How We Came To Be

The term Conayt originated from Nlaka:pamux or Ntlakyapamuk, the Thompson language. Conayt means “helping others”. In keeping with this philosophy, Conayt has built a community image to improve holistically the quality of life, cultural distinctiveness, and strengthening friendship and cooperation between the Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal members in our community.

In 1968, six individuals were inspirational in recognizing the need to establish a Friendship Centre in the Nicola Valley to serve the growing population of urban Aboriginal people. In the early stages of planning and development, resources were limited and their own homes were used as collateral to maintain facilities to deliver the first social programs to the community.

In June of 1975, under the Societies Act, the Province of British Columbia recognized the Nicola Valley Friendship and Counselling Society as a non-profit community based organization. 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.

Conayt has had several moves over the years in 1996 Conayt located to 1999 Garcia Street and remained there until February of 2010, when the society purchased a new building located at 2164 Quilchena Ave. Merritt. Prior to the move, Conayt’s programs were located in several different buildings in Merritt. The move brings all the programs together under one roof. Our new building is 10,000 square feet with ample space for growth.

Conayt Friendship Society
Mission Statement

To improve holistically the quality of life, cultural distinctiveness and the strengthening of friendship and co-operation between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people in the Nicola Valley.

Conayt Friendship Society Staff

  • Della Provost - Tenant Relations Worker
  • Jackie Smithers - Elder Coordinator
  • Alanna Cowan - Facilities Manager
  • Lori Anderson - Medical Office Assistant
  • Kim McRae - Finance Assistant
  • Richard Jackson Jr. Alcohol & Drug Counselor
  • Carol DeSimone - Secretary/Receptionist
  • Mark Coutlee- Youth and Family Support Coordinator
  • Patsy Whiting - Kitchen Coordinator
    Family Support Worker
  • Rhonda Munro - Merritt Moms & Families
    Family Development Coordinator
  • Adrrienne Johnny - Merritt Moms & Families
    Prenatal Coordinator
  • Anmol Saini - Social Media Coordinator
    (Summer Student)
  • Arielle Alexander - Receptionist Assistant
    (Summer Student)