With only two days notice, Edmonton Metis and Native organizations put on a benefit dance and raised over $1,000 for the Dr. Anne Anderson Native Heritage and Cultural Centre, in jeopardy of closing down in recent months due to government funding cutbacks.
"The government (Native Services) kept promising that they would give me funds to run the place And then all of a sudden, they phoned and said this couldn't carry on anymore," explained Anderson.
The centre has been scratching by on book sales from her "Cree Productions" franchise and a bank loan she took out.
"I'm doing everything I can to help myself," said Anderson, who eventually received help on May 1 when organizer Leonard Gauthier and more than 30 volunteers arranged the benefit dance held at Eastwood Hall.
Remarked Gauthier: "This has brought us all a lot closer together."
Metis Local 1885 President Stan Plante, who helped organize the dance, explained "we want the government to know that she has a tremendous amount of support in the Metis and Native community.
"It's been the tradition of our people to help their own," added Plante.
The acting vice president of the Metis Regional Council Zone 4, Mike Woodward stated, "Dr. Anderson has dedicated most of her life to helping the Metis and Native community. She has worked and struggled hard with no recognition.
"We know that the proceeds she'll get out of this benefit will never come close to what she can get out of government funding," admitted Woodward, "but we want her to know that she has support in the community."
"I kept hoping that something would happen to change my financial problems but nothing did," said Anderson.
"When I heard people were behind me and willing to help me," she concluded, "it certainly gave me a lot more strength. I don't have enough words to say thank you."
The $1,000 raised may buy the centre some time, but its financial future remains in doubt.