Our Team

Learn more about who helps to build and operate SWB below


Maxine Lacorne

| Project Coordinator

Sǫ̀mba K’è, NWT

Maxine Lacorne born and raised in Zhatíe Kúe/Fort Providence. She moved to Sòmbe K’è/Yellowknife after completing her Secondary High School Diploma in 2005 and continues to live there with her three children and common-law. Maxine’s learning and career path brought her to a variety of organizations where she gained knowledgeable skills working for/with people of the North in supporting/helping and advocating role. She worked with all aged groups for ten years. During her learning path, Maxine also starting her healing journey and continues to walk the path of recovery and does her best to be a voice for those unable to speak their own truth and advocates/support for Healing, Mental Health Awareness, Intergenerational Healing & Reclaiming and Revitalization of Traditions/Culture and Language. Maxine returned back to school and was in the Social Work Program with Aurora College and in the Addictions and Community Service Worker Diploma with CDI College and comes with certifications in Trauma Recovery, Grief & Loss Support, Trauma Informed Strategies & Approaches, counselling skills in variety of methods and other certifications in mental health first aid and working with/for Residential School Survivors and their families. Through her own healing journey and path of recovery, Maxine gained awareness of Westernized & Indigenous and Holistic Healing Approaches and understands the importance of land-based healing is crucial to Indigenous Healing.

Rachel Cluderay

| Project Director

Sǫ̀mba K’è, NWT

Rachel was born and raised in Sǫ̀mba K’è (Yellowknife), Denendeh where she still lives today. She is a nêhiyaw-English paddler and land-based learning advocate. In 2019, she completed a Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Entrepreneurship at the University of Victoria. Rachel is a Dechinta alumni where she received a certificate in Community Land-Based Research. Currently, Rachel is working on a Masters of Indigenous Land-Based Education at the University of Saskatchewan where her work focuses on the resurgence of Indigenous canoe practices. Rachel has been delivering land-based programs across the North since 2013. She is passionate about supporting Indigenous peoples to strengthen their connection to the land as she believes it is foundational for the resurgence of Indigenous cultures, languages, and ways of being. However, Rachel has also experienced program participants being in distress, and feeling unprepared to support them. These experiences inspired Rachel to found Supporting Wellbeing.

Our work is guided by the experience, knowledge and expertise of a Steering Committee and Advisory Council.

Supporting Wellbeing (a project of MakeWay Charitable Society) is guided by a volunteer steering committee, which includes land-based leaders from across the NWT. The steering committee is responsible for the overall leadership of the project and provides advice on the development and delivery of curriculum and programming.

Kristen Tanche

| Co-Chair

Łı́ıd́lı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ , NWT

Kristen is a co-chair of the Supporting Wellbeing steering committee. She reviews the finances of the project and helps guide the curriculum development and delivery of the project by sharing her expertise in delivering on the land programs with a Dehcho Dene perspective. Kristen is Łı́ıd́lı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation, Dehcho Dene. She is also of Icelandic and settler Canadian ancestry. Through Dechinta, Kristen attended three semesters of post-secondary land-based education. She then attended Aurora College and graduated with a Social Work Diploma program in Yellowknife. Kristen was previously the Regional On The Land Program Coordinator for Dehcho First Nations and is now the Regional Health & Wellness Coordinator. Kristen lended her expertise to co-organize the Pilot Facilitator Training near Łı́ıd́lı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ in 2022.

Jimmy Ruttan

| Co-Chair

Inuuvik, NWT

Jimmy is a co-founder and steering committee member for Supporting Wellbeing who helps guide the curriculum development and delivery of the project by sharing his expertise in delivering on the land wellness programs through Project Jewel. Jimmy has supported this project by helping organize and deliver the pilot training of Supporting Wellbeing. Jimmy is a settler Canadian who has been living in Inuuvik/Inuvik for over 13 years. He is the Manager of On-the-Land-Wellness Programs at the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, where for 7 years, he has been developing the trauma-informed, land-based health & wellness program, Project Jewel. He has worked as a Youth Outreach & Land Program Coordinator with the Inuvik Justice Committee’s Youth and Family Support program. Jimmy has also worked for the GNWT Department of Justice and the Inuvik Youth Centre Society. Jimmy has a diploma in Community Social Work and is a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor.

Anneka Westergreen

Sǫ̀mba K’è, NWT

Anneka is a SWB steering committee member who helps guide the curriculum development and delivery of the project using her expertise in social work. Anneka is a settler Canadian who was born in Inuuvik and raised in Sǫ̀mba K’è. She's worked as a social worker since 2004 with family services, mental health, school and justice systems, and land-based programming. In 2019, Anneka delivered an Inuuvik healing camp for women experiencing oppression. Anneka sees that mental health is a multi-faceted concept relating to community, sufficient resources, nurturing family and community relationships, connection to culture and land, personal and interpersonal skills in coping with emotions, and interpersonal patterns. Anneka’s passion is supporting northerners, especially Indigenous peoples and communities, in resisting and recovering from systemic injustices and resulting interpersonal difficulties that affect many of our communities and families.

Brenda Ferdinand-Baton

Tthebacha, NWT

Brenda was born and raised in Délı̨nę all her life. She loves the outdoors, especially the annual fish camp at Ohka Bay and Deer Pass Bay. Brenda has a diploma in Management Studies. After she graduated from the program, the program was changed to Business Studies. Brenda has gained employment at the Sahtú Dene Council as Manager of Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ISETS) and as the Executive Director. She still plays both roles in the organization. Brenda wants to be on the steering committee because she wants to learn more and share her experiences in land-based programming and mental health work. Being out on the Land in camps or at her cabin, gives her energy, and reliving her culture gives her peace. There is just something about being out there…

Supporting Wellbeing has an Advisory Council composed of on the land leaders from various regions of the NWT who guide the development and delivery of Supporting Wellbeing curriculum and programming for on the land leaders in the North.

Mandee McDonald

Sǫ̀mba K’è, NWT

Mandee is a hide tanner, workshop facilitator, and a PhD student in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta (UoA) where her work focuses on hide tanning theory, Indigenous governance, and land-based programming. She is a Research Fellow at the Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge at the UoA. She is a co-founder of Dene Nahjo, a Dene innovation collective that fosters Indigenous leadership skills and values through resurgence-based initiatives. As a SWB Advisory Council member, Mandee helps guide the curriculum development and delivery of the project by sharing her expertise and insights on land-based program delivery. Mandee is Maskîkow (Swampy Cree), originally from Mántéwisipihk (Churchill, MB), and a member of York Factory First Nation. She has resided in Sòmba K’è, Denendeh (Yellowknife, NT) for most of her life.

Tammy Steinwand

Behchokǫ̀, NWT

Tammy Steinwand-Deschambeault is a Tłı̨chǫ Citizen from Behchokǫ̀, NT. Tammy graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Bachelor of Education. Tammy taught in Behchokǫ̀ for years before moving to the Culture and Language Coordinator position at Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency. Tammy helped create an immersion program in Behchokǫ̀ that is still running today. Tammy assisted the GNWT with curriculum development of Northern Studies and the Our Languages Curriculum. Tammy is the chair for the NWT Official Languages Board. Presently Tammy is the Department of Culture and Lands Protection Director for the Tłı̨chǫ Government. She holds a master’s degree through the University of Victoria on Indigenous Language Revitalization. As a SWB Advisory Council member, Tammy guides the curriculum development by sharing her expertise and insights on land-based programs, curriculum development, and Tłı̨chǫ way of life.

Tanya Snowshoe

Inuuvik, NWT

Tanya is a young Dene woman who was born and raised in Inuvik. She has strong ties to Fort McPherson and Fort Good Hope where her families reside. She is an intergenerational youth in which her parents attended residential school in Inuvik. Tanya is a Team Lead on the Mental Wellness and Addiction Recovery Group, and is a regular member on the Mental Health Act Review Board. Currently, she is a Speech Language Pathology Assistant at the Inuvik Regional Hospital. In the past, she was the Program Assistant with the Resolution Health Support Program at Gwich'in Tribal Council. Within this position, she accomplished hosting her own Youth Conference focused on Mental Wellness, academic promotion and education on residential schools. She assisted in on-the-land projects by providing families with application support. Although Tanya did not yet complete post secondary, she hopes to one day return and finish her Social Work program. Just recently she achieved 4 years of sobriety from alcohol and although it was not an easy path, she has overcome many trials and situations life presented to her.

Brenda Dragon

Tthebacha, NWT

Brenda Dragon is of Dënësųłinë́/French ancestry growing up in a hunting and trapping family in Fort Smith where she currently resides with her husband. Her background with On the land programming goes back to the 90's when she volunteered as a parent helping to develop the first curricula for Indigenous education with the Yellowknife Public Schools. She went on to deliver on the land camps and various programs for the District for several years. Brenda went to university for Tourism Management at the age of 48, and worked for several more years in the field of Indigenous tourism for the GNWT. She was instrumental in the strategic planning with the supporting belief that Indigenous tourism offers the opportunity for both economic benefit and for the preservation of cultural and traditional skills in Northern ways of life. She currently sits on a national committee for the development of Literacy resources for an education curriculum for Indigenous Youth Mental Health. Brenda is the President and Founder of her own business, Aurora Heat, Inc., a social enterprise producing wild fur products since 2015.

Our approach blends clinically researched practices in mental health group work with Indigenous practices and expertise.