In 1970, a group of residents met at Willard Seymour's home to discuss the development of a resource centre for Native People. Within a year, a Native Street Worker Program was in operation with funding provided by Canada Manpower.
The Kermode Friendship Centre was initially created in 1972. It was then called the "Native Resource Centre" and was operated by Local 118 of the British Columbia Association of Non-Status Indians (BCANSI).
The Kermode Friendship Society was formed and Incorporated in 1976. Founding members included Willard Seymour, Rose and Gerald Bazil, Vi Gellenbeck, Lance Stevens, Pearl Campbell and Francis Sabine.
For information about our current Board of Directors click here.
The Society owns the Friendship Centre building and Land on Kalum Street; the Centre continues to develop programs to meet the needs of the Urban Multicultural community. With the introduction of the Migrating Native People's Program by the Secretary of State the Native Resource Centre incorporated as the "Kermode Friendship Society" in 1976.
The Society and the Friendship Centre are named after the Kermode Bear, an important name in the cultural history of the Aboriginal people in the Terrace area. One of the Elder's has written down these words:
"The Kermode Bear is a very old, old story of the Kitsumkalum Tribe. It's the story about a young lady, the daughter of a chief. Her Indian name is Jan-Jans. One day a bear turned into a man. He met this young lady and started talking to her. They walked around for a long time and she didn't know how far they walked. Then the bear took her to his den up the mountains where it was sheltered. The mountain is not too far from the Kitsumkalum Reserve. The Kermode Bear is a white bear. The only place where there are white bears is behind Kitsumkalum Reserve. There's more about this story..."
First as the Native Resource Centre, then as the Kermode Friendship Society; we have been a place of shelter and support for many people since 1972. As the years have passed, the services offered by the Centre have grown, and it has become a multi-service agency offering services in several different areas - education, social services, employment training, etc.
The Centre relocated in 1981 from its original building on Greig Avenue to larger quarters on Kalum Street. As of August 2012, future expansion is being considered.