Salut | Kwey | Aanii | Hello! – My name is Jaya. I was born on Haudenosaunee land and am currently living in Ottawa, Ontario on unceded Algonquin territory. My involvement with CRE has taken many forms, first as a Youth Reconciliation Leader in Montréal, then as an exchange participant and leader and most recently as a full-time staff for the past 2 years as Communications Officer. I will be entering my first year of Law at Ottawa University in September 2016 but remain committed to CRE. I look forward to being one of the group leaders for the Algonquin exchange this summer. As the daughter of a francophone-québécois father and an anglophone-Ontarian mother, I am proud of my bilingual heritage, but am also becoming more aware of the deep effects of colonization on all peoples living in Canada and the important work that still needs to be done. I am inspired by the strong relationships CRE helps build between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth from across Turtle Island and how these tie into my passions for social and environmental justice and youth empowerment. My experiences have taught me the importance of sharing our stories – and listening to one another – to build bridges of understanding based on respect and integrity. Meegwech | Nia:wen | Merci à tous!
Celina Nahanni Celina is a current medical student at the University of Toronto and a recent PhD recipient who received an NSERC doctoral scholarship recipient for her work researching perception and cognition at the Centre for Neuroscience Studies at Queen’s University. As a Slavey Dene from the NWT she is inextricably connected to her people and culture over which she feels incredibly affectionate and fiercely protective. Having worked as the Four Directions aboriginal student representative at Queen’s, Celina is always eager to discuss and address the complex social issues that arise in a multicultural society. She believes many social clashes arise from a lack of understanding and communication, and she is excited by the prospect of bridging the gap between Canadian and Indigenous cultures so the two may learn from each other and grow together. Celina is a former alumni of Canadian Roots Exchange programs and has also led Canadian Roots exchanges. During the past year she has helped lead exchange programs, deliver workshops and provide support to CRE programs.
Lynzii Taibossigai is Anishinaabe-kwe from M’Chigeeng First Nation and Manitoulin Island. She is the proud Auntie of two nephews and one niece and has over 160 cousins! She has a diploma in Hotel & Resort Administration from Georgian College and she has studied Modern Languages at Laurentian University and Indigenous Environmental Studies at Trent University. She is also trained in Rediscovery and Outdoor Adventure Leadership and a certified Canoe Instructor. Lynzii enjoys sharing her Anishinaabe history, culture and food with everyone and encourages people to visit amongst each other more often, preferably with tea. Lynzii’s heart remains at home on Mnidoo Mnising – Manitoulin Island where she is the founder of LOVE Shkakmi-kwe (Mother Earth) Project, a volunteer oriented youth environmental awareness program. Lynzii is currently working with M’Chigeeng Health Services by co-facilitating a pilot program called, the M’Chigeeng Lil’Sisters Empowerment Project. Lynzii’s facilitation style stems from her Anishinaabe roots, as she is kind, patient, and adaptable and most comfortable going with the flow. She will work tirelessly to create a positive, welcoming and safe space for all participants. Lynzii will be the main group leader for CRE’s exchange program to Manitoulin.
Hi, you there! Very nice to meet you. I’m Harry Au, born in Hong Kong, and moved to Markham, Ontario when I was six years young. I recently completed my Master of Social Work degree at the University of Toronto. My involvement with CRE as a Youth Reconciliation Leader in 2014-15, thrust me into what I really want to be doing, which is working as a member of diverse communities to break down barriers, collaborate, and getting down and dirty into the relationship-building process. I am excited to have the opportunity to lead a group of high school students on the Toronto-Norway House exchange in the spring and summer of 2016. It is an honour to have the chance to build relationships with diverse peoples, facilitate dialogue, learn from each other, and of course, have lots of fun while doing it!
Sago. Hello. Bonjour. I am a former Youth Reconciliation Leaders – Toronto Team for 2014-16. I am a status member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and the Mohawk Territory called Tyendinaga. The other half of my family is from North Preston, Nova Scotia on the east coast where I frequently visit. I was born and raised in the Greater Toronto Area graduating from Central Technical School. I am currently attending George Brown College where I graduated. I am very honoured and excited to be working with Canadian Roots Exchange as a group leader for the Six Nations Exchange in February 2016 and also am honoured to be one of CRE’s facilitators for Toronto area work. Nia:wen In unity, Coty Zachariah
Latisha Reddick, known to her peers as “Cairo”, is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Honours with a Double Major in Criminology and Equity Studies. She is a proud Métis of mixed-Guyanese and Nova Scotian Mi’kmaw/Black ancestry. In her most recent initiative, Cairo received grants from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Ontario Indigenous Youth Partnership Project in support of her project Sisters of the Soil (SOS). The SOS project, to which Canadian Roots Exchange is a Mentor, connects young Indigenous women with women of colour through cross-cultural solidarity work and womens contemporary and modern relationship to the land.
In 2013, Cairo was a Youth Reconciliation Leader with Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE). In addition to her activism, Cairo also provides workshops and guest lectures at schools, such as the University of Toronto and various high schools in the GTA. She aspires to be a lawyer who actively incorporates the voice of her community in legislation making. She is currently a law student at Osgoode Law School.