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.

 

Alyssa Luttenberger

Alyssa Luttenberger

Manager of Fundraising and Development - Toronto

Halito! chokma chinchokma. Salhochifoat Lakna’ Hatalhposhik. Chikasha saya. Iksa’ loksi’. My name is Alyssa and I am mixed heritage, Chickasaw Nation and Austrian. I am Turtle Clan and my spirit name is Lakna’ Hatalposhik, which was given to speak to my role as a bringer of change, a listener and a mediator. I was born, raised and live in Dish with One Spoon Territory.

 

Over the past 10 years I have done front-line work in community providing wellness, health and cultural services to youth. I am an advocate for the reclamation of traditional governance systems and support other youth to reintegrate these knowledges into our practices. I sit as a member of the Toronto Indigenous Health Advisory Circle’s Youth Council, the Toronto Indigenous Youth Collective and the Toronto Urban Health Fund’s Indigenous Advisory Council. I have a strong background in program development, implementation and evaluation. I am passionate about community and youth-led initiatives that provide Indigenous youth the space to make decisions about their own wellness and future.

Amanda Amour-Lynx

Amanda Amour-Lynx

Indigenous Wellness Specialist - Toronto

Kwe’! Teluisi Apuksikn (Lynx).

Hello! My name is Amanda Amour-Lynx and I am a queer, Two Spirit, Mi’kmaq First Nations interdisciplinary artist and social worker living in Tkaronto, Ontario, on Dish with One Spoon treaty territory. I come from mixed ancestry and I was born and grew up in Tiotia:ke (Montreal). Interested in the intersections between art and activism, I focus on Indigenous storywork and socially engaged approaches to explore healing trauma and unearthing collective truths. Spirituality, connection, and community are at the root of wellness. I’m interested in an embodied practice that fuses physical and emotional healing through hybridizing interpersonal, land-based epistemologies and western therapeutic models of counselling and wellness. I am passionate about how expressive arts facilitation can engage youth and provide them tools to mobilize and develop kinship, helping them to model stronger, healthier relationships which address issues such as intergenerational trauma. I received a BFA from OCAD University in Drawing and Painting, minoring in Indigenous Visual Culture

I’m interested in how cosmology and ethnobotany can be incorporated into the wellness paradigm. Resurgent practices are important to me; including cultural acts of making, ceremony, language revitalization, plant knowledge, cultural transmission, land-based wellness initiatives, bushcraft, two-eyed seeing, shapeshifting, and how western ideologies offer us tools to form dialogue and pedagogy to recover and enliven the old ways.

I want to imagine a future where intergenerational healing can occur and where traditional ways are honoured and informed through the lens of Indigiqueer futurism, and youth truth-telling.

Amani Maatouk

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!

Avery Velez

Avery Velez

Northern Engagement Coordinator - Ottawa

Kwe’ teluisi Avery, n’in L’nuk tleyawi Mi’kma’ki Taqamkuk. My name is Avery (they/them) and I am an L’nuk from Mi’kmaq territory on the west coast of Newfoundland. I am currently in the process of (re)learning my language, culture, and histories that were lost to colonialism. I have just returned to live on my ancestral territory after spending five years in unceded Algonquin territory (Ottawa) learning in both colonial and traditional contexts. I have a degree in International Development with a specialization in Gender Studies and I have learned from nokomis, kookums, Elders, water protectors, and knowledge keepers about resurgence, activism, and ceremony. 

At CRE, I am a Northern Engagement Coordinator in the Indigenous Knowledge and Curriculum department, focusing on Inuit Nunangat. This means that I work with all the teams in my department to ensure that programs are developed and delivered in Inuit Nunangat and that as an organization we really are serving Indigenous youth from coast to coast to coast. I am also working on building CRE’s Northern capacity – so that next time an Inuk applies for this role! In the meantime I am  deeply in love with the Arctic and am thrilled to be able to focus my energies on Inuit Nunangat.

Bella Lyne

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

Brijlal Chaudhari

Manager of Research, Assessment, and Evaluation - Montréal

Namasté! My name is Brij. I was born in Népal and was raised by my multi-generational Tharu (indigenous to the foothills of the Himalayas) family. My journey brought to Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal (unceded Indigenous lands) as Jeanne Sauvé Fellow. Now, I am working as the Manager of Research, Assessment, and Evaluation under the Department of Indigenous Knowledge and Curriculum. With over 8 years of experience leading social change organizations, I have worked with a diverse group of stakeholders in the ecosystem. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and African Studies, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. Having lived in various cultural spaces around the world, I have huge respect for diversity and different ways of knowing and learning. As a storyteller, I truly enjoy listening to personal stories and sharing mine. I truly believe that stories have healing powers. Stories can get our body, mind, spirit, and heart to work together, direct us towards balance and harmony. I am fascinated by the indigenous knowledge and wisdom. They have guided me throughout my journey and have worked on me as medicine. With my journey at CRE, I aspire to continue working on self-actualization and connect deeply with my indigenous culture. My grandfather used to say, “No matter how high you grow like a tree, your roots will always be on the ground. NEVER EVER FORGET YOUR ROOTS because they nourish you and hold you up.”

Brooke Rice

Brooke Rice

Rural Program Coordinator - Montreal

Shé:kon sewakwé:on, Katsi’tsarónkwas iontia’ts. Wakehnhehsí:io niwaki’tarò:ten tanon Kahnawake nitewaké:non. Most people know me as Brooke Rice.  I am snipe clan of the Kanien’kehá:ka nation, member of the Rotinonshón:ni (People of the Longhouse), born and raised in Kahnawake.  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’keha language immersion program, has fostered my passion for cultural revitalization and language reclamation.  My journey really embodies the teachings of the Two Row wampum, being able to walk with balance while I pursue higher education and take the western concepts lightly while upholding my traditional teachings.    Ratiwennahní:rats, helped me to reconnect to my culture and identity, but most importantly to walk with gratitude and to understand the universalism, as we are all beings of the Earth.   I am excited to work with CRE to be a part of empowering our youth and being our ancestor’s wildest dreams.  I’m interested in eco over ego, social justice, wholistic wellness, food, family and community.  It’s my dream to be a part of our youth’s journey to help show them their potential and to help create role models for the next seven generations.

Carlee Kawinehta Loft

Carlee Kawinehta Loft

National Program Coordinator - Montreal

Shé:kon sewakwé:on, Kawinehta iontia’ts. Kahnawake nitewaké:non. My name is Carlee Kawinehta Loft. I am a motivated and community-minded, Kanien’kehá:ka woman. My father’s side of the family and I are from Kahnawake. I am passionate about art, community action, cultural revitalization, and youth empowerment. I strongly believe we each play an invaluable role in shaping the world for the next seven generations; this includes the responsibility to do what we can to empower each other – youth especially – to join in, to shape and craft this world with both hands and whole hearts.

Katsitsanoron Beauchamp

Katsitsanoron 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

 

Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

Graphic Designer - Toronto

Taliaq! My name is Chris Mitchell and I’m Mi’kmaq and Irish originally from Halifax, NS. I graduated from Brooklyn College with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with concentration in Marketing. When I’m not doing Graphic design I spend my time writing music, making art, and beading. Shortly after graduating college I moved back to Canada and started doing freelance design for many Indigenous owned companies and artists. I look forward to bringing my design skills, extensive knowledge on Indigenous cultures, and creativity to the Canadian Roots Exchange team.

Wela’lin/ Thank you

Claudia Escobar

Claudia Escobar

Finance Coordinator - Toronto

Hola/ Hi, My name is Claudia Escobar and I was born and raised in the Dish with One Spoon Treaty Territory, Toronto, to parents who forcely migrated from Cuscatlan/ Kozkatlan (El Salvador). I have ancestral roots stemming from the Pipil, Lenca and Spanish people. Currently, I seek to reconnect and learn more about my own roots, which is why I am very excited and honoured to be able to work with CRE as they actively advance in creating a reconciled community in Canada between indigenious and non-indigenious youth. I am very grateful to be able to contribute to CRE as a Finance Coordinator. In my spare time I enjoy playing sports (especially soccer), engaging in outdoor activities or reading.

Dona Nham

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.

Eagleclaw Bunnie Thom

Eagleclaw Bunnie Thom

Communications Manager - Ottawa

Tansi and howdy! My name is Eagleclaw Bunnie Thom (he/him) and I am Saulteaux from Treaty 4 territory. I currently reside on unceded, unsurrendered Algonquin territory in what is now called Ottawa. I’m not very fond of talking about myself, but I’m also a big fan of telling stories. I’ve been working in communications since I first graduated university. I once organized a powwow that had about 10,000 people in attendance in a week and I once hitchhiked a ride on a helicopter in the middle of the bush.I strongly believe we have a responsibility to the future generations of our people to try make this place better while we are here. I strive to do that everyday in the work I do with this organization and in my personal time.

Erica Kopyto

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.

Forrest Eaglespeaker

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

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

Galya Bravo

Outreach and Engagement Coordinator - Montreal

Bonjour/Hi/Hola! My name is Galya.

I was born in the Dish with One Spoon Territory (Toronto) and moved to Tiotià:ke (Montréal) 4 years ago for University where I achieved a B.A in Political Science and Latinamerican studies. I am a first generation child of refugee settlers from Chile, and have Jewish heritage that has connections to Poland, Russia and Montréal. I have a deep commitment to social justice, and have been an activist for many years.

I am the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator at CRE. In this position, I am able to use my political organizing experience in a new way. Electoral politics has taught me how to make quick and effective decisions, and has allowed me to work with members of the public from a variety of different backgrounds. My role connecting youth from across Canada in ways that promote decolonial, collaborative and grassroots perspectives on change is how I demonstrate my solidarity.

Merci/Thank you/Gracias.
Hillory Tenute

Hillory Tenute

Director of Indigenous Policy & Research - Ottawa ndo daa

Aaniin! Boozhoo! Giimiibzo Chi’Nodinkwe – Aapti Bebom N’gigikwe Hillory Tenute ndishnikaaz, Neyaashiinigmiing ndo njibaa, Ottawa ndo daa, N’gigik dodem. My name is Hillory Tenute and I am an Anishinaabekwe with Settler-Italian Irish descent from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation located on Neyaashiinigmiing Unceded Territory. I presently reside on Algonquin Unceded Territory in Ottawa, a Territory that has never been surrendered. I am a Decolonizer, Grassroots Mobilizer, Policy & Research Nerd. Alongside working for a number of Government departments and a few years at the Assembly of First Nations as Sr. Policy Analyst, I have also been an Evaluator for the last 9 years. I specialize in delivering culturally relevant Evaluations for Indigenous organizations and communities that are grounded by Indigenous realities, epistemologies and decolonized methodologies. I believe that any type of research, engagement, evaluation, and policy that is about Indigenous folks needs to be led by Indigenous voices.

Things I love include: dismantling colonial systems of oppression, attending ceremony, re-learning my language, new beadwork, puns, puppies, pizza and a solid high five. #landback

Jacqueline Neshkawa

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.

Jaelyn Jarrett

Jaelyn Jarrett

Training and Development Manager - Toronto

Tunngasugit! Uvanga Jaelyn Nainimiunguvunga.

Welcome. My name is Jaelyn and I am originally from a small Inuk Community in Northern Labrador, called Nain Nunatsiavut. I lived there on and off with my Anansiak (Grandmother) and Atatsiak (Grandfather) until I was 8 years old. I then moved to Toronto with the other side of my family whom is Guyanese and lived there until I was 18 years old. I currently reside on unceded, unsurrended Algonquin territory in what is now called Ottawa as I moved here for school. I am currently finishing up my double degree in Law and Indigenous studies at Carleton University, and will be graduating in April 2020.

Having a very unique story and upbringing has allowed me to see the world and life through a very distinct lens. This perspective is very important as it is one that is missing from so many spaces, so I do my best to assert my narrative wherever I can. I am very passionate about working with Black, Inuk and mixed ancestry (black and Indigenous) youth and making space for them by making myself visible! In my spare time I enjoy working out, sewing and reading!

Nakkumek!

jessica alegria

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

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

Marissa Campbell

Workshop and Engagement Lead

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

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

Megan Lewis

Policy and Research Manager - Toronto

She:kon! My name is Megan Lewis; I am a mixed Kanien’kehá:ka woman and member of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory currently residing in Tkaronto, Ontario. I grew up off-reserve in rural parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia before moving to Ontario over 10 years ago. Over the past decade I have prioritized learning more about my family history and culture which has shaped my worldview as well as my career goals. 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, archery, and have recently taken up beading.

Naithan Lagace

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

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

Patricia Eve

Employee Support 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.

Robbyn Zwaigenbaum

Robbyn Zwaigenbaum

Director of Indigenous Knowledge & Curriculum - Toronto

My identity, as is many, is multifaceted—with many experiences that have brought me to the important work that I am doing now. My maternal ancestry is from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and my paternal were German Jews largely erased during the Holocaust. The history of Genocide has had a great impact on my identity and the trajectory that my life had taken. I was raised on Anishnawbe territory in the Elliot Lake relocation project. It was from this space that I learnt about the importance of Tradition, community and many teachings. I have more than twenty years working around the sex trade and issues around human trafficking. The majority of my career has been focused on the needs of Indigenous youth within an urban setting; identifying gaps and implementing solutions. I have created numerous of programs that focus on harm reduction, sex trade, street-involvement, trauma and spaces of safety. I have provided these programs to the community with the intention of empowering our community to be leaders and to increase quality of life. I have developed training modules for larger systems such as child welfare, police services, emergency medical staff, clinical service providers and criminal justice workers to work together to attain a positive outcome for the community.

As a previous clinician, and a Senior PhD candidate, it is my passion to bridge Western clinical practices and international Indigenous healing practices to combat intergenerational trauma and produce safe and accessible trauma-informed practices. It is an honour to bring my experiences to this position of Director of Indigenous Knowledge and Curriculum to work together to strengthen our capacity as a community and elevate our youth leaders as experts in their field.

saima butt

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!

Sam Kloetstra

Sam Kloetstra

Program Coordinator - Toronto
Sam Mukwa Kloetstra is an Anishinaabe youth from Mattagami First Nation. Sam is an advocate for Indigenous youth, nation-building, and community wellbeing. He has been an advisor to Ontario Minister of Education and has sat on the Ontario Premier’s Council for Youth Opportunities.
Sam works in influencing change in youth focussed health and education policy. He is a vocal advisor on the Toronto Indigenous Health Advisory Circle, Toronto Indigenous Affairs Committee, and the Toronto Drug Strategy Panel. Sam continues to amplify Indigenous youth voices through his work with the Toronto Indigenous Youth Collective.
Shanese Steele

Shanese Steele

Rural Program Manager - Ottawa

Shanese Steele is a 27 year old, fat, queer,  Mukaade Anishinaabe Kwe (Afro-Indigenous person) with ties to the Nbissing, Metis communities and Trinidad and Carriacou, Grenada and a member of the Crane Clan. She is now living on the traditional unceeded territory of the Omàmiwini (Algonquin), but grew up on Edoopikang, which is the Anishinaabemowin word for North York. Over the last 10 years Shanese has been focusing her work on bridging the gap between the Black diasporic Indigenous community and Indigenous communities belonging to Turtle Island. She is passionate about youth led initiatives that don’t only centre youth voices but also allows them to play a part in shaping the organizations, institutions and societies around them. Shanese is the Rural Program Manager and will be working to support, advocate, uplift and connect the voices of youth living in rural communities.

Shawna Moore

Shawna Moore

Operations & Process Manager - Toronto

Aanii my name is Shawna. I have ancestry from Temagami First Nations, Ireland, and Scotland. Indoodem Gaag (My Clan is the Porcupine Clan). I am currently living in the Dish with One Spoon Treaty Territory. I have worked on Indigenous Food Sovereignty and Indigenous Land-based Education projects. I have a BA in Environmental Studies and a Post-Graduate in International Development. I am excited to be working with CRE and collaborating with its amazing staff to help advance reconciliation as the Operations and Process Manager.

I am learning to be an earth worker. I had the gift of learning about earth working from Joce Two Crows Tremblay. This summer I grew a three sisters garden and medicines. I was gifted some beautiful Bear Island Chippewa Corn from Nicole at the Mashkiki Collective and can’t wait to start growing this relative in Summer 2020

Shayla “Gwikitch’ihkheh” Snowshoe

Shayla “Gwikitch’ihkheh” Snowshoe

Northern Engagement Coordinator - Edmonton

My name is Shayla “Gwikitch’ihkheh” Snowshoe and I am a Tetlit Gwich’in from Tetlit Zheh, Northwest Territories. As a young, Indigenous woman, I have to come to understand the value of heritage and education and how the two are intertwined into my life, just like a braid. There are three strands. One strand is my culture – hunting, fishing, sewing, the language, the land and my Jijuu. The next strand is education – learning and experiencing new things everyday, as well as my desire to obtain a degree in order to give back to my community through education. The last strand is me– my heart, soul, strength, beliefs, dreams, goals and my love. Each strand is just as important and inspirited as the next. My ultimate goal in life is to live a healthy and happy life with my daughter, Dani-Mae.

Shelby Gagnon

Shelby Gagnon

Community Animator - Thunder Bay

Boozhoo!

My name is Shelby Gagnon, I am an Anishinaabe artist from Aroland First Nation, Treaty 9 territory but have been living in Thunder Bay most of my life. I’m a graduate of Lakehead University in the Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts program where I explored the reclamation of identity and traditions of being an Indigenous woman in Canada. Through involvement with community-engaged arts organizations and projects, I use multi-disciplinary mediums to express and share holistic feelings.

Currently, I am working part-time with CRE as a community animator and Thunder Bay District health unit and Lakehead University working to build food sovereignty in northwestern Ontario, I also teach and facilitate art workshops in and around Thunder Bay. I thrive on expanding my knowledge on traditional ways of living and being through methods of art, food systems and healing practices for the community. I am very excited to work with other young leaders and grow with the CRE team to build healthier relationships with people and the land.

Miigwech!

 

Summer Leigh Cardinal

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

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!

 

Tony Johnson

Tony Johnson

Office Coordinator - Toronto

Sge:no (Greetings) My name is Tony Johnson and I am from the Cayuga Nation, Bear Clan born and raised on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. For the past 2 years I have resided in the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Covenant Territory, in Tkaron:to/Toronto. I have experience in the administrative field as well as program and event coordination. Previously I have worked with many Indigenous organizations including: Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Mississauga’s of the Credit First Nation, Brantford Native Housing and the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre. It’s an honour to be a part of the CRE team and I look forward to growing and learning from the experience. Nya:weh

Tristan Smyth

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

Zaheen Karim

Financial Controller - Toronto

Hello! My name is Zaheen, I was born in Bangladesh and have cultural and ancestral roots from that land. My family migrated and settled in unceded Algonquin territory (Ottawa) which is where I grew up for most of my life, since then I have been residing in Dish with One Spoon Treaty Territory (Toronto) for the past 5 years. As someone who has had a complex migrational story, I value that CRE is invested in engaging in the very meaningful and necessary work of reconciliation. I am honoured to be able to practice my professional interests in finance, project management and education through a decolonial and social justice lens. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, music, fitness and spending quality time with my friends and family.

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