Alfredo Barahona, originally from Cuzcatlan, a Maya – Pipil territory part of what is now known as El Salvador, moved to Canada as refugee in the mid-eighties. He has worked with refugee and migrant communities through Toronto-based settlement agencies and now with KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives.
Currently Alfredo is working on Indigenous Rights issues focusing on the development of meaningful relationships and solidarity between Indigenous peoples and newcomers to Canada.
Alfredo has facilitated the KAIROS Blanket Exercise (KBE) extensively in English and Spanish through all of Canada including training KBE facilitators. Alfredo is responsible for the international work related to the KAIROS Blanket Exercise.
Facilitating the effective and meaningful participation of affected communities in advocacy and solidarity work is a key principle in Alfredo’s work.
As a tool for social change, music within a faith ecumenical and solidarity context, is an integral part of Alfredo’s life and social justice work.
Beth is a social and ecological justice advocate with over 10 years experience in sustainable development. She has worked with academia, civil society and government, including Global Affairs and Status of Women Canada. Her work has focused primarily on freshwater management, climate justice, gender, and urban issues in Canada and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Beth was a Youth Council member of PWRDF and supported the work of justgeneration.ca and the Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth (CLAY) National Youth Project Working Group. She has worked in social justice, camping, and youth ministry at the parish and diocesan level for the Anglican Church of Canada in Ottawa, Kingston, and Toronto. When not at work, Beth enjoys spending time by water with her family, including swimming, paddling and sailing in Ontario’s many great lakes and rivers.
Bonnie Van Hatten
Bonnie’s specific matrilineal ancestry is Secwepemc from St’uxwtews First Nation, located in what is now known as Interior BC. She has worked in Indigenous Education for the past 10 years with the Langley School District. Currently she facilitates reconciliation dialogue with a strong emphasis on shared history, stereotypes/biases, responsible ally-ship & advocacy for direct calls to action within her company Skelep Reconciliation. Bonnie holds an Indigenous Cultural Safety Facilitator Certificate from UBC Health and is a Building Bridges Collaborator with the Raven Institute. Bonnie is currently pursuing her MEd in Curriculum and Instruction at Simon Fraser University.
Prior to joining the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, Carole worked primarily in post-secondary education and international development – including peace and social justice in Mesoamerica as well as student success/accessibility at Canadian colleges and universities. Her educational background includes a BA in Latin American/Caribbean Studies (York), a MA in Education (OISE/UofT), and diplomas in counselling.
As a regional coordinator at the KBE, Carole works with both hosts and facilitators in the Southern Ontario region to administer the Blanket Exercise, prepare new KBE facilitators, and generally expand the program. The Southern Ontario region is bordered by Orillia (north), Oshawa (east), and the Great Lakes to the south and west.
The Media Coordinator for KAIROS Canada, Cheryl has 20 years experience in communications management. She has worked for national and grassroots organizations that include the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Easter Seals Canada, and the Toronto Arts Council Foundation. She is also a climate activist. Cheryl founded and leads the Toronto chapter of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and has lobbied Parliamentarians, US lawmakers and the World Bank to put a price on carbon. Once upon a time, Cheryl was a professional actor. In her wee spare time, she writes plays and hangs around with trees.
An educator, facilitator, and artist, Cherie was born and raised in Winnipeg and lived throughout the west before settling in Moh’kins’tsis (Calgary). Her connection to Indigenous community started with summer seasons as a teen on northern Manitoba reserves, then working alongside Elders and Knowledge Keepers with residents at a central Saskatchewan healing lodge. Her work evolved into addressing addictions in youth and barriers to Indigenous peoples in the justice system, before going overseas and contributing to community development projects in southern Africa and Central America. Back home, she continued to work with not-for-profit and grassroots organizations in newcomer, youth, and older adult communities.
Cherie holds undergraduate degrees in Justice/Law and Anthropology, and has a Masters degree in Adult Education and Community Development. She has a particular passion for participatory learning through hands-on activities and “stepping into another’s shoes,” and collaboratively creates and produces immersive and interactive experiences through her theatre company chiMOchiMO, seeking to drive conversation about sometimes uncomfortable and often unfamiliar topics.
Outside of her community work, Cherie loves winter and being outside with her dogs, and enthusiastically plays hockey and trains cross fit. She is addicted to volunteering and actively contributes to several arts organizations, as well as sitting on a board of directors. She also loves to sing, create, encourage, and connect with strangers wherever she goes.
Cheyenne is a member of Mi’kmaq Nation in Wabanaki territory. She has over 15 years experience as a Registered Nurse, is certified in community health nursing, and has worked almost exclusively with Indigenous communities in Atlantic Canada. For the past five years, she has been a faculty member at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), helping to strengthen the nursing curriculum by embedding Indigenous wisdom and knowledge. Cheyenne describes herself as “deeply connected to her Mi’kmaq heritage through Elders, ceremonies and cultural events, with an eye to curating a better future for the next seven generations,” and says she seizes every opportunity to be a positive and influential voice for reconciliation in Canada. Cheyenne works out of her home office in New Brunswick.
Indigenous Rights Program Coordinator
Unceded Algonquin Territory
Chrystal Waban is an Algonquin Storyteller and Traditional Counsellor from the Pikwakangan First Nation.
Chrystal has worked with non-profit Indigenous organizations on issues related to homelessness, youth and women’s rights, criminal justice, maternal and family mental health, cultural education, Indigenous-led research, and information governance. Chrystal holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Carleton University and a Healing and Wellness Counsellor Diploma.
Under the name Chrystal Dawne, she is also known as an author, a founder of Aunties on the Road, as well as the healing justice project Wananoshka Mashkiki.
Chrystal is humbled to provide support and coordination for the KAIROS’ Indigenous Rights Program. A mother of two, she is passionate about plant medicines, healing, and restoring intergenerational wellness and sovereignty to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis families.
Connie was born in the Philippines and moved to Canada in 1989.
Connie joined the ecumenical movement in 1997 with one of the KAIROS’ predecessors, the Interchurch Action for Relief, Justice and Development.
Connie has held different positions and responsibilities at KAIROS since then.
Currently as the Migrant Justice Coordinator, Connie is responsible for establishing new and nurturing existing relationships with like-minded church groups and civil society organizations mostly in Canada but also with migrant justice seeking groups globally.
Major components of the program are providing support and accompaniment to temporary foreign workers and ensures that their voices and positions are brought to bear on critical issues during roundtable discussions and campaigns here in Canada when physical participation are not possible. She has helped organized delegations and participation of temporary foreign workers in government meetings and roundtable on policy issues relating to the rights and welfare of foreign migrant workers.
In her spare time, Connie Sorio is a community activist, a seasoned organizer and a passionate human rights defender.
A member of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, Connor has worked with First Nation Chiefs, council, staff and Tribal Councils to assist with building capacity, employment and training within their respective communities.
Over his career, Connor has been employed in the non-profit and private sectors for corporations and Indigenous businesses in various areas from sales, employment and training, to tourism, graphic design and marketing. Connor is formally trained in Graphic Communications from Canadore College and is also known for his passion as an Algonquin/Mohawk artist that has led to several art shows across Ontario.
Another passion Connor holds close to his heart is his continuation to reclaim his culture to honour the sacrifices his grandparents made. They fled their home, family and community and lived off the land in hiding in order to save their own children from being taken away to residential school.
Connor is grateful to be a part of a movement to bring awareness and understanding of his ancestors to light.
Deanna’s ancestry is Katzie First Nation. She was born and raised on the ancestral lands of the Katzie in Langley BC. She has worked with the Langley School District as an Aboriginal Support worker since 2007. Learning to harvest traditional plants in her territory to make medicines is her effort to reclaim knowledge and return to the healing ways of her ancestors. Sharing the Indigenous perspective as a KBE facilitator, as well as a facilitator trainer, is the way she honors her father, a residential school survivor.
Devora grew up in Regina where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Bachelor of Education. Since her student days, she’s been volunteering and working in the non-profit / arts and culture sector, with experience in public libraries, provincial museums, national arts organizations, local music festivals and independent print and digital media.
When Devora moved to Ottawa in 2005 she brought her organizational skills and love of spreadsheets to several grassroots initiatives, often in support of gender equality and Indigenous rights. She joined KAIROS in summer 2017 providing administrative services to the Ottawa team. When she’s not sifting through files, she’s exploring hiking trails or coffee shops in the NCC. Devora’s also passionate about fitness and teaches a bi-weekly strength-training class at her local gym.
Prior to becoming KAIROS’ Program Manager in 2012, Ed coordinated KAIROS’ Indigenous Rights Program. This involved working with Indigenous peoples and their allies on domestic and international public education and action initiatives towards the recognition and enforcement of Indigenous peoples’ rights.
KAIROS’ creation in 2001 brought together 10 social justice ecumenical coalitions, including the Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC), which brought together churches, religious organizations, Indigenous peoples and regional groups. Ed was ARC’s National Coordinator from 1995 to 2001.
Ed has a Bachelor of Journalism (Television) from Carleton University in Ottawa and is the first student at York University in Toronto to complete a combined-Masters Degree in Fine Arts (Film) and Environmental Studies. While in Toronto, Ed co-founded Friends of the Lubicon, a support group for the Lubicon Lake Cree First Nation in Alberta.
Ed’s a hockey and soccer dad who lives in rinks and on pitches in Ottawa with his partner, Nancy, and their children, Graham, Gabriella and Robertson.
Fahira has served in many roles within KAIROS since joining in 2002. She currently holds the position of Donor Relations Coordinator. She enjoys the challenges of fundraising and believes in social justice. Fahira currently lives in Toronto with her husband and two daughters.
Gabriela Jimenez has strong experience in researching, writing, and presenting on topics pertaining to gender in relation to racial, migrant, and environmental justice throughout the Americas. She has recently completed a PhD in ethnomusicology with a focus on gender in the Americas.
Giselle Del Rosario
Giselle barely has the time to push pencils behind the solid walls of finance and administration at KAIROS. She enjoys working in the background, behind the epic scenes of the KAIROS day to day. While she may not have a green thumb like many of her colleagues, she really likes trees and plants. She’s known to love watching films and does not mind losing an excellent game of scrabble to a good opponent.
Ian is a half Cree, half German, member of the Bigstone Cree Nation in Northern Alberta Treaty 8 Territory. Ian has lived his life between worlds, between nations, and between peoples. He is honoured to be working for an organization that is fostering the reconciliation process with First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples of Canada.
Ian has over 10 years experience in volunteer and not for profit organizations. Most of those years were in a leadership or management type role developing strategic plans, managing volunteers & staff, workshop & event facilitation, charing meetings, organizing events & meetings, government interactions, and community engagement. He enjoys the challenge of solving community problems with creative solutions and networking.
Ian has a Certificate of Human Resources Management from Grant McEwan University and a Bachelor of Management degree from the University of Lethbridge. He believes HR is about listening, learning, teaching, and bringing people together for a common cause much like the purpose of the KAIROS Blanket Exercise.
As an environmentalist and first Nations person; Ian has supported both the Green Party of Alberta and the Green Party of Canada because the ideology of the Green Party is based in part on traditional indigenous teachings about the land. He has been an election candidate for both parties multiple times.
On June of 2014 I moved to Canada with my husband and kids to start a new life. I found myself taking different courses to gain knowledge in the culture and in the business area.
I started at KAIROS as an intern bringing support on the networking area and administrative area. today I am in the role as an administrative assistant supporting many KAIROS staff.
When I’m not at work I enjoy spending time with my husband and my kids, making something new at home or just taking a walk and exploring a new place.
Jennifer Henry currently serves as the Executive Director of KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, a role she took on in 2012. She has worked in ecumenical social justice for 25 years, beginning in 1993 when she joined the Ecumenical Coalition for Economic Justice (ECEJ) as a popular education coordinator.
Her time with ECEJ included coordinating a cross-country economic literacy program called “Building a Moral Economy,” and contributing leadership to the Canadian Ecumenical Jubilee Initiative. Within KAIROS, she has served in many roles from network and campaigns coordinator to the manager of teams focused on education and animation, organizational development, and human rights (Indigenous rights, gender and migrant justice). As manager of the global partnerships program, she played a significant role in coordinating KAIROS’ grassroots response to the CIDA defunding.
Jennifer had the honour of being an ecumenical witness at six of the seven national events of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She has given leadership to the Board of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation, and currently serves on the Primate’s Commission on the Doctrine of Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice, and the Board of the Centre and Library of the Bible and Social Justice. She remains an activist and educator at heart.
Raised in on Treaty 1 territory in Winnipeg, Jennifer has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Manitoba, and a Masters of Social Work and a Masters in Theological Studies from the University of Toronto. Her Master’s thesis was entitled Contrite Hearts in Solidarity Action: Elements in a Settler Ally Biblical Theology She worships at the Church of the Holy Trinity, an Anglican Church in downtown Toronto, under the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant.
Jennifer Dany Aubé
Artist. Yogacharini. Traveller
To learn more about me, visit my website at http://jenniferdany.ca/The_Artist.html
Jessica had been with KAIROS Canada facilitating KBEs in the Ottawa region since April 2018. As of January 2019, she has been in the Ottawa office coordinating the KBE requests for the province of Quebec.
Jessica moved to Ottawa from Montreal to pursue her University studies. She holds a criminology and Sociology BA from the University of Ottawa and is currently completing her Master’s degree which focuses on different issues an Indigenous individual may face coming into contact with the Canadian Criminal Justice System. She hopes this will help to continue advocating for Indigenous rights.
Having grown up in downtown Los Angeles I made my way to Toronto in 1998 after living long term in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Chad, and both master’s and doctoral studies as well as professional work in international development and agricultural extension in the Washington, DC area. I coordinate support for KAIROS ecumenical partners in the DRC and South Sudan as well as African regional and sub-regional climate and mining justice partners. My passions also run to, among other things, a just transition to a fossil free economy and mining justice that does not externalize human rights and environmental costs, and honours the principle of free, prior and informed consent for all affected peoples embodied in the United National Declaration of Rights for Indigenous Peoples in the global North and South.
Katy has been with KAIROS Canada since 2012 as Indigenous Rights Coordinator and now KAIROS Blanket Exercise Education Coordinator. She has also worked with the Sioux Lookout Anti-Racism Committee. Her current and previous work has focused on fostering reconciliation based on decolonization and justice for Indigenous peoples. Katy has trained and mentored hundreds of Blanket Exercise Facilitators of all ages and from a diversity of sectors. She has a BA in Anthropology from Concordia University and an MA in Conflict Studies from Saint Paul University. Katy is a settler on unceded Algonquin territory in Ottawa.
Kirsten Van Houten
Kirsten Van Houten is an international development professional who has spent her career working at the intersection of development, conflict and peacebuilding. She has worked extensively in East and Central Africa conducting research and supporting peacebuilding and humanitarian programs. She has also contributed to Canadian Foreign Policy in relation to the women, peace and security agenda and Israel Palestine. Kirsten holds a Ph.D. in International Development with a focus on civil society contributions to peacebuilding efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Dynamic and goal-oriented, Liliana Svartman has helmed financial operations across not-for-profit organizations as well as manufacturing industries in Canada, US and |Europe. Her understanding of the dynamics between organizational objectives and accounting practices has served her well in the last 20 years. As the Finance Manager at KAIROS, Liliana brings leadership to the finance function, in support of the organizational strategic vision. In this role, Liliana has overhauled internal financial processes, creating controls, establishing and implementing finance procedures. In her spare time she enjoys camping, canoeing and cooking with her family.
Lorraine Bellegarde is a member of the Peepeekisis First Nation, Treaty Four, in Saskatchewan.
Lorraine has a certificate in Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, a Real Property Administrator Diploma from the Building Owners and Managers Institute in Arnold, Maryland, and a Certificate in Administration from the University of Regina.
In December, Lorraine retired from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, where she was responsible for the delivery of all CMHC First Nations Housing Programs in Saskatchewan, and the primary contact with First Nations communities. Among other tasks, this job involved negotiating and implementing skills development initiatives and building relationships with community leadership, Tribal Councils, and other First Nations organizations, Indigenous Affairs, and Health Canada.
While working for the First Nations Housing National Office in Ottawa, Lorraine led a team that updated the First Nations Housing Curriculum. She also worked with regional colleagues across the country on a plan for First Nations capacity and training as it relates to housing resources.
As Senior Advisor with Assisted Housing Saskatchewan, Lorrine was a member of the Regional Assisted Housing Team, CMHC representative on the Urban Aboriginal Strategy, and also Co-chair of the National Aboriginal Capacity Development team. She provided corporate direction, support and mentoring, advocated and promoted CMHC’s role and successes in the resolution of Aboriginal housing issues, supervised and monitored the delivery of the Housing Internship Initiative for First Nations and Inuit Youth programs, fostered and developed working relationships with Regional Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Health Canada, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, and all eight Tribal Councils, to collectively and effectively deliver the Aboriginal capacity budget, and planned, delivered and administered the Aboriginal Capacity Development budget to First Nations of Saskatchewan, both on and off reserve. She also chaired the committee responsible for the development and implementation of housing curriculum for First Nation students on reserve, “My Home is My Tipi”.
Mim grew up in the Markham area, close to Toronto, with roots in the first families that settled York Region. As an adult, she began exploring Aboriginal values, spirituality and life that she felt deep inside as a child. Honouring the Indigenous ancestors that are part of her family is important even though there are many gaps and many unknowns. She has learned to bring together the Christian roots from her childhood and the Spirituality that is at the core of Aboriginal life. Helping people understand the reality of Indigenous life, not only in the past but the present, brings fulfillment and healing.
Mim has worked at Markham Stouffville Hospital for 19 years, first on Maternal Child and then with Child Development in the Infant Hearing Program. She is part of the Bawaajigewan Aboriginal Circle in Durham, Ontario and the Stronger Together Ecumenical Circle, among many other groups and activities. Mim is the Tota (Grandmother) of 2. She likes to spend her free time with her feet on Mother
Earth, enjoying the wisdom and teachings of her elders, the cuddles and joy of her granddaughters, and the laughter of her friends and family. Mim is learning to be comfortable walking the path that Creator has given her and living from her heart. Mim was given the name of Wiingaashke Ikwe (SweetgrassWoman). Sweetgrass is her medicine and is always with her.
Mim is facilitator, trainer and Grandmother for KAIROS Blanket Exercises all over the GTA and beyond, working with with KAIROS, Willowgrove and Mennonite Central Committee Indigenous Neighbours.
Rachel is an Indigenous woman with over 20 years of experience working and volunteering in the community. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Winnipeg and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Manitoba. She is currently working on graduate studies in Social Work. Rachel has facilitated the Kairos Blanket Exercise for the last couple of years, working with a wide variety of groups to help promote respectful dialogue in cross cultural settings. She is also mom to two children aged 5 and 8.
Rachel has served as the Executive Director of several non-profit agencies, including Eyaa-Keen Healing Centre, which provides supports grounded in culture to Indigenous peoples who have been affected by trauma, Wahbung Abinoonjiiag, an agency that provides supports to women, children and youth who are affected by family violence, and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Manitoba and the John Howard Society of Manitoba both of which provides supports to people in the criminal justice system. Rachel was the founding Executive Director of Onashowewin, an organization that provides a court diversion and restorative justice program to Indigenous people in the criminal justice system. Rachel also volunteers on a number of boards of directors and committees in the urban Indigenous community in Winnipeg.
Rachel is KAIROS’ partnerships manager. She has been involved in the human rights and social justice work of the churches for over 20 years and in solidarity and social justice movements for much longer, starting with the anti apartheid and divestment movement and the Nicaraguan solidarity movement in high school and university.
She holds an honours degree in International Development Studies from the University of Toronto, and a graduate certificate Gender and Peacebuilding from the University of Peace of the United Nations in Costa Rica.
Rachel is an experienced Popular and Adult Educator and fearless flute player and member of the Fallen Angles musical group. Finally, but most importantly to her, she is the mother of two beautiful, wise, compassionate and independent young women.
Rick hails originally from the Maritimes where he received a B.A. from Mount Allison University and an M.Div from Atlantic School of Theology. Rick worked for the Student Christian Movement of Canada as General Secretary from 1995-2000. From there he moved to work at the general council office of the United Church of Canada, where he acted as program coordinator for youth and young adult ministries.
He currently holds the position of Administrative Associate at Kairos, dealing with financial reconciliation for staff and operations of the organization. He also manages resources and other office duties. In his spare time, Rick spends time volunteering for Save My Tail dog rescue, playing Rock Band with his partner Darren, and generally pining for the East coast.
Sara Anderson comes from a mixed background of German Mennonite and Métis ancestry. Originally from Kitchener-Waterloo (Block 2 of the Haldimand Tract – an ongoing land claim by the Six Nations of the Grand River), as a teenager Sara was deeply involved in the broader Anabaptist community with a focus on social justice initiatives, with a particular focus on issues pertaining to refugees and newcomers to Canada. More recently, she has embarked upon a journey of reconnection with her Métis heritage, and is now involved with urban Indigenous community in Ottawa (unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory). Currently she serves as a Blanket Exercise Regional Coordinator – Central in the Ottawa office of KAIROS.
Sara holds honours degrees in Global Studies and French from Wilfrid Laurier University, and has recently completed a MA in Canadian & Indigenous Studies along with a Post-Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Policy & Administration from Carleton University.
My role at KAIROS is to support the work of the grassroots across the country and to maintain the link to the churches in all the justice work. I give workshops and develop worship resources related to all areas of KAIROS work.
When I’m not at work I enjoy exploring the city with my partner and children, especially the green spaces on my bicycle.
Siobhan started out as a teacher and taught elementary, secondary and adult students everything from Spanish to Biology to Phys Ed in schools in Ontario, Grenada and Kiribati. Along the way, her participation in a variety of social movements gave her the opportunity to become involved in amazing work with amazing people. Eventually, her work in education changed focus and she became immersed in the work of Development and Peace, first as a member/volunteer and then as Regional Animator and later, Education Programs Coordinator. Siobhan has worked with KAIROS’ fundraising and communications staff as Organizational Development team manager since January 2014.
Zoë Aarden has a B.A.H. and a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Studies from Trent University and has worked and volunteered in Indigenous communities for over 17 years. Her thesis “Sexing the Indian: Scholarships’ Role in the Consolidation of Colonial Structures of Gender and Sexuality”, was opted for publication in 2006. As an active ally for many years, Zoë is very comfortable in Indigenous communities and being with Indigenous people. She understands her role as an ally is to provide support and to take direction. Prior to facilitating KBEs, Zoë was for 9 years a Project Manager/Coordinator with Elsevier Canada.