one of the 29 Friendship Centres within the network of the OFIFC, and provides wholistic, culturally safe and appropriate services and support to Indigenous people in and around Hamilton regardless of gender, nation, and status. HRIC provides services, supports and programming for all age groups: cradle to grave. HRIC is committed to providing access to cultural and traditional teachings and practices. We recognize the importance of connection to culture and community to ensure each individual success in overcoming the impacts of colonizing policies and practices that have negatively affected the Indigenous people of Hamilton.

About Us: Since 1972 the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre, has been providing the Indigenous community with a place to gather, access service and participate in Cultural teachings and practices. The Friendship Centre provides wrap around services in a culturally safe environment to help rebuild trust and provide a sense of belonging, allowing healing to take place. Indigenous service delivery agencies must have autonomy to implement and provide supports to make meaningful impact as we know the distinct needs of our community members and how to address them. As Indigenous people ourselves, only we can fully and successfully undertake the work to intervene and reverse the significant impacts of colonialism on our people.

Leadership: The Current Leadership of Hamilton Regional Indian Centre (HRIC) consists of Executive Director and two Program Managers overseeing 34 programs. The objectives of the Friendship Centre are carried out by the Executive Director under the oversight of a governance Board of Directors whom are elected from the Friendship Centre membership.

Aboriginal Alternative Secondary School Program (Strengthening Hamilton Aboriginal Education – SHAE)
Is an alternative education program for Aboriginal students wishing to continue their education, in a culturally appropriate learning environment, but not currently attending a secondary school to shorten the gap of Aboriginal student’s dropout rates within the mainstream school system. This program is in collation with Hamilton Wentworth School Board.

Aboriginal Alcohol/Drug Program
This program provides preventive services, intake/intervention, assessment and treatment, planning education awareness programs in the areas of alcohol, drug and solvent abuse using a wholistic approach.

Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Coordinator Program
This program focuses on improving Indigenous health and the reduction of family violence which is achieved through the provision of services for those most at risk, notably women and children. The delivery of programs and services are culturally appropriate and address the prevention, aftercare and concurrent impacts of family violence on health. Services can include: healing circles, peer counselling crisis intervention, education and training.

Aboriginal Healthy Babies/Healthy Children Program
This program promotes healthy growth and development of Indigenous babies, build on parenting skills, and link families with the community supports and recourses.

Akwe:go Program (Mohawk meaning “All of Us”)
This program is providing cultural activities for children 7 – 12 years old, focusing on the understanding and values of the Indigenous culture. Our focus is on bringing the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual components of the human personality together as children grow and become youth.

Apatisiwin Program (Swampy Cree meaning “Employment”)
This program provides interventions; defined as an action plan activity, within a specific timeframe, co-developed by a direct-service user and an Employment Counsellor. Action plans are used to identify employment and training goals such as: securing employment or self-employment, returning to school, staying in school, becoming read to enter the labour force, and improving their overall employability. Apatisiwin also offers employment related workshops, presentations, establishes partnerships with local employers and also supports job development and community-based projects (based on local community needs and labour market trends). Apatisiwin program and services are offered through culturally relevant approaches.

Canadian Prenatal/Nutrition Program (CPNP)
This program provides culturally appropriate information for the purpose of improving pregnant mothers’ and fathers’ knowledge in areas including: nutrition; healthy lifestyle; preparation of labour and delivery; breast feeding; newborn and baby care in a traditional and culturally appropriate manner

Canadian Community Action Plan for Children (CAP-C) program
This program provides support and services to families and their children (0-6yrs) through the provision of wholistic and culturally based activities.
Cultural Resource Coordinator Program
The Cultural Resource Coordinator (CRC) program provides children, youth, and families an access to cultural knowledge through a range of approaches, fostering positive Indigenous identity. This program plays a significant role in building and maintaining the cultural foundations essential to well-being and resiliency. Services are culturally reflective and prevention-based, with a focus on the need for culturally appropriate supports. All services promote connections with community, culture and tradition to reflect wholistic, strength-based approaches.

Cultural Capacity Trainer
This program provides cultural capacity training to external agencies, organizations and partners to build a framework to facilitate positive relationship development and equitable and safe services across the various sectors in the Greater Hamilton area.

A demonstration project designed to support young people aged 16-24 years with Child Welfare, Justice or Health Care involvement obtain and maintain housing and successfully transition into adulthood. This project utilizes a housing first for youth framework and a culturally appropriate case management model focusing on the 7 grandfather teachings, the medicine wheel and the circle of courage.

Family Diversion and Intervention Initiative
This initiative is to provide short term housing solutions for Indigenous families at risk of homelessness, family separation due to child welfare involvement, and/or family reunification where housing is the primary need. We actively support the family to find permanent, affordable and appropriate housing within a 3-4 month period.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and Nutrition Program
The FASD/Children’s Nutrition Program offers both traditional and contemporary approaches to FASD, on-site training and consultations. The program also provides intervention, prevention and programming including community development related to FASD. The FASD/CN provides a unique wholistic component and wraparound supports to its direct-service users and families. As FASD presents lifelong challenges, the program can provide tools to support independence in all aspects of life including (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) while also providing secondary support to caregivers to ensure that wholistic supports are received.

Food Bank
This service addresses food security challenges by providing access to resources to mitigate these issues. This is a priority as it can directly impact housing stability and health and wellness for our community members.

Housing Support Worker Program
This program provides housing supports and services to youth who are 16-17 years old and have a written agreement with a Child Welfare Agency (Voluntary Youth Services Agreement –VYSA). The HSW will assist youth in searching for and obtaining housing as well as maintaining housing. Life skills and other programing as well as 1:1 supports are offered to help youth gain the skills needed to live independently. The HSW connects youth to proper supports and services in the community to better assist them with household management and other areas in which youth can learn and grow.

Indigenous Community Mental Health Program
This program provides wholistic and culture-based supports to be responsive to the needs of mental health and addictions for urban Indigenous individuals and families, with a focus on trauma-informed and strengths-based approaches. This program delivers individual and group services including peer counselling, sharing circles and
other traditional and land-based activities that support the achievement of a Good Mind.

Indigenous Criminal Court Program

The Indigenous Court Worker is available to provide assistance to all Indigenous people who are in conflict with the legal system whether they are status, non-status, Metis, or Inuit. This program assists Indigenous adults and youth charged with a criminal offense under the Criminal Code of Canada. Criminal Court Workers help guide Indigenous adults and youth charged with a criminal offense to navigate the court process. The program assists accused offenders to better understand their rights, options and responsibilities when appearing before the courts through the guidance of a Court Worker.

Indigenous Combined Court Worker Program
This program assists Indigenous youth involved in the criminal justice system, separating couples involved in family court, and Indigenous families dealing with child welfare matters to navigate the court process. This program provides assistance to all Indigenous people who are in contact with the legal system (regardless of Status) to better understand their rights, options and responsibilities when appearing before the courts.

Indigenous Homelessness Support Worker Program
Supports Indigenous people who are in need of housing supports or resources to obtain, maintain or stabilize their housing. Staff will assist clients to explore various housing solutions, establish goals to maintain housing and increase longevity in tenancy and address their needs with dignity and respect.

Indigenous Youth Wellness Program (in partnership with Youth Wellness Centre St. Joseph’s Healthcare)
The Youth Wellness Worker connects with Urban Indigenous youth ages 16-25 by offering support to address mental health or trauma challenges from a traditional approach. This program helps to reconnect youth to the Indigenous community through the partnership with HRIC.

Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin (Ojibwe meaning “I am a kind man”)
This program provides an opportunity for communities to engage Indigenous men and youth in understanding violence against women and support them in joining together to end the violence. Kizhaay Anishinaabe Ninn workers provide one to one peer counselling and group activities to assist men who are committed to ending violence against women in their personal lives and within their community.

Landlord Liaison Worker
The Landlord Liaison position is funded through the UIHB stream and provides a much-needed connection to assist Indigenous people in finding suitable tenancy. A primary objective of this position is to establish relationships with property managers and landlords to increase available stock and mitigate risks to housing security.

Lifelong Care Program
This program provides community support services to Urban Aboriginal clients, regardless of age, who are disabled, chronically ill, frail, or elderly.

Literacy and Basic Skills – Native Learning Centre
This Employment Ontario program is funded in part by the Government of Ontario, through the Canada-Ontario Job Fund Agreement and Ontario’s Employment and Training Network. Areas of skill development include reading, writing, basic math and life skills.

Mobile Street Outreach
This team is out in the community reaching out to the at risk and homeless population by providing access to resources, a meal, hygiene supplies, and personal products to those in need. The staff will connect with mainstream service providers to build relationships and foster positive access to services.

Reintegration Navigator
Developed to reduce gaps and provide support to those who are exiting or divert from institutions, primarily corrections and healthcare, where housing is the primary need. The Navigator will provide access to supports and resources that will assist clients to reintegrate into the community successfully.

Right to Play
The Right to Play program focuses on leadership, health and diabetes, physical activities and cultural components. Programming is available for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth between the ages of 14-24 years.

Urban Aboriginal Healthy Kids Program
Healthy Kids Program assists the children ages 7-12 yrs. old with a focus on wellbeing through nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices.

Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program
The Urban Aboriginal Healthy Living Program promotes a healthy lifestyle by providing program delivery that supports to improved overall health through increased physical fitness, smoking reduction, and healthy eating education.

Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound: Hamilton
Urban Indigenous Homeward bound (UIHB) is a four-year initiative that aims to systematically address the barriers sole-parenting Indigenous women face when trying to find meaningful employment, enhances wellbeing, and prosperity for themselves and their children. UHIB is founded on the provision of key supports such as housing,
access to culture, childcare, education and life-skills, transportation, case coordination, health access and mental health supports. UHIB culminates in post-secondary attainment and opportunities for career-track employment at family sustaining salaries.

Wasa Nabin (Ojibwe meaning “to look ahead”)
This is a program that assists the Urban Indigenous youth at risk between the ages of 13-18 years old. It helps in providing access to activities that will ensure choices to healthy lifestyles; Client based support objectives general social support, youth in care, healthy eating and physical development, education, justice interventions and violence

Youth Concurrent Disorders
This program provides culturally appropriate supports for Urban Indigenous young people ages 16-24 with combined mental health and substance use issues in order to enhance their wellbeing and create balance in families and community.

Youth Employment Counsellor
The Youth Employment Counsellor co-develops with direct-service users interventions defined as an action plan activity, within a specific timeframe. Action plans are intended to assist direct-service users with their employment and training goals such as: securing employment or self-employment, returning to school, staying in school, becoming ready to enter the labour force, and improving their overall employability. We also provide enhanced supports for “in-school-youth” which includes early interventions (for those in grades K12). Youth Employment Counsellors work with community members to conduct trauma informed and strength-based assessments to help determine and administer appropriate interventions, monitor outcomes, and conduct follow up.

Youth in Transition
This program supports First Nations, Metis and Inuit youth between the ages of 16-24 years old, currently in care or exiting the Child Welfare System. We support youth to identify and achieve their goals through the various programs offered at HRIC and other Indigenous and non-Indigenous agencies.

Youth Outreach Worker Program (in partnership with Wesley Centre)
The Youth Outreach worker is out in the community engaging with youth ages 12 – 21 and their families to connect them to various resources.