Amy Wong (Logistics and Research Coordinator)
Hello! My name is Amy Wong. I was born and raised in Tkaronto, Dish with One Spoon Territory. As a descendant of Chinese indentured labourers, I recognize the importance of nuanced, inclusive dialogue surrounding settler colonialism, decolonization, and allyship. I am passionate in learning about intersectional feminism, social movements, race and power relations, and systemic oppression. I am thrilled to be working at CRE with an amazing team that shares these passions and values. Having lived, worked, and studied in 9 countries over 5 continents in the past decade, I am looking forward to re-establishing roots of my own and re-engaging in community activism. Recently, I have been inspired to pursue my interests in spoken-word poetry, stand-up comedy, mural art, ASL, and drumming.
Bonjour! My name is Erika Massoud and I joined Canadian Roots Exchange as the Communications & Mobilization Coordinator. I was born and raised in Tiotià:ke/Montreal, on the unceded territory of the Kanien’keha:ka nation, and I am of Egyptian, Greek, and Syrian origin. I am honoured to be part of the CRE team to work towards strengthening relations between indigenous and non-indigenous youth. Previously, I worked with local and international non-profit organizations on issues ranging from youth engagement, human rights education, and social justice. I am currently pursuing a Masters in Migration and Intercultural Relations, where I focus on solidarity between migrant justice and indigenous struggles on Turtle Island. My research has been shaped by my involvement in migrant justice activism and my interest in engaging in dialogue around decolonization on this land.
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 (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.
Saima Butt (Program Manager)
My name is Saima and I am a mixed-race migrant-settler born to Scottish and Pakistani parents on Treaty Eight Territory. I’m an artist and facilitator with roots in critical pedagogy and community education and channel my passion for social change through youth engagement and empowerment.
I hold a Masters in Migration Studies, with a thesis focus on narrative journeys through decolonization. Prior to my time with CRE, I’ve managed a youth centre, worked with academic and community organizations focused on race, migrant justice and combating gender-based violence. I’m excited to bring my energy and skills to the CRE team!
Tristan Smyth (Operations and Finance Manager)
Hi! My name is Tristan, a descendant of European settlers, and I was born in Treaty 8 Territory, raised in Treaty 7 Territory, and now a resident of the Dish with One Spoon Treaty Territory. Previously, I worked in consulting, legal services, librarianship, and higher education, but most importantly, I am a super nerd who plays Dungeons and Dragons every Friday night. Also, I hold a Master of Information from the University of Toronto, and my research focused on the intersection of anti-capitalist thought and organizational management policies of knowledge workers, especially around mental health issues.
Valene Bill (Program Officer)
Tansi, 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 started working for CRE in January of 2016, when the Saskatoon office officially openned. I am loving how this job is helping me connect with youth across Canada 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. I have always enjoyed the diversity of people living in Saskatoon and enjoy being part of CRE’s aim at building bridges between Indigenous and non-indigenous people. Hi-hiy Thank-you