Much rejoicing at Montreal’s Native Friendship Centre after a five-year search to find a new building has come to a happy end.

The centre will be moving into a new building at the north-east corner of St-Laurent and Ontario which is two-and-a-half times the size of its current building.

“We’re really excited. We’re jumping up and down,” said Ida LaBillois, the centre’s executive director.

“We got a new home!” The centre is also busy planning its 3rd annual Mukushan-Feast of Friendship on June 2. The fundraising dinner will be held at the Botanical Gardens, and will include Aboriginal cuisine, traditional ceremonies and performances by Tom Jackson, Inuk opera singer Diantha Edmonds and Nina Segalowitz, an Inuk cellist from the NWT.

Tickets go for $ 100 each or $800 for a table of 10.

Proceeds will help the centre pay for the new building. For years, the centre has been plagued by a severe problem of overcrowding that often bordered on the ridiculous. The library had to be shut down to make room for office space, and a desk and files were even moved into one of the bathrooms.

The centre will be moving into its new building in August and September.

The Mukushan is just one of several money-raising projects at the centre, trying to cope with repeated cuts to its federal funding. The centre welcomes private donations and has launched a “Loonie campaign” in which all 44,500 Natives in Montreal are asked to give one loonie each, which would cover the mortgage on the new building for a year.

For more info on the Mukushan call David Mohan at (514) 937-5338.