Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on May 21, the federal government is sending $75 million to organizations that help Indigenous people living in urban areas and off-reserves through the COVID-19 pandemic. Laurie Bouvier, executive director of the Aboriginal Friendship Centres of Saskatchewan, said federal funding will assist Meadow Lake’s North West Friendship Centre. The Friendship Centre team will be asked to increase capacity to handle the increase in services. Meadow Lake Friendship Centre could see an increase in both staff and program funding. “We have not come here without our friends,” Bouvier said. “Shadow minister [for Indigenous Services], MP Gary Vidal has been a great resource for us at the federal level and we’re making great strides at the provincial level as well and we want to recognize those who helped us get to where we are.” Meadow Lake Tribal Council’s (MLTC) Vice Chief Richard Derocher told meadowlakeNOW nearly 60 per cent of total registered First Nations people live off-reserve and is hoping the money will go to individuals who need it most.