The term Conayt originates from Nlaka:pamux or Ntlakyapamuk, the Thompson language. Conayt means “helping others” and it is at the heart of our mission. We work to holistically improve the quality of life and cultural distinctiveness, and to strengthen friendship and cooperation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members in our community.
In 1968, six individuals recognized the need for a Friendship Centre in the Nicola Valley to serve the growing population of urban Aboriginal people. Resources were limited in the early stages of planning and development, and their own homes were used as collateral. Thanks to their efforts the Friendship Centre was born and was able to deliver the first social programs to the community.
In June of 1975, the Province of British Columbia recognized the Nicola Valley Friendship and Counselling Society as a nonprofit community-based organization under the Societies Act. In 1983, under the direction of the society membership and board of directors, the Nicola Valley Friendship Centre changed its name to its current name, the Conayt Friendship Society.
After several moves over the years to accommodate the growing number of programs offered, Conayt purchased a permanent home with ample space for growth, to bring all programs together under one roof. Since 2010, the Friendship Society has been located at 2164 Quilchena Avenue in Merritt and our team continues to deliver a variety of programs to the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community in the Nicola Valley.