Improve the quality of life of the Aboriginal people in the greater Montreal area through a coordinated and concerted approach that will align our collective interests in supporting locally-driven initiatives.
The mandate of the NETWORK is to be the decisional body and provide opportunities for organizations serving the Aboriginal people in the greater Montreal area to broaden their achievements by – and create measurable and sustainable improvements in – the following:
a) Sharing information and transferring knowledge about Aboriginal people’s needs – including available services, useful resources, and potential opportunities;
b) Prioritizing needs;
c) Developing joint projects that address gaps in and duplication of services;
d) Creating and strengthening work relationships among partners.
In October 2006 at the First Nations Socioeconomic Forum, the «Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec» proposed a partnership with the Canadian Federal Government and the Provincial Government of Quebec to “determine the specific needs of Aboriginal people living away from their communities” through conducting a needs assessment of the Montreal urban Aboriginal community.
As a result, the needs assessment was initiated by the «Regroupement des centres d’amitié autochtones du Québec» and carried out by Organizational Development Services (ODS) from December 2006 to March 2007. In 2008, the needs assessment was released and titled “Needs Assessment of the Aboriginal People in the Urban Setting of Montreal”. The main recommendation of the assessment was:
“That all groups come together in an open forum and just meet, reconnecting with one another for the sole purpose of getting to know what and who is out there for them, making connections/contacts, allowing the people to discuss and determine what they want to achieve and how they want to do it, and given the proper support to carry this out.”
Shortly after the needs assessment was released, the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal met with the City of Montreal to discuss organizing a community event to share the results with the community and provide the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation to allow for a better understanding on how to effectively work together to address the identified needs. It is within this context that the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network (NETWORK) was created. The NETWORK is comprised of voluntary sector groups, volunteers and government officials who work towards the vision to improve the quality of life of the Aboriginal population living in the greater Montreal area.
Following the community meeting led by the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal, the NETWORK was established and determined that it would function based on the following interventions spheres:
– Employability and Education
– Social Services
Working Committees were created for each of these intervention spheres to allow for expertise to lend their knowledge on better ways of addressing the specific area. As such, to avoid duplication and allow for information sharing, a Steering Committee was created on which sits one representative per Working Committee and one member from each level of government.
The Government of Canada, through the Urban Aboriginal Strategy lent its support in collaboration with the Aboriginal community and local organizations, municipal and provincial governments and with the private sector to build on the work began by the needs assessment.
These partnerships helped to develop the capacity to enable the community to better address locally identified priorities.
At the Spring Gathering held on March 28, 2017, Vicky Boldo, Communications Working Committee Representative, was elected for a mandate of 2 years, and Marie-Josée Parent, Co-Representative of the ART CULTURE Working Committee, was elected for a mandate of 1 year.
Photo courtesy from Radio-Canada/Karoline Benoit
Vicky Boldo was born in British Columbia and raised on Vancouver Island. She is a transracial adoptee from the ’60’s Scoop Era. Although she was placed for adoption at birth, she is a strong ally to the survivors of this time. Vicky is of Cree/Coast Salish/Métis heritage. Vicky is a registered energy medicine practitioner (ANQ) and has a certificate in journalism for Concordia. As a research coordinate she is passionate about effecting change in policy, education and attitudes in social work, health care and education for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
Vicky sits on the board of the Native Women’s Shelter on Montreal, on the board of Montreal’s First Peoples Justice Centre as Vice-president, and is on the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) Aboriginal Advisory Committee. Vicky is the Interim Elder at Concordia Aboriginal Student Resource Centre. Until 2016, Vicky worked in women’s reproductive medicine with McGill University Health Centers. Vicky has presented her personal healing in conferences and regularly guest lectures at schools, universities and colleges as well as to child and family services and public and private sector organizations.
She is the mother of 4 and grandmother of 4. The healing journey that Vicky has been on for over 25 years has brought her to a place of strength and compassion. Her joy in living is matched by her desire to give back to the community.
Marie-Josée is Mi’kmaq and Acadian. She holds a BA in philosophy and an MA in art history. She is the General Director of DestiNATIONS an indigenous cultural organization co-promoter of the First Nations and Inuit legacy project an Indigenous Cultural Embassy based in Montréal.
In 2012, she was a fellow of Action Canada a leadership and public policy program. From 2010 to 2013 she was the director of Les Territoires, an artist run center proposing an innovative and experimental exhibition format. She served for three years on the Visual Arts Committee of the Arts Council of Montreal and currently sits on the board of the Aboriginal Community Development Centre of Montreal and on the ART and CULTURE Committee of the Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy NETWORK. Marie-Josée is also a lecturer and curator. Her work in the public space questions the notion of state propaganda, the role and cultural definitions of art and culture and the ways in which artistic practices can discuss social, community and political issues.