Dr. Brenda Restoule
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Brenda M Restoule (Waub Zhe Kwens) is from Dokis First Nation (Ojibwa) and from the Eagle Clan. She is a registered clinical psychologist who received her undergraduate training from The University of Western Ontario and her graduate training from Queen’s University.
The bulk of Dr. Restoule’s practice is providing direct clinical services and consultation to First Nation peoples, communities in Anishinabek territory and past work with the Skhkagamik-Kwe Health Centre. She also acts as a consultant to government in the area of Indigenous mental health, addictions, and mental wellness including acting as co-chair with the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, the Assembly of First Nations and First Nation and Inuit Health Branch on the development and implementation of the First Nation Mental Wellness Continuum Framework. She is an invited trainer and speaker to regional, national and international events and has authored book chapters and training manuals pertaining to Indigenous mental health and wellness.
Some of Dr. Restoule’s past work experience includes Prison for Women and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. She has particular interest in cultural safety, Indigenous community development and capacity building, and reducing suicide rates in First Nation communities using Indigenous knowledge and practices.
Dr. William Mussell
Bill’s introduction to leadership took place in two different worlds:-- within his Sto:lo family and community and within the formal education system he came to know as a nine year old, graduating ten years later doing his first year of university studies where he chose to do a bachelor of arts degree, obtained a degree in social work, and earned credentials as a high school teacher while also doing courses earning him credits at the Masters level. Knowledge, language, values and social skills learned and practiced at home prepared him well to serve as a leader among his classmates, and among his peers as he joined the adult world. Concurrent with his formal university studies, Bill became a dedicated volunteer and understudy of the Elders who re-established the Interior Tribes of British Columbia, modelled after the North American Indian Brotherhood created by the late Andrew Paul of the Squamish Nation, and recreated by the late George Manual.
Bill began his professional career in the early 1960s, focusing on justice system, post-secondary teaching, Band governance/management, and health/mental health and social development. He served as Chief of his First Nation, spokesman for the 24 Sto:lo First Nations, second president of the Vancouver Indian Friendship Centre Society (1964-67) and Executive Director of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs in its formative years, and founding chairman of the Coqualeetza Cultural Education Centre on behalf of the 24 Sto:lo communities. In 1974 he accepted an order-in-council appointment to the National Parole Board. He served as the Sr. Member for the B.C. and Yukon regions throughout the 8 years that he dedicated to this service, in favour of working directly with First Nations communities, Tribal Councils, Cultural Education Centres, and other service agencies with mandates to serve First Nations people in ways that would contribute to positive change in their lives. This new direction took shape in 1982-83 when he effectively became a self-employed consultant.
Consistent with his focus on indigenous mental health/mental wellness, including family and community well-being, health and developmental challenges of community practitioners doing this work in communities became his priority in the 1980s; in fact, he and two colleagues founded the Salishan Institute Society, a not-for-profit education agency that specialized in the education and training of community health workers/educators and addictions workers serving First Nations in B.C. and Alberta. Curricula for these programs was embedded in the cultural foundations of the communities to address priorities identified with First Nations in ways that prepared them to promote individual, family, and community health and wellness. The Institute delivered its first courses in the fall of 1988 and continued through to 2004 when Bill gave his attention to work on the national Mental Wellness Advisory Committee while also serving as President and Co-chair of the Native Mental Health Association of Canada that he served for 20+ consecutive years. This background brought him to the current roles he fills as a member of the board of the First Peoples Wellness Circle, including representation on the board of the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, and as Elder Adviser to the Implementation Team. He possesses an impressive history of keynote and related oral presentations, courses researched and taught addressing indigenous issues, and publications.
Dr. Ed Connors
Dr. Connors is a Psychologist registered in the Province of Ontario. He is of Mohawk ancestry from Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. He has worked with First Nations communities across Canada since 1982 in both urban and rural centres. His work over this time has included Clinical Director for an Infant Mental Health Centre in the city of Regina and Director for the Sacred Circle, a Suicide Prevention Program developed to serve First Nations communities in Northwestern Ontario. Dr. Connors most recent work has involved development of Indigenous Life Promotion projects that includes Feather Carriers Leadership for Life Promotion. While developing the latter service, Dr. Connors worked with Elders and apprenticed in traditional First Nations approaches to healing. Today his practice incorporates traditional knowledge about healing while also employing his training as a Psychologist.
He and his wife Donna, manage Onkwatenro'shon:'A, a health planning firm which provides health consultation and psychological services to First Nations communities throughout the Georgian Bay Muskoka region.
Dr. Connors was a board member and vice-president of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention between 1990 - 1998 and has since returned as a board member and has chaired their First Peoples Committee since 2012. He is currently on the advisory council for the Ontario Suicide Prevention Network. Some of his current work includes consultation and community training to assist First Nations in the development of Restorative Justice programs. He has also provided psychotherapy and traditional healing experiences to native inmates at Fenbrook Medium Institution, Correctional Services Canada.
Dr. Carol Hopkins
Dr. Carol Hopkins is the Executive Director of the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation (a division of the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation) and is of the Lenape Nation at Moraviantown, ON. Carol was appointed as an Officer in the Order of Canada, 2018. In 2019, she was recognized with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Western University.
Carol Hopkins has spent more than 20 years in the field of First Nations addictions and mental health. She holds both a Masters of Social Work Degree from the University of Toronto and a degree in sacred Indigenous Knowledge, equivalent to a PhD in western based education systems. Carol also holds a sessional faculty position in the school of social work at Kings University College at Western University.
Carol has co-chaired national initiatives known for best practice in national policy review and development, resulting in the: First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework (FNMWC), the Honouring Our Strengths: A Renewed Framework to Address Substance Use Issues Among First Nations in Canada, the Indigenous Wellness Framework, and best practice guidelines for culturally based inhalant abuse treatment. Carol has also inspired the development of the Native Wellness Assessment. In recognition of this work, Carol received the Champions of Mental Health Award 2015 for Research/Clinician, the Health Canada Innovations Award, was a member of the leadership advisory council to the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and was part of the Canadian delegation to the 2016 United Nations General Assembly, Special Session on the World Drug Problem. Carol also participates on a national mental health advisory council to the federal Minister of Health.
Dr. Caroline Tait
Caroline is a medical anthropologist with particular research interests in Indigenous health and social justice, and the challenges faced by women who are marginalized.
Dr. Tait earned her MA at the University of California (Berkeley), and her PhD at McGill University. She has been a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Fellow at Harvard, and she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at McGill.
In 2004, Caroline returned to her home province of Saskatchewan to join the Indigenous Peoples’ Health Research Centre—a collaborative initiative involving the First Nations University of Canada, the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan. In 2012, Caroline became a member of Faculty at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Saskatchewan.
Paul Andrew was born in the Mackenzie Mountain. He spent his early years learning Dene traditions. Paul spent seven years at a residential school in the NWT. Paul has served Tulita as their Chief and held variety of positions with the Dene Nation, including Vice President.
Paul began with CBC radio in 1984 before moving to TV. He retired in 2012 and he is well-known and popular singer and musician. He is a member of the Tulita drummers.
Awards and Achievements: NWT's literacy volunteer of the year, CBC North award north winner for service and team building, Recipient of the 2008 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for media and communications, Recipient of the 2017 Order of the NWT which recognize individuals who have served with the greatest distinction and excelled in any field of endeavour benefiting the people of the NWT or elsewhere. Chair - Naats’ihch’oh National Park Reserve, Member - RCMP Commissioner's National Aboriginal Advisory Committee, Member - G Division Commanding Officer’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee, Member of the NWT Judicial Appointment Advisory committee, Member - Dene Nahjo Elder Advisory Council, Member - G Division RCMP/Museum Project Canada 150 committee, Chair - Forum on Community addictions and wellness 2012 – 2013, Member – Aurora College board of Governors 2012 – 2015.
Denise McCuaig is an accomplished Métis woman with an excellent knowledge and background in Aboriginal health and mental health and addictions. Denise has accomplished many things while living with Bi Polar, diagnosed in her early twenties.
Denise has been an Indigenous Advisor on Aboriginal mental health and addictions through a number of boards and committees, including but not limited to, advisory to the Canadian Mental Health Strategy led by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training program designed and hosted by BC Provincial Health Service Authority Indigenous Health and was the lead on Aboriginal health planning and implementation for the Interior Health Authority.
Denise has also worked as a Director, Mental Health and Addictions for Interior Health Authority where her responsibilities included over seeing tertiary services, out patient programming and community care contracts throughout the Thompson Cariboo Region of BC.
Denise has been a sought after speaker on topics of Cultural Safety, healing through cultural renewal, suicide prevention and living with mental illness. Denise speaks from lived experience in a manner that many audiences have been able to relate too.
In 2006, The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) awarded Denise with a Champion Mental Health Award recognizing her hard work and contributions. In 2003, closer to home in Kamloops, BC, the YMCA, awarded Denise with a Woman of Distinction Award.
Denise’s greatest accomplishment and honour has always been her family. She is proud of her husband, their combined family of four children and their 6 grandchildren. And the closeness she experiences with members of her extended family and Metis and First Nations community.
Carla Cochrane is Ojibway and Cree from Fisher River Cree Nation with roots in Sagkeeng First Nation. She focuses on strengthening and empowering Indigenous communities through Health and Wellness, life promotion and languages.
Her current role is the Regional Research Coordinator at the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (FNHSSM) in Treaty 1 territory. She has taken on roles as an event coordinator, workshop facilitator, project lead, and public speaker. Carla is determined to create positive change in their lives by encouraging them to follow their dreams, all the while leading by example.
Roseanne Sark is a member of the Lennox Island First Nation and has been employed with Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI since October 2004; positioned as the Director of Health. Roseanne has a degree in Sociology/Anthropology with a minor in History from Carleton University. She is Certified in Reality Therapy, Conflict Resolution and has recently received a First Nations Health Managers designation from the National First Nations Health Managers Association. Roseanne serves as the Co-Chair for the Health Policy Planning Forum (HPPF) a Provincial Tripartite Health Forum established under the Mi’kmaq/Federal/Provincial Partnership Accord; and also Chairs the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI Health Advisory Committee. Roseanne will provide guidance and expertise to the ACHH Initiative regarding the health needs of children and youth in Lennox Island First Nation.
Dr. Wally Rude
Wally was born on the Great Plains east of the Rocky Mountains; southeast of Edmonton on the traditional territory of the Cree and Blackfoot. Wally has been a Registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists since 2007; with a keen interest in holistic well-being and positive psychology. He is currently employed on a wellness team as a psychologist with the Bigstone Health Commission in Calling Lake, Alberta where he serves members of the Bigstone Cree Nation in a number of northern communities. Most recently, Wally worked as a Manager of Spiritual and Mental Wellness for the Kawnlin Dün First Nation in Whitehorse, Yukon; in this role he provided oversight to the Jackson Lake land-based healing program and to a wellness team.
Wally has a northern European heritage and it was through his parents and grandparents that he was taught about Christian faith, generosity, humility, respect, hard work, and laughter. He recently discovered that his great grandparents had connections in the early 1900’s with a number of Cree families who travelled from Saddle Lake to Banff for an annual festival. Wally is married to Paula and together they have three adult children.
Dr. Rude’s undergraduate studies in Forestry at the University of Alberta propelled him into a career in forest management for a number of years, but his career pivoted when he completed a Masters in Counselling Psychology at Trinity Western University. Upon completion of his MA, he worked in senior management roles at King’s University, Ambrose University and Yukon University, as well as operating his own clinical private practice. Wally was recently selected to serve on the Canadian National Technical Committee for CSA/MHCC and helped create the Mental Health and Well-Being Standard for Students. He also served on a number of working groups for the Council for Yukon First Nations. Wally’s Higher Ed. PhD dissertation at Azusa Pacific University explored the relationship between outdoor-based experiences and thriving among university students; he later published this research with colleagues in the Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership in 2017.
In Wally’s spare time you can find him hunting, fishing, camping, or climbing a mountain; or optimally climbing a mountain to camp at a good fishing and/or hunting spot—preferably with friends or family, but alone if necessary.
Program Manager, Mental Wellness Team Supports
Anne has been the Project Coordinator with FPWC since June 2018. Currently her work is primarily focused on FPWC projects that will increase access to comprehensive support services for First Nation Mental Wellness & Crisis Response Teams throughout Canada. Her first project with FPWC was the coordination of the Mental Wellness Teams Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) which was completed June 2019. Anne uses the recommendations from the CNA along with working groups, advisory committees and direction from the board to ensure priority supports for the teams are created, available and delivered. Anne strongly believes on-going engagement and team networking is the key to achieving the relevant supports teams would welcome.
Anne has a Bachelor of Science, Major in Psychology from Wilfred Laurier University and Bachelor of Education from Nipissing University. Although the majority of her career has been spent in the Financial industry, mostly in management positions, Anne has always had a passion for improving the lives of others and a desire to work to in the mental health field.
Anne grew up in Nipissing First Nation and is now living in Dokis First Nation with her husband and two boys. She enjoys family time, fishing (both summer and winter), hunting, hiking, trapping, camping, canoeing and raising chickens.
Aanii/Hello! Marilyn Kimewon ndizhnikaas. Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory ndonjibaa. Mshiikenh ndodem. Gchi-mookmaan-Kiing Giidaadis (Lansing, Michigan).
I have been here since June 2018 as the Executive Assistant to First Peoples Wellness Circle Chief Executive Officer and to the First Peoples Wellness Circle Board of Directors. I also work with awesome co-workers and stakeholders.
I have been working in Indigenous Mental Health for over 25 years in an Administrative Capacity. I have worked at one of the oldest Indigenous Mental Health Clinics in Canada, which is, The Nadmadwin Mental Health Clinic for over 22 years. I worked with my community members daily assisting them with their mental health and wellness. I have had the opportunity to work with dynamic individuals who are Clinicians, Youth Mental Health Worker, Psychologists, Psychiatrist and Community Wellness Workers.
I practice and speak our Anishinaabemowin to maintain it. My parents were our Anishinaabemowin speakers to my siblings and me. I was a jogger and jog when I need too, I like camping and being with family.
Our most valuable resource in our Indigenous Organizations and Territories is our People!! Miigwetch.
Knowledge Exchange Facilitator
Lisa is Ojibwe, and is Eagle Clan and is from the (Treaty #3 area) and a member of Migisi Sahgaigan First Nation. Also known as Eagle Lake, Ontario, where she raised and is still connected to the land and her relations which helps guide her to this day in her role as a helper. She is a registered Social Worker who received her graduate degree and undergraduate degree at Lakehead University in Social Work. She also received an undergraduate degree in Psychology at Laurentian University. Lisa joined FPWC, September, 2021 as the Knowledge Exchange Facilitator. Currently her work is primarily focused on FPWC deliverables that include knowledge exchange, engagement, curriculum development, capacity building, coordination and delivery of training to support First Nation Mental Wellness Teams across the country.
Lisa has worked primarily with supporting the First Nation, Inuit and Métis population through many different roles which included; Community Support Specialist, Counsellor, Coordinator, Researcher, Sessional Lecturer and Facilitator. Lisa enjoys learning from knowledge holders such as Elders, healers, leaders, mentors, staff, participants, students and community members. She is very passionate about sharing her knowledge as a Facilitator, to promote community wellness by sharing the strengths of our culture complimented by academic research. Lisa has many roles in her personal life which are a wife, mother, sister, grandma, aunt, family member and friend. For self-care she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, cleaning and cooking for her family and friends.
Program Support Officer, Mental Wellness Team Supports
Brianna became the Program Support Officer in June 2021 after completing a field placement with First People’s Wellness Circle through her Social Service Worker diploma. Brianna also has a certificate in Indigenous Studies and is currently working towards her Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work through Laurentian University.
Brianna brings over 4 years of front-line social service work with experience in adult, youth and children mental health and addictions, homelessness, crisis work and violence against women prevention, through the Canadian Mental Health Association, Sault Area Hospital, and Kikendawt Kinoomaadii Gamig.
Brianna continues to develop her education and work experience by taking part in any training or learning opportunities that arise, and is looking forward to completing her Bachelor of Indigenous Social Work degree to move forward into a Masters of Indigenous Social Work degree.
Brianna enjoys spending her time outdoors at her camp with her partner and chocolate lab on Dokis First Nation every weekend throughout the majority of the year. She grew up spending time outdoors hunting and fishing with her family and continues to do so on her spare time.