Our Staff We currently have three offices where our staff are based: Saskatoon, Toronto, and Montreal. We also have staff working from Terrace, Regina, Winnipeg and Ottawa. Alyse Van Every Director of Community Relations - Montreal/Toronto Greetings, Shé:kon and Bonjour! I’m Alyse Jan VanEvery and though I’ve called Montreal home for over a decade, I’m originally from Six Nations of the Grand River and Brantford Ontario. Prior to moving to pursue Post-Secondary Education, I held local positions at the Native Friendship Center, The Woodland Cultural Center, a reappropriated Residential School previously known as The Mohawk Institute and worked alongside community Elders as a curator at Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks. Upon graduating from McGill University, and having the lived-experience of a First generation Indigenous student at a Post-Secondary Institution, I commenced a career of Advising Self-Identified Indigenous Students. This included taking supportive measures such as facilitating workshops, psycho-social support, career advising, subsidized educational program development, conference presenting at both the National and International level, and later on, committee commitments on the Educational system’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. Coming from a mixed raced Matriarchal Mohawk (wolf clan) lineage and Paternal Italian background, I am both aware and sensitized to the growing diversity within diversity of Indigenous culture and by my travels I have beheld the vastness and beauty of Indigenous representation through traditional landscapes that envelop Canada. As the Rural Program Manager at Canadian Roots Exchange, I come respectfully and peacefully with the understanding that we are all at different stages of decolonization. Thanks, Merci, Niá:wen Amani Maatouk Graphic designer and marketing coordinator - Toronto Hi there/Bonjour! My name is Amani—often mistaken for Armani, Miami, Aminé—and I am Moroccan and Syrian. Born and raised in Tiotià:ke (Montréal), I moved to Dish with One Spoon Territory (Toronto) this year to pursue studies in Advertising at OCAD University. With an avid interest in design, cinema and fashion, I spend most of my time on the computer or in a movie theatre, although one of my favourite things to do is to travel and discover new places. Working as the Graphic Design and Marketing Coordinator, I have gotten the opportunity to see how profoundly and positively CRE has affected Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, inspiring me to constantly strive to represent this impact through informative and engaging graphics and content. Thank you/Merci! Anthony Henhawk National Indigenous Youth Network Supervisor - Toronto Sago! My name is Anthony Henhawk and I am Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and a member of the Haudenosaunee (People of the Longhouse). For the creative side in me/As a foundation for my creative side, I have a diploma in Graphic Design from Mohawk College and an Advanced diploma in Video Game Design and Animation from George Brown. The business side of me counts over 11 years of experience working with Rogers Communications in downtown Toronto. I’ve held more than 5 positions including Business Enterprise Technical Support, Technical Writer, Graphic Designer, and Business Analyst in such diverse divisions as Technical Support, Branding and Marketing, Customer Experience and Training and Enablement. With all this experience under my wampum belt, I am ready to make a positive impact and engage communities to better equip our youth for success. Niá:wen Bayani Jose Trinidad National Program Supervisor (West) - Saskatoon Kamusta! My name is Bayani Trinidad. I was born and raised on Treaty Six Territory in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. My ethnicity is Filipino and Chinese. My family has immigrated to Canada from Philippines. I graduated from the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina. I hold a Bachelors of Social Work and a Bachelors of Sociology. I am passionate about empowering individuals and bringing communities together. I have a strong desire to constantly learn about different cultures and the way society functions. I have experience working for various non-profit organizations that support youth and their families. In addition, I am involved with various entrepreneurship opportunities. On my spare time, I enjoy being active and growing in expressive outlets such as breakin’ (aka break dancing), calisthenics, working out, biking, and jogging. My passion for dance has allowed me to perform, to compete, and to teach workshops/classes all around Canada. I am honoured to be apart of the Canadian Roots Exchange family as a Program Co-ordinator to unite all nations and communities together. Salamat! Bella Lyne YRI Administrative Assistant - Toronto Hi! My name is Bella Lyne and I’m a white settler of mixed European descent born and currently living in Dish With One Spoon Wampum Covenant Territory, in Tkaron:to/Toronto, ON, the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Haudenausaunee, and Wendat Peoples. I have a bachelor’s degree from Quest University Canada (located on Squamish Nation unceded territory) where I studied cultural geography, and fed my curiosity about how people create, shape and experience their relationships to place, land and ancestry. For the past two years I have worked as program coordinator/community artist at Arts4All, a non-profit, community-engaged arts organization based in Toronto’s west end making space for creative expression and artistic creation in our neighbourhood. As a former (2018/19) tYRI youth leader, I am thrilled and honoured to continue to be a part of supporting the YRI program, growing my skills and holding up the work of passionate, and dedicated young people from across Turtle Island. Brijlal Chaudhari Partnership Assistant - Montreal Namasté ! My name is Brij. I joined Canadian Roots Exchange as Partnership Assistant. I was born in Népal and was raised by my multi-generational Tharu (indigenous to the southern plains) family. Prior to CRE, I founded and led social-justice oriented projects and programs. I hold a masters in public administration and have lived in diverse cultural spaces around the world. I look forward to the new collaborations and partnerships at CRE. Brooke Rice Gathering Program Assistant - Montreal Shé:kon sewakwé:on, Katsi’tsarónkwas iontia’ts. Wakehnhehsí:io niwaki’tarò:ten tanon Kahnawake nitewaké:non. Hi, my English name is Brooke Rice and I am a citizen of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation, Snipe Clan, from the community of Kahnawake. I am so excited to be a part of the Canadian Roots Exchange team. I am currently enrolled in a double major of First Peoples Studies and Community Development at Concordia University. I actively volunteer and I am the Co-Vice President of the First Peoples Studies Members Association. My previous studies in Ratiwennahní:rats, a Kanien’kehá:ka language immersion program, has fostered my awareness in language and cultural preservation. My interest include traditional food sovereignty, sustainable food systems and Indigenous knowledge. My dream is to maintain these knowledge systems by incorporating teachings from our Elders. Celeste Beauchamp National Program Coordinator - Ottawa Shekon, sewakwekon! Katsitsanoron ionkia’ts. Wakathahionni. Kahnawake nitewakie:non. Hello! My english name is Celeste Beauchamp; I am wolf clan and my roots are from Kahnawake. My passion lies in working with and for the youth; connecting them with our traditional land based knowledge, and with the Elders that carry the language and teachings from our ancestors. I believe the most important work we can ever do is to lift up our young ones, and maintain that traditional relationship. My knowledge in our Indigenous histories and cultures influences my holistic working style. Working so closely with Elders in my personal life and in a work setting has allowed me to gain knowledge of spiritual Indigenous healing as well as practical mental health promotion. I also focus on having a strength-based, trauma-informed, culturally relevant, and gender based approach to all aspects of my relations. My passions for hope and life promotions for young Indigenous women and gender diverse people truly drive my commitment. My goal is to continue to be able to advocate for uplifting and creating opportunities for Indigenous women, two-spirit, and gender diverse people across Turtle Island. Akwe nia’ tetewa:neren All my relations Dona Nham National Program Coordinator - Montreal Xin chào! Dona is Vietnamese-Chinese, born and raised in Treaty 6 (Edmonton) and has been living in Tio’tia:ke (Montreal) since 2009. She has a profound passion and curiosity of the natural world and so, for almost the last decade, she has had the privilege to work alongside and learn from farmers, Earth activists, teachers, and elders both local and global within “permaculture” and sustainability fields. Her love of the natural world combined with her wonder for the arts eventually manifested into years of being a spoken word artist and an arts based facilitator, with a focus and centering of marginalized issues and voices (including the Earth’s). She is the co-founder of SistersInMotion in Montreal, an organization that centers BIPOC women and/or femmes through the joys of art, nature, and sisterhood. It is with a deep excitement and humility that she continues to learn, grow, expand, and do meaningful and impactful work with Canadian Roots Exchange as the National Program Coordinator. She loves to cycle, dance, build things, do art, community organize, and has a skateboard at home that one day she hopes to master. Elisa Cohen-Bucher Curriculum Developer - Montreal My name is Elisa Cohen-Bucher, I am a 26 year old woman born in Tiohtiá:ke (Montréal), unceded territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation and a traditional gathering place for many First Nations. My father was born in France to Algerian parents and my mother is from Polish, Swiss and Metis origins from British Columbia. I graduated form the Concordia University with an honours in human environment with a specialization in climate change and Indigenous knowledge. I am currently completing a masters at the University of Montreal in social geography. My research will aim to contribute to improving the health and wellness of the Naskapi, Innu, and non indigenous populations living in Northern Quebec, by mitigating dog-associated health risks and by supporting the role of dogs in health and wellness in Northern communities. For the last two years I worked for Mikana, an Indigenous led non-profit organization, where I have had the opportunity to facilitate workshops on Indigenous realities for a wide range of institutions and to organize tailored events. I have recently started a new job as the curriculum developer for CRE. Emily Iannucci tYRI Program Coordinator - Toronto Hi. My name is Emily Iannucci. I was born and raised in Tkaronto, Dish With One Spoon Wampum Covenant Territory to European settler parents. I graduated from Mount Allison University with honours in Religious Studies and a minor in Sociology. Professionally, I have a background in youth work, particularly around arts-based education and leadership. I am currently pursuing a Master of Social Work degree at York University. I am committed to the daily struggle and discomfort of reconciling the past and current place of the institution of social work in colonization and the oppression and pathologization of Indigenous communities. I feel honoured to work, learn, unlearn and rebuild alongside the CRE staff and youth participants. Erica Kopyto Manager of Special Projects - Toronto My name is Erica and I’m a settler born to Eastern European Ashkenazi immigrants and raised in Tkaron:to, Dish With One Spoon Wampum Covenant Territory/Toronto. I’m passionate about designing opportunities to advance progressive social change. Most recently, I was the Events Curator at the Broadbent Institute where I developed programming and produced events to support a more just and fair Canada. Before that I was Literary Manager at Toronto’s Nightwood Theatre, leading the development process of new plays written by women to stages across the country and around the world. As an educator and facilitator, I’ve liaised with various organizations in politics, labour, culture and the arts, to bring creative strategies to their outreach and communication initiatives. I’ve been a dramaturg and director for a myriad of interdisciplinary festivals and have curated and hosted events with the purpose of engaging audiences with specific calls to action. I hold a Masters of Arts from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Art from the University of British Columbia and am the mom of two daughters. I am thrilled to be part of the CRE team. Erika Massoud Partnerships and Mobilization Coordinator - Montreal 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 recently completed a Masters in Migration and Intercultural Relations, where I focused 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 on decolonization on this land. Forrest Eaglespeaker Program & Community Engagement Coordinator - Saskatoon Oki! My name is Forrest Eaglespeaker, I am a Blackfoot/Cree/French singer-songwriter, from Calgary, Alberta, Treaty 7 territory residing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Treaty 6 territory and I am the Program & Community Engagement Coordinator in CRE’s Saskatoon office. I am a singer-songwriter and Multi-instrumentalist under the alias The North Sound, where I use my gift of songwriting to share the stories of my life connecting me to my identity as an Indigenous person that I was separated from at a young age. As I continue to learn and reconnect with my culture, I passionately seek and create opportunities to have a positive impact on the community for vulnerable populations and at-risk youth supporting the youth voice anyway I can. I am very excited to work with the team here at CRE working together to bridge the various gaps present in today’s society. Gabrielle Veilleux Rural Program Coordinator - Terrace Allo! My name is Gabrielle Veilleux and I am a Rural Program Coordinator at Canadian Roots Exchange. I am a settler of French-Canadian heritage who has spent most of their life on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe and the Cree in Northern Ontario. I have an academic background in Biology and Science Communication which is a fancy way of saying I am a nature nerd and I am most definitely going to talk to you about it. I now live on Tsimshian Territory in Terrace, BC, where I enjoy spending time in my garden and building relationships with the people, the land, and the water of this place. Galya Bravo Special Projects Assistant - Montreal Bonjour/Hi/Hola! My name is Galya and I have just joined CRE as the Special Projects Assistant. I was born in the Dish with One Spoon Territory (Toronto) and moved to Tiotià:ke (Montréal) 4 years ago for University. Since I was a pre-teen I have been committed to fighting for social justice. At 14 years old I started volunteering on local election campaigns, and now I have participated in electoral politics at every level of government. Although this kind of social activism can be fulfilling, I am so excited to be a part of the Canadian Roots Exchange so that I can fight for social justice in a way that prioritizes a decolonial, collaborative and grassroots perspective on change and development. My work philosophy is that “I’m here to learn” and I know I couldn’t be in a better place to do just that. Merci/Thank you/Gracias. Jacqueline Neshkawa Finance and Program Coordinator - Toronto Hello! My name is Jacqueline Neshkawa. I am Ojibwe and Ecuadorian. I was born and raised in Toronto, Dish with One Spoon Territory, but my family comes from Wikwemikong Unceded Territory as well as Quito, Ecuador. I am really excited to be a part of the Canadian Roots Exchange team. I continue to look forward to working with and meeting new people during my time here. I especially like that being here has given me an opportunity to grow as an individual and to further understand what meaningful reconciliation looks like. I am currently studying Business Administration and continuing on my own journey to better reconnect with my culture. During my free time, you can find me spending time with family and friends as well as spoiling my dog. jessica alegria National Operations Supervisor - Saskatoon 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. Lance Morrison Research Assistant - Toronto I’m called Northern Thunderbird, but generally go by Lance Morrison for tax purposes. I’m the child of Red Butterfly Woman who is my mother and guiding light. I also come from a proud line of nēhiyaw (Plains Cree), Métis, and secwépemc ancestors. I’m a multi-genre writer, student, activist, dog lover, researcher, and bad joke teller, raised in Sǫ̀mbak’è (Yellowknife) though I now live in Tkoronto (Toronto). I am a fourth year student at York University, completing a Specialized Major in Indigenous Studies, an (unofficial) second major in Human Rights & Equity Studies, and a concurrent Certificate in Anti-racist Research & Practice through the Department of Equity Studies. My research interests lie specifically in cultural revitalization and language reclamation for Indigenous people, and I’m very excited to see what the Youth dream, create, and evolve through their research projects! Marissa Campbell Eastern Program Supervisor - Toronto 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 Max FineDay is a nêhiyaw napew from the Sweetgrass First Nation in Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory. He is currently serving as Executive Director of Canadian Roots Exchange, a recognized leader in delivering reconciliation programming to Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth across the country. Max is passionate about training the next generation of youth leaders, understanding how to make change, and increasing access to traditional ceremonies for Indigenous youth. In his spare time Max can be found serving as an advisor to the President of the Economic Club of Canada, the Laidlaw Foundation and serving on the interim National Council on Reconciliation. Max divides his time primarily between Toronto and Saskatoon. He can often be found laughing at his own jokes, or on twitter: @MaxFineDay Megan Lewis Policy and Research Manager - Toronto She:kon! My name is Megan Lewis; I am a Kanien’kehá:ka woman currently residing in Tkaronto, Ontario. As a member of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, but having grown up off reserve in rural areas of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, I did not grow up very connected to my culture or community. However, over the past 10 years I have started to learn more about my family history and culture and that sparked a journey of self-discovery and reclamation that I am still on. With a BA in Child and Youth Care, and an MA in Public Policy and Administration, I have developed a passion for the advocacy of Indigenous people and communities through education. Over the years I have held various roles both on the front-lines in community organizations and in the federal government and continue to strive to make connections between policy and practice. Motivated and solutions-focused, I look forward to taking on my role as Policy and Research Manager and making an impact in this growing organization. In my spare time I enjoy photography, organizing, and have recently taken up archery. Naithan Lagace Digital Curriculum Developer - Winnipeg Greetings, my name is Naithan Lagace. I am Metis currently living in the heart of the Metis nation Winnipeg, Manitoba for nearly 10 years. My role at the Canadian Roots Exchange is the Digital Curriculum Developer. Upon graduating from the University of Manitoba’s Native Studies department with a Masters degree focusing on Indigenous representations in digital media I plan on contributing my knowledge and experiences involving digital formats to incorporate CRE programs into the digital space. I look forward to contributing to the multiple programs offered by the CRE. During my time away from CRE I am involved in volunteering my time to my current Metis Local, the Bison Local to support young Metis peoples here in Winnipeg. Nicole Maxwell Executive & Administrative Coordinator - Toronto Hi, I’m Nicole Maxell and I was born and raised in Sioux Lookout, Ontario on Anishinabewaki and Metis land under Treaty 3. My Nonna and Kokum had a large hand in raising me and my siblings and I base a lot of my understanding and values from the love they gave me. I came to Toronto to study Fashion Design at Ryerson and then graduated in 2015. After 3 years in garment production my career shifted to something I find more valuable: working to empower and engage youth. I believe the art and handcrafts of our grandmothers and fathers is one of the most powerful and accessible tools to reintroduce youth to their culture. I’m honoured to work at CRE to support the people and programs that strive to enact real change. Patricia Eve Human Resources Coordinator - Toronto Ahneen, Patricia Eve n’dijnicaas, mizeekay dodem. Toronto n’donjibaa. Hello! My name is Patricia Eve of M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Sagamok and Newfoundland. I am turtle clan. Born and raised in Toronto, I have been working in various Indigenous organizations since graduating high school. I am passionate about making our community stronger, and I am so excited to be helping CRE advance the reconciliation movement in Canada. In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, painting, singing and napping. saima butt Director of National Programming - Toronto 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! Summer Leigh Cardinal Rural Program Assistant - Regina My name is Summer Leigh Cardinal of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation Treaty 6 territory located in Central Alberta, currently residing in Regina, SK Treaty 4 territory. I found my passion in educating people on reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people when learning about Residential School Days and the intergenerational trauma that has occured stemming from it. I would love to be a part of the journey of bridging the gap between Canada and Indigenous peoples and come to a place of balance. Tija Hauta Community Animator - Thunder Bay Aniin! My name is Tija. I am a Metis woman, living and working in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Robinson-Superior Treaty territory. I moved from Treaty 3 territory in 2013. Aside from working for Canadian Roots Exchange, I am working toward my Honours of Science in Forestry from Lakehead University. I also have a technical diploma in Forestry: Ecosystem Management from Confederation College. I am passionate about sustainability and working with youth. I seek out opportunities which allow me to share my passion for the environment with youth, and help connect people with the land and their traditional knowledge! In my spare time, I can be found doing anything outside or reading while hanging out with my cat. I am incredibly excited to be working with CRE and bringing youth of all walks of life together to share their visions of reconciliation! Chii-Miigwetch! Tristan Smyth Director of Finance, Strategy & Impact - Toronto 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. Zaheen Karim Financial Controller - Toronto Hi, my name is Zaheen Karim and I am excited to be working at Canadian Roots Exchange as the Financial Controller. Prior to joining CRE, I worked in the community health and youth sectors doing program management, education, volunteer coordination and administrative and financial coordination. In my spare time I like to listen to music, cook and check out events in and around town! I am originally from Bangladesh which is where I was born and have roots, and was raised in Ottawa (unceded Algonquin Territory). As a settler with a complex migrational story, I believe strongly in understanding and acknowledging our 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.