Thus was born the Circle Project … the turning point to change.

—Dr. Michael Bopp

In the early 1980s, Regina’s Catholic Church leaders recognized they weren’t reaching the Indigenous community where unemployment and welfare dependency were around 90%, the high school drop out rate was above 85%, and the suicide rate was one of the highest in the world.

Aboriginal people were caught between two cultures, and they didn’t have their extended families and communities to lean on.

There were nearly 40 agencies in Regina providing a wide range of services to the Indigenous community, but none seemed able to alleviate the situation. After consulting with some Indigenous agencies, the Catholic Church leaders and Indigenous Elders went to the people for guidance. Fifteen participants, mostly Indigenous people representing a variety of agencies and groups in Regina, participated in the dialogue. The result was the formation of a new agency in 1988 — the Circle Project. The Circle Project would belong to the native people and serve the real need for community development through self-healing.

Today the Circle Project is a highly successful, urban based, Indigenous organization that provides programs and services in Regina and surrounding areas. Although program participants are both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, the Circle Project’s focus is working with Indigenous people in a community-based setting.