Our Team

The NAN Hope team is made up of more than 20 Wellness Navigators and On-Call Counsellors. Wellness Navigators are the primary contact for NAN members who reach out by phone, text, live chat, or Facebook. Wellness Navigators provide navigation to existing community-based and regional support services and connect members to confidential counselling support. On-Call Counsellors are available to provide rapid-access counselling support. Counselling is available for anyone in the NAN region experiencing a wide range of mental health challenges.

My name is Ron Ojibway and Cree roots and is from the Bear Clan. I am a band member of the Red Rock Indian Band (Lake Helen 1st Nation) with my grandmother’s roots from the Moose Cree Nation. As a family man, married for 24 years and with my wife’s support and dedication have assisted in raising 25 children in addition to my own. I have been drug and alcohol free for 31 years which I feel has grounded me to be a better version of myself.

  • Confederation College Graduate: Native Child & Family Worker 1991
  • President’s Medal Recipient

I am an energetic social worker, cultural teacher, group facilitator, college instructor, comedian, promoter, and musician who is a long-term resident of the Ogden East End community in Thunder Bay ON.  As the sole proprietor of With Care Consulting and Ron Kanutski Comedy I work diligently throughout Canada and the USA to wherever I am called which is currently NAN HOPE.

Cecile is from Attawapiskat First Nation and is a very proud Mushkegowuk Cree Kwe.  Cecile attended the St. Anne’s Residential School located in Fort Albany, Ontario. She does not call herself a “survivor” because her belief is that her healing journey has brought her to be more than a survivor. Resilient.  She is a proud mother of 7 children and grandmother of 2 grandsons who are her world. She is a keeper of her traditional Cree language and uses this knowledge to teach others.

Cecile has an extensive history working with Indigenous people and organizations.  Some of her notable experiences include working at the Assembly of First Nations, attending Nipissing University Social Welfare and Social Development, work with Anishinabek Nation including roles as the Child Well Being Coordinator, Family Well-Being Coordinator, and lastly, work at Mushkegowuk Council as the Jordan’s Principle Coordinator.  She currently sits on MMIW National Advisory Council and works full time as a Peer Support Resource/Traditional Counsellor with NAN Hope.

Cecile’s mentor is Social Worker and advocate Dr. Cindy Blackstock.  This is demonstrated by her passion in helping her people, especially children and youth. Currently, she is being certified in Indigenous based Complex Trauma.  She feels a strong connection and desire to help her people and is proud to be working with NAN Hope.

Cecile believes in laughter is the best medicine and her favourite quote is “Keep Smiling”.

Deva is honoured in be a helper with NAN Hope Mental Health and Addiction program. She recently moved back to Treat 7 Territory, in Southern Alberta, the home of her Niitsitapi ( BlackFoot Confederacy) people. For her two children, Namayo and Siibii, to be closer to her family, Ceremony and to know the lands of their Piikani relatives.  

Before this move, she lived in her partner’s home of Moose Factory, Ontario, since 2013, to immerse her children in their Moose Cree culture and tradition to begin their journey as successful James Bay harvesters.

Deva is a proud Hungarian/Blackfoot woman Aakii from Piikani First Nation in Southern Alberta, and her beliefs of wellness are guided through the Blackfoot saying “lyiikakimaat”, which tells us to try hard and encourages inner strength.

Deva holds a Master’s of Education degree in Counselling Psychology (UVIC’11) and is both a Registered Psychotherapist (RP) with the College of Registered Psychotherapist of Ontario.

For many years she worked as a Child Wellness Clinician at Ministik Elementary school in Moose Factory, where she viewed her work with families and students as sacred work, in this work she created a counselling space that reflected the culture landscape of her Kin/Clients. Deva sees herself as a ‘creative helper’, as her Indigenous communities have always expressed themselves in Art; she has created many resources, where community can see themselves and their culture represented in.

Deva had the opportunity of being Indigenous Circle Chapter President (’19), which works to ensure Indigenous voices and world views are heard within the Canadian landscape of the counselling profession. In her work with children & youth she draws on play therapy, expressive therapies, and yoga practices as a vehicle through which children can freely explore their feelings all while feeling safe, respected and empowered. Deva has completed Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy certificate (JIBC ’17) and a Yoga Exercise Specialist certification (YES-90) training and started a sharing “Mindfulness Moose Yoga” programming at Ministik Elementary school in Moose Factory, Ontario. 

My name is Marilyn S, (nee Moore), born in Hearst Ontario and belong to the Constance Lake First Nation. I was adopted and raised by my paternal grandparents, Abraham and Maggie Sutherland. My parents were Nancy (nee Betsy/Shakanaqueb) and James Moore. Cree is my first language and I learned as a young child the way of life on the land. 

All my life I learned the concept of “tea and bannock” as a way of using our ways to help and support one another. Many times I watched my grandmother and others in the community often sharing and giving to others in need and those same people were always there when needed, I became one of those “natural helpers”. Its a natural thing to want to help; to give others the space where safety and comfort will be provided. 

I went back to school at a later age and completed studies in social work, earning at last a Masters degree at Wilfrid Laurier University, Kitchener, Ontario where I currently reside. I am a registered social worker with the College of Social Workers and Express Scripts formerly Non-Insured Health Benefits Program (NIHB) with Health Canada.  

It has been very difficult in the last two years and the effects of current situations has impacted us all in many different ways. It is something that we can not conquer alone but it can be tolerated and managed with understanding and courage. There are many other social issues and concerns we experience as families and people. We can be able to organize ourselves and bring help to loved ones. 

Previous work I experienced has helped me tremendously and most importantly learn to exercise what I learned in social work was being a mediator with the London Family Court Clinic. I worked between families and child welfare agencies to work in getting their children home. 

All the work I did was with First Nations communities ranging from Fort Severn and Walpole Island, all in various capacities. 

I am a guide, helper, teacher and also an advocate for a better life. Our future is depending on us to help others understand a life we deserve. 

Zara has been working to support young people and their caregivers in clinical and advocacy contexts for over 5 years. She is a Registered Social Worker who lives and works in Tkaronto, the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Children and Families. Zara is interested in culturally relevant healing and wellness modalities, trauma-informed approaches and working within a framework of Indigenous Cultural Safety. She is honoured to walk alongside young people, individuals, clients and families in their healing journey in a non-judgemental and supportive way. 

pamela b

Pamela works with general mental health challenges, is trained in ASIST, Dialectic Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Triple P, working with LGBTQ2S+ clients, and Indigenous Cultural Safety (recently completing the San’yas: Indigenous Cultural Safety Health (ICS: Health) Online Training). Pamela is a certified Mood Disorder Therapist, a certified Addictions Counsellor, a Certified Traumatologist, and specializes in Adolescent behaviours.

Deborah is a trauma informed Registered Social Worker,  who lives and works in Waterloo, on the Haldimand Tract, land that was promised to the Haudenosaunee of the Six Nations of the Grand River, and within the territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and Neutral peoples. Debbie has practiced in health and social service programs for over thirty years, supporting diverse individuals and families experiencing life transitions, loss, anxiety and depression. Debbie is committed to listening and supporting from a respectful understanding of cultural safety, as she joins the NAN Hope team.

Leesa Davey belongs to the Bear Clan. She is a member of Neskantaga First Nation in Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) and is fluent in the Ojibway language. Having grown up in the remote north, she is familiar with the current issues faced by NAN First Nation members in terms of access to services such as health care, mental health and addiction services.

She has years of experience working for various native organizations, such as NAN, Chiefs of Ontario and more recently, as the lead Navigator for the Outreach program at Matawa First Nations. Leesa graduated with her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Learning through Lakehead University and completed an Honours Thesis on: “Opiate-based Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse and its correlation to Increased Violence among Aboriginal People”.  She has a strong interest in assisting First Nation individuals gain access to resources that help improve overall health and well-being.

She enjoys painting, crafts, gardening and meditation. Leesa currently resides in Thunder Bay, Ontario with her family.

Lydie’s passion for community outreach spans over a decade, starting from supporting at-risk children, adolescents, and their families in the Greater Toronto Area. This developed her interest in the human condition and experience and led to her decision to study psychology. Lydie holds an honours bachelor degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counselling psychology. She brings years of distress and crisis work experience to her current role. Lydie is committed to creating a safe, culturally sensitive, non-judgemental, and empathetic environment, drawing from a holistic/wholistic, trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, and multicultural framework. Focusing on resilience and capacity building, in her care, she hopes that everyone feels seen, heard, and empowered to recover and rekindle hope in their life.

Bio Coming Soon

Bio Coming Soon