Thunderbird House, an aboriginal cultural and spiritual centre in Winnipeg, may be forced to close its doors in the new year due to a funding shortfall.

With its distinct building on Main Street and Higgins Avenue, Circle of Life Thunderbird House has served the city's aboriginal community for the past 12 years with a sweat lodge, counselling programs and traditional ceremonies.

But the non-profit centre's board of directors say they may have to shut the place down come April 1.

For the past four years, funding was provided by the federal government. But this past March, Ottawa pulled a $230,000 commitment.

"Cultural programming does not fit in with the federal government's priority of economic development," Sasha Marshall, Thunderbird House's executive director, said Monday.

But Marshall said the 17 elders who provide cultural and spiritual services at Thunderbird House help bring stability to people's lives.

Those who have used Thunderbird House's services say maintaining aboriginal culture is what makes successful people.

In the meantime, the centre has been running on revenue generated by renting out its space. As well, because it is now considered to be a charity, the centre has started seeking private donors.

However, utility and other bills continue to pile up, officials say.