Urban Project for an Aboriginal Society
Every day, at the Native Friendship Centre, First Peoples’ cultural, community and social identity is being expressed in all its richness and diversity. The Centre’s environment fosters collective action that encourages people to speak out, take action and make decisions that engages the Val-d’Or aboriginal community in social change where each and everyone becomes an involved, committed and accomplished citizen, recognising himself through his culture and interacting on equal basis with others.
Borne by human values of inclusion, solidarity, equity and justice, our social project is anchored in the Centre’s very mission: improve the quality of life of Aboriginal people in Val-d’Or. It is based on civic engagement as well as on the provision of culturally relevant outreach services , notably in the field of health and social services, skills development, education and social economy.
We will achieve this daring collective project by sharing our vision of a more equitable and just society that welcomes diversity without any discrimination.
 A culturally relevant approach begins with a true understanding of Aboriginal people’s historical, economic, political, cultural and social context.
The Centre’s Service Chart
Developed in the spring of 2013, the Friendship Centre’s new service organisation chart was then rejuvenated in winter 2014. The basic idea was to represent our services by the picture of a tree, with our mission, vision and values symbolising “the roots” nurturing our main service “branches”, which are interconnected by the “foliage” of our cross-cutting and cross-sectoral approach. To that day, the Friendship Centre’s first service chart was represented in the form of a “leafy tree”, while our organisation has always defined itself as a “great white pine”:
“(…) For over three decades, our Centre has taken roots in the heart of the city like a tall white pine. This majestic tree is referred to by First Peoples as the Great Tree of Peace. The white pine’s roots point to the four directions so that all the paths of peace lead to this tree.Just like the Great Tree of Peace, the Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre brings together people from all nations, provides an inclusive and caring living environment and offers a cultural anchor to our brothers and sisters. Bridging the gaps between peoples, our Centre has also become a symbol of peace, harmony and solidarity.Coming from the four directions, many men, women, elders and children identify with the Centre’s mission, participate in its accomplishments and support its actions. Like the white pine’s bark and sap, the Friendship Centre is a soft medicine that soothes, nurtures and heals.The white pine is the tallest tree in North-eastern America. In the forest, it serves as a reference point. It owes its prosperity and longevity to its exposure to sun’s light. In the city, the Friendship Centre is like a tall urban white pine that also serves as a reference point. Today, it is the children who are our source of light, allowing the Centre to grow, provide direction and shed light on the path being built for them. 
 Annual report 2009-2010, Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre, excerpt from A Word from the Director Édith Cloutier.