Jacqueline Neshkawa (Administrative Assistant)
Hello ! My name is Jacqueline Neshkawa. I am Ojibwe and Ecuadorian. I was born and raised in Toronto but my family comes from Wikwemikong, Ontario as well as Quito, Ecuador. I am really excited to be a part of Canadian Roots Exchange. I continue to look forward to meeting new people during my time here. I have been with CRE for a year now and really enjoy working with indigenous and non indigenous peoples. I especially like that being here has given me an opportunity to grow as a person and to further understand what meaningful reconciliation looks like.
jessica alegria (Program Officer)
Hello, my name is jessica alegria and I am a Program Officer for Canadian Roots Exchange in Saskatoon. Having been born in Texas to undocumented El Salvadorean refugees, raised on Treaty 6 territory, and having mixed Pipil/Lenca and Spanish ancestry, I identify as a Mestiza woman who occupies various cultural spaces at once. I am passionate and interested in culture, education, refugee and BIPOC experiences in settler colonial spaces, mental wellness, community, and family. I'm also very grateful to work for an organization that demonstrates faith in youth, recognizes the legitimacy and strength of lived experiences, and educates and engages in complicated dialogues about power and colonialism. When not working I can be found spending quality time with family and friends, watching movies, being an aunty, and cuddling my miniature dachshund, Science.
Leslie VanEvery (Program Coordinator)
She:kon, my name is Leslie VanEvery. I am Haudenosaunee, and was born and raised in Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. I also have ancestral roots from Mississauga's of the New Credit First Nation. As the Program Coordinator for Tkaronto Youth Reconciliation Initiative, it brings me honour to be able to work with such a great team at CRE, and to develop this new initiative. I enjoy working with the youth, and learning alongside of them what reconciliation means, valuable knowledge from our Elders, and so much more! The most important part of this job to me is bringing an Onkwehonwe perspective, and incorporating this in all that I do.
Max Fineday (Co-Executive Director)
Tansi, my name is Max FineDay, and I’m from the Sweetgrass First Nation in Treaty Six Territory, Saskatchewan. Coming from a mixed Norwegian-Nehiyaw family, reconciliation between Indigenous & non-Indigenous peoples has been something I’ve understood to be crucial for not only my families, or community, but Canada as a whole. I’ve spent time working on youth leadership development initiatives and projects that help move Canada toward reconciliation. Most recently, I worked as Advisor and Intergovernmental Relations Coordinator working with the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. Before that, I served two terms as President of the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union. I served as a board member for Canadian Roots Exchange between 2014 and 2016, and began serving as Co-Executive Director in August 2016.
Sahar Golshan (Program Manager)
! سلام | 你好 ! | Aanii ! My name is Sahar-e Golshan. I am extremely proud to be a young person of mixed ancestry from Chinese and Iranian origins living in Tkaronto, Dish with One Spoon Territory. It means a lot to me to be a part of the Canadian Roots Exchange team. I am honoured to have the opportunity to collaborate with Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth who commit their lives to social justice on Turtle Island. I am inspired by young people who challenge themselves and their communities to engage in conversations about the history, reality and possibility of this Land. Before joining the CRE team as a volunteer and then a staff member, I have coordinated educational programming alongside young people of diverse identities in both Canada and in international communities with Canada World Youth and the Ontario Council for International Cooperation. I am passionate about learning languages and writing creative non-fiction.
Sahar Ibrahim (Program Coordinator of TYRI)
Salaam! My name is Sahar, I’m a first generation Muslim Canadian. My parents are from Tanzania in East Africa, and my ancestry is South Asian (pre-partition). I grew up in Treaty Seven territory, in the city of Calgary, have spent time in Treaty 6 Territory in Amiskwaciwaskahikan, and now live in tkaronto. I have done some reseach in medical anthropology examining how race impacts mental health outcomes in various communities and am also a passionate anti-racism educator, facilitator, and agitator. I am incredibly honoured to be able to work with this amazing CRE community, having served as a YRI leader during the 2016-17 year. For me, this work enables me to untangle and become more conscious of my identity as a first generation Canadian and also as a settler on Turtle Island. There is so much power in community and I can’t wait to engage with it!
Valene Bill (Program Officer)
Tansi, Kisihko Pisiw Iskwew nisihkahson. Hello, my Cree name is Thunder Angel Woman. I was born and raised on Treaty Six territory. I am a Plains Cree (y-dialect) from Pelican Lake First Nation. I am a mother of three beautiful daughters and have graduated with my B.Ed from the University of Saskatchewan. I also hold a Community Services Addictions Counselling Certificate from the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies. I am very new to CRE, and have actually just begun in January of 2016. I am loving how this job is helping me connect with people and how it is allowing me to hear people’s stories. I believe that telling our stories and listening to other people’s stories is one of the ways we can heal, learn from each other and begin moving forward on Turtle Island. Counselling is a passion of mine and my goal, one day, is to have my Masters in School and Counselling Psychology. I have actually gone out and taught for 3 years around my home community and am just returning to Saskatoon. I have always enjoyed the diversity of people living in Saskatoon and will enjoy being part of CRE’s aim at building bridges between Indigenous and non-indigenous people here and in communities nearby. Hi-hiy Thank-you
vibhor garg (Co-Executive Director)
Hello! Ainee! Bonjour! I am very happy to be working with Canadian Roots Exchange. Since arriving in September 2012, I have met so many talented and inspiring youth from across the country and continue to be impressed by all the young people who are doing amazing work across the country. I grew up in Sudbury, Ontario and I have had a chance to live in a few different parts of Canada and the world. Prior to joining CRE, I gained valuable experiences managing youth exchange programs in both Canada and internationally and have worked in the non-profit sector my entire working life. I’m fully committed to ensuring that CRE programming is accessible and ensuring that we ensure there is strong participation of youth from historically under-represented communities. I believe that youth leadership programs need to include strong representation from Indigenous communities and as well include youth from other communities often excluded from many leadership opportunities. When I’m not working, I enjoy exercising, travelling, eating out and checking out random events in the community which includes supporting the Raptors and the Blue Jays. I'm very excited to be part of a team that facilitates better relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities on Turtle Island.