Maurice Switzer – President
Bnesi ndizhnikaaz. Wazhashk ndoodem Anishinaabek, Okwaho Haudenosaunee..Alderville ndoonjbaa, North Bay endayaan. Greetings friends!
My priorities as a member of your board of directors are informed by what I have learned as a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, director of communications for the Assembly of First Nations and Union of Ontario Indians, and as a journalist for many years in the daily newspaper industry and writing for First Nations publications.
As a board member, I try to increase community awareness about Indigenous peoples, in general, and, in particular, about the excellent contributions being made by Friendship Centre staff that help make North Bay a better place for everyone who lives here.
Across Canada, some 80 percent of Indigenous people live in urban centres. Of 70,000 people living in the North Bay area, some 9,000 are Indigenous.
This population growth means services provided by Friendship Centres are becoming increasingly important, and we want to continue to provide programs that grow our membership and benefit more participants of all ages.
It has been my privilege to help establish Reconciliation North Bay, a process that is bringing together people from all walks of life in North Bay to learn more about Indigenous peoples and issues, and that had its origins as a committee of the centre’s Urban Aboriginal Strategy.
Our board always welcomes your ideas about how to improve our programs and services, and we thank you for your support.
Katherine Sarazin – Vice President
I have been in the community as part of the North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre since 1985. I have held many positions on the Board of Directors over these years, and currently am Vice-President. I have four beautiful children and four amazing grandsons. I always strive for honesty and accountability within my own life and that of the Friendship Centre. I consider myself as one who lives a humble life, utilizing knowledge of the land that I have gained over the years. I attempt to pass on this cultural and spiritual way of life in everything I do and to people I meet. This Friendship Centre has been my home for over three decades and I want the same for the rest of our community.
Shirley Renaud – Secretary
Biography coming soon!
Joyce Shortt-Lavigne – Treasurer
Biography coming soon!
I have been an NBIFC member since 2016 and have been happy to be on the Board of Directors for the past four years. It means a lot to me to be part of the Centre, as there is always a lot going on to help Indigenous people within our community and are a contributor to our local economy. The NBIFC was there to help us with our Granddaughter years ago, and for that reason, I’m only too happy to give back and serve on the Board.
The North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre isn’t just a building, it is a community and a family.
Amanda Mathias is excited to join the NBIFC Board of Directors. She is a proud Anishinaabe Kwe, member of Temagami First Nation and a lifelong resident of North Bay. She and her two children value the Friendship Centre events and activities. Amanda and her family spend most of their free time on Lake Temagami or in the Arts & Culture scene. Music festivals, powwows, art shows and time in nature are favourites.
As an Educator (OCT), Amanda works to support Indigenous Education and Equity Initiatives. Her priority is in working toward more equitable outcomes for Children & Youth. This also includes supporting school communities to enhance their knowledge, understanding and awareness of Indigenous culture, worldview, historical truths & contemporary issues. She has been working as a Lead Educator & Program Coordinator with the Near North District School Board for well over a decade. Within this time, she also worked with the Ministry of Education, Indigenous Education & Wellbeing Division. She works directly with First Nation communities, local partners, and with school communities supporting shared priorities and visions. Amanda is greatly involved, both professionally & personally, in local Equity and Social Justice Circles as a volunteer or working group member.
Amanda is thankful for the opportunity to learn alongside the North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre Team as a member of the Board. Miigwech!
Biography Coming Soon!