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.
Kamusta! My name is Bayani Trinidad and I am Filipino-Canadian. I was born and raised on Treaty Six Territory, Saskatchewan. I hold a Bachelors of Social Work and a Bachelors of Sociology. I am passionate about working with youth through mentorship, collaboration and empowerment. I have previously worked for various non-profit organizations that focus on supporting children and youth.
On my spare time, I enjoy being active through calisthenics, weight lifting, biking, jogging, and breakin’ (also known as break dancing). My passion for breakin’ involves teaching workshops/classes, performing, and competing in competitions. I am honored and excited to be working with Canadian Roots Exchange as a Program Coordinator.
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.
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 Coordinator)
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.
Hello !! My name is Marissa Campbell and I am joining Canadian Roots Exchange as a Program Coordinator on the YRI team. I was born and raised in Tkaronto, Dish with One Spoon Territory. I am descendant of European settlers, I also have ancestral roots from Qalipu-Mi’kmaq First Nations. I am excited to work with Indigenous and non Indigenous youth around reconciliation, which I see as being a part of an ongoing open and respectful dialogue around the processes of decolonization. I am passionate about community activism and relationship building between local and national communities and organizations. My previous work experience focused on gender-based violence advocacy and peer support counselling. I hold a degree in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Toronto where I was an active member on my student union as the Political and Educational Liaison; in this role I was able to utilize my passion for engaging in community activism through relationship building based on youth involvement and empowerment. I look forward to growing from my experience at CRE and learning from others that I work with.
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.
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!
Ahneen my name is Shawna Moore! I am a member Temagami First Nations and I joined Canadian Roots Exchange as a Program Coordinator. I have a B.A in Environmental Studies and a Postgraduate Certificate in International Development. Before joining Canadian Roots Exchange, I was a Network and Program Coordinator for Sustain Ontario. While working at Sustain Ontario I was able to work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth on a youth evaluation project. The project was a great success and gave youth the tools and training to make a positive influence on the programs that they access. Youth have the voice and power to make impactful change. I am very excited to work at Canadian Roots Exchange and be part of the youth led movement towards reconciliation.
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 Coordinator)
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
Zaheen Karim (Administrative Coordinator)
Hi, my name is Zaheen Karim and I am excited to be working at Canadian Roots Exchange as the Administration Coordinator. Prior to joining CRE, I worked in the community health and youth sectors doing program management, education, volunteer coordination and administrative and financial support. I am originally from Bangladesh which is where I was born and have roots, but was raised in Ottawa (unceded Algonquin Territory). As a settler with a complex migrational story, I believe strongly in the need to understand and acknowledge history and the relational power that we have with each other on the lands that we occupy. I am honoured to contribute to an organization that is invested in a movement of reconciliation and decolonization.