Lanaudiere Native Friendship Centre will be relocated and expanded in Joliette

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MONTREAL — The government of Quebec is investing $3.1 million in the relocation and expansion of the Lanaudiere Native Friendship Centre in Joliette.

The construction site for the new centre is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022.

The Minister responsible for Indigenous Affairs, Ian Lafreniere, believes more spacious premises will allow the organization to increase the services it offers. 

The centre provides for the development of intervention offices, a community room and kitchen, a space for the promotion of Indigenous history, arts and cultures, spaces for social economic activities, a daycare centre and a games room.

Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw woman, died a few weeks ago at the Joliette hospital. Shortly before her death, Echaquan received racist insults from a nurse and orderly while she was lying in her hospital bed. Echaquan filmed the scene and the video of the insults circulated widely, causing uproar among the population. 

Lafreniere believes the relocation and expansion of the centre will provide Indigenous peoples, in particular, the Atikamekws, a pleasant place to visit that will meet their needs and where they will be welcomed with respect and kindness.

Jennifer Brazeau, executive director of the Lanaudiere Native Friendship Center, adds that the Indigenous population in the region will feel welcomed with dignity.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2020. 

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