Reflections on Serving our Urban Communities

Interview with Charlene Lafreniere, past Co-chair of the National Urban Indigenous Coalitions Council (2018-2022)

As a key individual in the history and development of the National Table for urban Indigenous peoples in Canada, NUICC interviewed Charlene to bring light to the experience on the frontlines. She reflects on the work at the national level, challenges observed and encountered, as well as ideas and hopes for moving forward in the future. Charlene is the Chief Indigenous Health Officer for the Northern Health Region in Thompson, Manitoba. Born and raised in Thompson, Charlene is a proud northern Indigenous woman and Thompsonite, who values her time with family and friends, especially her beautiful daughter Sage.

Prior to her time at the Northern Health Region in Thompson, Charlene was the Director of Institutional Advancement at the University College of the North (UCN), Executive Director of the Thompson Neighborhood Renewal Corporation, and Director of Justice at Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak. Until recently, Charlene served as the Chairperson of the Thompson Urban Aboriginal Strategy and Co-chair of the National Urban Indigenous Strategy Coalitions Council (NUICC).

Charlene also serves on the Aboriginal Advisory Committee to the RCMP Commanding Officer of Manitoba, as well as to the RCMP Commissioner of Canada. Continuing to participate on a number of working groups, committees and community boards, she is currently the President of the YWCA in Thompson. With such a history of service, it’s evident Charlene is a driving force behind regional and community initiatives in the areas of education, housing, economic development, culture, community/regional planning and the Thompson Aboriginal Accord. She was elected to Thompson City Council for two consecutive 4-year terms, (2006-2014), serving as Deputy Mayor and chairing various standing committees. such as Finance and Administration, Recreation and Community Engagement.

Read the entire article and interview here: pg. 30 (EN, FR).