Native Friendship Centres are designed to improve the quality of life for, and assist with the adjustment of, Native people from reserves and rural areas to urban areas. The first Migrating Native Peoples’ Program began in 1972. In 1978 to 1983 the second Migrating Native Peoples’ Program adapted to the growing urban Native populations and their demand for services that Friendship Centres started providing. A need for community development and communication supports became high priorities. From these priorities came the British Columbia Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, among all other Provincial/ Territorial Friendship Centres and the National Association. In 1982, the National Association of Friendship Centres entered into consultation with the Secretary of State Department to officially recognize the resources and supports Friendship Centres were providing and create principles for all centres to provide them with. Each Friendship Centre is autonomous and the affairs are run by a predominantly Indigenous Board of Directors.
Tansi Friendship Centre Society was formed in May of 1981. Bill and Charlotte Stevenson, Betty Gladue, Jackie Ternent, Patty Russel and Terry Mitchell were among the first people to initiate a community resource centre for Natives living off reserve in Chetwynd. They requested to receive funding as a non-profit, registered organization and were granted Tansi (meaning “How are you?” in Cree) Friendship Centre. It became a centre in its own right and on May 5, 1983, the Tansi Friendship Centre became incorporated.