The Kingston Indigenous Language Nest (KILN) will now be known as the Kingston Native Centre and Language Nest (KNCLN), after being ratified as a member of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC).
As of Saturday, Jul. 22, 2023, the local grassroots organization whose vision is to champion the urban resurgence of Indigenous languages, is eligible to receive funding to deliver OFIFC programs, alongside Enji Maawinjidiyaang Indigenous Friendship Centre, located in Elliot Lake, which was also ratified at the OFIFC Annual General Meeting in Ottawa this past weekend.
“Friendship Centres were born out of a movement more than half a century ago to respond to the needs of Indigenous people living in urban centres,” stated Armand Jourdain, OFIFC President. “Our movement is strong and growing, and through these two new centres, Urban Indigenous people in Elliot Lake and Kingston will now have access to culture-based services in their communities. We look forward to seeing these two new centres develop and grow over the coming years.”
The Board of Directors at KNCLN shared the announcement on Tuesday, Jul. 25, 2023. This recent addition brings the total number of Friendship Centres serving urban Indigenous communities in Ontario to 31.
“Today is a full-circle moment for our organization. Kingston Native Centre and Language Nest, previously KILN, was born out of the sunset of the previous Friendship Centre in Kingston that unfortunately closed in 2013. Over time, the founders, volunteers and Language Warriors worked hard in collaboration with other community partners to provide language and land-based cultural programming to meet the growing needs of this large and diverse community,” said Constance Carriere-Prill, Executive Director at Kingston Native Centre and Language Nest.
“As a direct response to [a] clearly identified need for expanded services, today, we are starting a new day as part of the OFIFC Family and we are honoured to have been welcomed with open arms. We are excited to be able to maintain Indigenous language revitalization as a core programming focus while we explore new programs under the support of OFIFC to give our beautiful community all they deserve and have long missed.”
According to the OFIFC website, the organization designs dozens of programs to address the needs of urban Indigenous communities across the province. Programs are culturally relevant, trauma-informed and delivered in safe and accessible environments. OFIFC said that Friendship Centres are Indigenous community hubs that provide a place for Indigenous people to gather and access a range of services including Children and Youth, Education, Employment, Health, Healing and Wellness, Homelessness and Justice programming.