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APRIL1212 1111 15151414 06060707 0909table of contents0303Executive Directors'Message0404Spring Dinner0808Strategic Plan 20230606Pow Wow0707North Bay IndigenousCoalition0909Youth Art RetreatPlanned1010Youth Council Info1111Employee of the Month1212Suswin Says Thanks! 1313Where Are YouSpring?? - A shortstory1414Prenatal Graduationand Baby Shower1616Ribbon Skirts for YoungWomen2121Staff DirectoryThe North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre980 Cassells St. North Bay, OnP1B 4A8(705)472-2811 reception@nbifc.orgwww.nbifc.org1717Photos of SuswinVillage - art is up,residents are movingin.1818Marilyn Makes a FriendPrenatal Nurtritionand BabyAnnouncements2222

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FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTORAniin Boozhoo, Wachay, Spring has finally sprung, the maple sap isrunning, and animals are waking up. Thisyear the NBIFC has many events in theplanning stages; with the majority of theCOVID restrictions lifted, many more eventswill happen in person, which I know we alllong for. Planning for the Maamwi Kindaaswin Pow-Wow on June 10th and 11th is underway.The theme, “Celebrating Our Growth,”reflects everything good about the NBIFC,this community, and its people. I regularlysee people who have grown up as youthcoming to the Centre for activities, nowbringing their own children and evengrandchildren for the programs thatcontinue today. I’ve visited Suswin Village regularly andtalked with the residents as they settledinto their routines. The residents are a bigpart of decision-making for programmingand events at Suswin as it is their home andtheir space, and taking ownership of how itruns is a big part of the success of this kindof home. We all need to do our parts, inwhatever capacity we can, to help ourpeople. By doing so, we all move forwardtogether and can enjoy our success as one.Everyone has something they cancontribute and brings value to ourcommunity. NBIFC NEWSLETTER APRIL 2023 | Page 3We have been working on the StrategicPlanning process for the past month, and theBoard went on a retreat for a day to worktogether on creating a framework for thecommunity to build from. The Membershipwill see and discuss this plan at the SpringDinner on April 5th. This year the Annual General Meeting will behappening in person. It’s important, if youare a card-carrying member of the NBIFC, toattend and lend your voice and support tothe NBIFC community so we can continue togrow. The meeting will be on June 14th,2023, at the NBIFC Gymnasium. We lookforward to seeing you there. I have been working on forming a youthcouncil, the NBIFC was built for the youth,and the youth must have a voice, so we’reworking to help them be heard. A big shout-out goes to Christine Lajoie for stepping upand giving a hand in creating the group,please see attached poster for the eventhappening on April 4th at 4 pm all youth arewelcome.Miigwetch, enjoy the warmer weather. Kathy FortinExecutive DirectorNorth Bay Indigenous Friendship CentreKathy FortinExecutive Director

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What is the NBIFC doing well?What are the community needs that the NBIFC should address in thenext 3 years?Back in 2019, the NBIFC undertook putting together a Strategic Plan that had a seriesof goals that would give our community a common goal and focus for the upcoming 3years. But then of course, the pandemic hit, so the NBIFC was like many organizations,just adapting and supporting people as best the Centre could; it also meant that compiling and creating the next Strategic Plan had to wait. Now that we can gather again, and we’ve resumed much of our pre-pandemic rhythmin the building, the Board of Directors once again gathered to start working on thestrategic plan for 2023. The first step in developing this plan is to assess the success or shortcomings of the lastplan. Because the 2019 plan was so in sync at all levels, by all community members, itwas incredibly successful. Major projects and developments is in direct relation to thecommunity input on the Strategic Plan. Suswin Village, Miskwaadesi Turtle Project,becoming accredited, Seven Stones School, increasing cultural activities available tothe community, managing to not take on new debt, and the creation of aCommmunications and Human Resources position within the NBIFC are all goals thatwere outlined in the previous Strategic Plan, and have proven to be very successful. If you wish to see the report card that has been compiled with a complete charting ofthe NBIFC successes in addressing the items in the Strategic Plan, you can find it on ourwebsite ( or reach out to to have a copy emailed toyou. Now for 2023, we need the support and input of our community, and this includes you.We are working on the next steps for the new Strategic Plan. If you wish to share your ideas on NBIFC priorities and services, please consider the twoquestions below and send your ideas to Leo DeLoyde at or call him at705 498-9229.1.2.Input & Ideasfrom Community Needed

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NORTH BAY'S URBAN INDIGENOUS COALITIONNBIFC NewsletterApril 2023On February 15, 2023. , Kathy Fortin, our ED andMaurice Switzer, NBIFC President, came togetherwith other local Indigenous organizations andgathered for an information session about urbanIndigenous coalitions and how they can facilitatebetter outcomes and growth, working with all levelsof government to provide better service, funding andstability to the urban indigenous population. At thismeeting, Richard Assinewai was the Elder andaccepted semaa (tobacco) to consider a name forthis group that reflects the North Bay Coalition. Heaccepted and promised to come to the next meeting. Urban indigenous coalitions are a grass-rootsfunction, driven and priorities guided by each group,so interestingly, each has its way of operating in away that works for that community. These coalitionsaim to have a louder voice collectively and tofacilitate a spirit of cooperation and collaborationbetween organizations, focusing on the success andwell-being of urban Indigenous people. For us herein North Bay, this coalition was formed just as thepandemic started, so everything had to be put onhold for a while. Now, work resumes. The NBIFC hosted the first information session. Inthat, it was decided that representatives from NorthBay needed to be present at the National andProvincial Coalition Gatherings to learn more andconnect with others who already had coalitionswithin their communities. Sandra Thorkelson,Communications Coordinator for the NBIFC, MikeJukes-Bedard of Endaayaan Awejaa, and SallyLedger of OAHS would go for the National Event.Again, it would be Sandra and Sally for the provincialgathering and Natasha Lariviere from EndayaanAwejaa. Sally attended both events through zoom. It was enlightening on many levels. In Ottawa, at theOttawa Art Gallery, the National Urban IndigenousCoalition gathering occurred March 1-3, 2023. Therewere conversations with people from across Canada,hearing about their work while providing input onthe future of the NUICC. Presentations on court casesthat affect urban Indigenous people, the protectionand respect of Indigenous Data Sovereignty, and somuch more were packed into the 3-day meeting.( a few short days after the conclusion of theNational gathering, delegates headed to NiagaraFalls for the Ontario Urban Indigenous Coalitiongathering from March 6th to the 8th. p. 31NUICC Gathering Ottawa:topOttawa at night, Welcomespeech by Chair ofNUICC. Day two at theWabano Centre (below),with speakers likeParliamentary SecretaryVance Badawe(left), whovoiced support forindigenous people, andthe work of coalitions asa Metis person, it holdspersonal significance.

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The openness, flow of information and sharing ofsuccesses and challenges faced by eachcoalition was very enlightening. Having theseconversations, there were many commonchallenges, but each coalition was workingtoward addressing the issues differently. Itbrought to mind our teachings, that they may bedifferent, and the exact details or procedurediffers between people and communities. Still,the thread of working for the betterment of ourpeople is universal. And it’s being done in a verycaring way, with the guidance of our ways andtraditions. The OUIC even has a bundle carried toeach meeting, to ensure that our traditions arerespected and kept in mind. An outstanding example of the work that can bedone is the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition( Theyhave an Indigenous city-wide job board, anetwork of Elders to help their community, and astrong relationship with their municipality. In everything we learned as a group, one of themost important lessons was the importance ofIndigenous people doing work for Indigenouspeople as much as possible, along with bringingour ways into the work we do. So, after collecting and learning so much, onMarch 15, 2023, the North Bay Coalitiongathered again to review the possibilities anddebrief on the gatherings. Richard Assinewaireturned to the group as promised, and afteropening the meeting, he was given some time totalk about the naming of the coalition. Theimportance of tobacco was part of the day’steachings, and each representative waspresented with a tobacco tie as an agreement totake part in carrying out the work of theCoalition, with the understanding that semaa is abinding commitment to do some work, in thiscase, the work our community needs. Semaa isour Memorandum of Understanding. Tune in next month to learn more about theCoalition and the incredibly special name itreceived, and how it will be moving forward. NORTH BAY'S URBAN INDIGENOUS COALITION CONT'D

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JuJitsu Going StrongChris, the owner of NorthernTsunami, has been coming to theCentre and providing Youth andAdult JuJuitsu classes to UAHLKPand UAHLP Program participantsfor over nine years. That's a lot offlipping fun! Pictured left, someof the youth that participate inthe program, hamming it up forthe camera. To learn more about the ju jitsuclasses, email Employee of the MonthCongratulations to February Employee of the month,our Receptionist, Chris Mathias. Some of the nicethings his co-workers say about him: "He takes the time to show you the admin work, such asordering supplies and working the photocopier and willoften help with photocopying stuff for us. He is patient withstaff.""Chris has been a huge help for us at Suswin, fielding calls,assisting with orders, printing things and taking inapplications. Thank you, Chris, for your many talents andincredible patience!!""He is great with clients, very knowledgeable, and alwayswilling to help out.""He is always willing to help out with photocopies and isvery approachable.""Helpful all the time, keeps things running smooth in manyways."

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March Break Creativity The Staff of Suswin Village would like to take a moment to thank the local businesses that have been sokind and supportive with great customer service or that have donated items to Suswin Village. A special chi-miigwetch goes out to:Sean at Giant Tiger on Lakeshore Drive for donating clothing and blankets to our village andthe Healthy Babies Program at the NBIFC; your generosity is so appreciated. Also, chi-miigwetch to other local vendors who have been busily filling orders and helping us get thethings we need to build a welcoming, safe and comfortable environment. Shout out to these businesses for fantastic customer service and support: Supplies for the SoulFerris Home HardwareBurrows Country StoreCreative LearningEco-TrexHome Depot North Bay Office CentralOver the March Break, despite it seeminglike everyone was at the Little NHL, therewere art workshops in the NBIFC Gym forour youth. One of the favourite classes was the acrylicpouring, where the intention is not to reallycreate anything in a realistic way, but justenjoy the flow and how colours cometogether in the most interesting ways. Suswin Village Staff wishes tosend a shout out to some localbusinesses

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A Short StoryThe dreary greyish clouds heavily drain the blueness of the sky as I gazed out pastthe aged, painted navy windowsill and window. As the shadowy clouds reachedtheir fullness the white glistening snowflakes floated down one by one until thefrozen ground was as white as a sheet. Devastated at the scene before my eyes, I fell to the floor with a tear in my eye anda whimpering voice, I cried “Where are you Spring”?Bleak at the prospect that spring is not near, I sombrely curled up in an armchairand sipped on a warm afternoon tea. As I snuggled up in a fuzzy pink and whitepolka-dot throw that covered me from my head to my baby toe. I dreamt of springtime from long ago. A familiar feathered friend adorned in a rusty orange breast as he joyfullyserenades the bright morning star. The bluest of skies and puffy white cotton ballsfloating by. The warmth of the sun gently caressing the morning dew, the fragrantaroma of lilacs, daffodils and bluebells too. As I thought of the wonders that springtime brings, the doorbell rang and I sprungto my feet.I opened the front door with no one to be found, except 12 bright yellow tulips ina vase wrapped with a large purple bow. A note was tied tightly to one of thetulips leaves that whispered to me, “Now, do not fret or be dismayed, spring is onits way”. In my excitement, I skipped to the window in the hope that I might see a robinperched in a willow. I looked, and I looked at the old willow tree, eyeing up eachbranch that I could see. And by my amazement what did I see, but a robin wearinga red hat and a pair of skis.With a tilt of his head and the ruffling of his feathers, the robin began to sing withgreat pleasure. And on that day, that marvellous day, a new sweet melody wasdisplayed. And if you listen; yes, closely listen, you might just say it sounded quitelike Happy Spring to all and all the warmest feathered wishes! Happy Spring Everyone!Shelly S-Gregoire

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The Indigenous Prenatal Nutrition Program The Awakening of the Bear; it is that time of year again, when everything begins to bloom andopportunities arise, for new beginnings. A New Year is a fresh new calendar but Spring is a changein season that brings hope and inspiration to many. The water will flow, the grass will grow and thesun will shine a little longer. The streets will be busy with the hustle and bustle of families usingrecreational activities as time to rejuvenate their spirit. We need to remind ourselves that the things in life that do not cost a cent, keep us healthy andstrong in body, mind and spirit. Go to the water when the river begins to run, sit with you facetowards the sun and enjoy the rain as it waters Mother Earth, for all things serve a purpose. The Prenatal Nutrition Program is proud to announce five beautiful little spirits born to the programthus far, this year. We are honoured to share the journey of pregnancy with all families and to join inthe celebration of welcoming the newest additions. Congratulations to each and everyone of thefamilies. “A child is gift from the Creator” you are all so blessed to given the gift of parenthood. Letus remember that being a parent is privilege and what a privilege it is to be involved in our futuregeneration’s success. Wishing you all enough of whatever you need. Yours in Community Service,Annette Manuel/Prenatal Nutrition Worker Cindy Guilbeault/Prenatal Nutrition/Family Assistant Faith, Nathenial and Quentin are excited to announcethe arrival of their baby sister “Phoenix Creely SarahWalsh” who came into the world safely on January 25th,2023.Nikki Jo, Cody and Raina would like toannounce the safe arrival of “Emberlee JenniferSackaney” born March 10th at 1:29 pm,weighing 10 lbs 1 oz

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Melanie, Jeff and family are proud toannounce their newest addition. BornJanuary 28th, 2023 safely at home, a littlegirl “Mirabelle Hopkins” weighing 7 lbs10oz Hailee and Marcus are excited to share thenews of their daughter “Cedar Willow Mills”born March 11th 2023 weighing 4lbs 7.5oz. Valene, Chris and family are welcominganother little boy “Rico Henry Gull-Mark”born January 23 rd, 2023 weighing 8 lbs 5oz.

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Wow, what a busy but fun monthof March for both the Prenataland Family Support Programs.Firstly, we want to congratulateall the parents on their newarrivals. What a blessing.On March 16th, we ventured outto the Indoor Playground. Funwas had by all. The olderchildren enjoyed playing on theslides and climbers, while thelittle ones enjoyed crawling onthe mats and building with thelarge foam blocks. We alsoenjoyed lunch while we werethere.We held our Program EvaluationLuncheon on March 21st; ourparticipants enjoyed a pizza andsalad lunch while providing uswith some significant input thatwe will implement into ourprogram. Miigwetch to everyonefor taking the time to come outand participate!! Baby Shower and GraduationIt is that time again when we saycongratulations to the babieswho have turned one in thePrenatal program. They havenow graduated into the FamilySupport Program. We celebrated by holding a babygraduation/baby shower onMarch 25. Together we played games, had a delicious lunch offresh fruit, fresh vegetables,wraps, sandwiches and abeautiful cake. Miigwetch toCody who sang a TravellingSong as we celebrated,commemorating our new babies,and the children moving forward😊Prenatal and Family Support had a busy month!

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Ribbon Skirts for Ten Indigenous YoungWomen from West Ferris Secondary The ten West Ferris students came and participated in a full day of Ribbon skirt making March 7, 2023 They walked away with their very own unique skirt, and received a teaching about the skirts,their significance and why we wear them. Ribbon Skirts are a symbol of resilience, survival andidentity, but their meaning changes with each personwho wears one and each person who shares theirhistory. For Indigenous peoples, the Ribbon Skirtrepresents our own personal reclamation. Itrepresents reclaiming identity, and wearing thatidentity proudly.

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Marilyn JohnsonFASD & Family Nutritionfasd@nbifc.orgThe Reptile Demonstration in February was well received by the NBIFC Program families. Webrought in The Reptile Adventure Camp, located here in North Bay. Lizards, snakes, and frogswere part of the show and everyone had an opportunity to handle them if they wanted. I was standing at the back of the group, and the handler came over and handed me the yellowlizard. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take it. I didn’t want to look like a coward in front of the families,especially the children so I reluctantly accepted him. The handler placed the yellow lizard over my two hands and forearms. He was warm and notslimy at all. I was so surprised since I had never touched a lizard before and had expected him tobe cold and slippery. He looked up at me with his yellow eyes and kind of snugged into my arms. I thought well, he was one of the Creator’s creatures and needs love and attention like we all do. Istroked his back and told him that he looked handsome. I was able to hold him for about 4minutes and he was passed on to another person to hold. My beliefs about lizards changed dramatically that day. I expected, for some unknown reason,that holding him would be unpleasant. My beliefs were changed and was glad to have had theexperience!Marilyn from FASD Programmakes new friendsThe tea is hot and theAunties of the NBIFCare ready to dish somedeadly advice. Ask Away!

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