The EASC is the result of the determination of a few women to address the many needs of Aboriginal people living in the City of Edmonton. It was first established as the Metis Women’s Council of Edmonton on October 20, 1986. With only two staff, this unique initiative was based on a holistic vision of ‘wellness’ and above all strove to foster a sense of community among the Aboriginal seniors in Edmonton.
The first programs established were the Urban Native Housing Registry, the Drop-In Centre and the Outreach Program. They were designed to enhance the physical, spiritual, intellectual and social well being of Edmonton’s Aboriginal seniors. The participants of these programs received assistance with finding affordable housing; they had access to a social centre where they could hold pot-luck dinners, do crafts and converse in their own language. They were also provided help in accessing services and in dealing with the urban environment, particularly those who were isolated in their own homes or in the hospitals. With the acquisition of a van in 1992, members were able to attend more of the events at the Centre and to go on spiritual and cultural journeys.
In 1994 a few major changes occurred. The agency moved from a tiny run-down house beside the Coliseum to its present location and underwent a name change from the Metis Women’s Council to the Native Seniors Centre.
As the membership grew so did the programs and services. A monthly Cree Mass was started; a food co-op program, a communal garden and a collective kitchen began; and a craft workshop formed from which finished products were sold as a means of fund-raising. Despite this growth, the permanent staff for the programs only increased by one in 1996.
The Board of Directors are comprised of members of the Centre, there are responsible for Policy and Procedure and Bylaws. Members of the Board also sit on various committees designed to oversee and support the needs of the membership. Board meetings are held at the Centre on the second Tuesday of each month except during summer months.
While the Centre has maintained some of its earlier programs and services, it has expanded to include new ones and throughout our existence, EASC has undergone many significant changes and we continue to grow and embrace new and innovative initiatives that support the well being of Aboriginal seniors.