Meet Our Team
Natasha Lariviere - CEO & Founder of Endaayaan Awejaa
Aaniin. Boozhoo. Emski Misgokwe ndizhnikaaz. Nbisiing ndoonjibaa. Waawaashkesh ndoodem.
My name is Natasha Lariviere. Also my spirit name is Strong Earth Woman. I am from Nbisiing Aka Nipissing First Nation. I am part of the deer clan.
I have always had a passion for working with youth since I was a teenager. I was always a part of the youth group at the North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre growing up. I then started attending high school at Nbisiing Secondary. They helped me learn about my culture and passion for helping others. After I graduated from there I attended the Indigenous Wellness Addiction Prevention program in 2011. I then also graduated from Canadore College in 2015 receiving my diploma in Office Administration. I am a recent graduate of the Social Service Worker program at George Brown College. I am currently working towards my Bachelor's Degree in Indigenous Social Work.
I am the CEO and Founder of Endaayaan Awejaa. I started this organization in memory of all my ancestors, my loved ones who have passed on, and for future generations. I also wanted to help our younger generation have a chance at a good life. Life isn't always easy and there can be a lot of obstacles. Growing up in North Bay and Nipissing First Nation I have met a lot of youth that have relocated for their education. A lot of them were youth and were living with family or on their own. I felt that sometimes our youth get overlooked when it comes to housing supports and mental health issues. My hopes are to open a youth home in the future for those who may need a home, want support to start living on their own and learn more about their passion and culture.
I love meeting new people and learning their stories. I hope through our organization to meet a lot more of our younger generation and start helping them work towards their dreams.
Michael Jukes-Bedard - Chief Operating Officer
Mike (He/Him pronouns) is originally from North Bay, Ontario. His ancestry is predominantly Hungarian. As a member of the 2SLGBTQ+ Community, he has always been committed to improving the lives of all minorities. Mike has been actively involved in the Indigenous community since 2013. He began as a volunteer with Endaayaan Awejaa in 2020 and is now working full-time to ensure there are enough resources available for his community to conquer and remain resilient.
He strongly believes in Indigenous sovereignty and allyship. He sees the world in a spiritual and holistic lens and believes the way forward is together. Mike is also proud to help make his community and surrounding area a better place for all to live and have access to the appropriate mental health services. After his own experience in Toronto's shelter system from 2015-2017 and losing a number of family members to poor mental health over the last few years, Michael realized his true passion is to help people persevere and let people know they're worth more than what they've been told. He was able to relocate back to North Bay in an official capacity in 2022 so that he may assist youth and build upon the dream of opening up a home
His training in media relations and arts administration has led him down a very meaningful and fulfilling career path which he hopes will continue adding positive influence to Endaayaan. He is currently studying Mental Health & Addiction at Canadore College. Mike enjoys spending time with his chosen family, playing video games, an avid binge-TV watcher of many series, Marvel, hiking and has the most adorable Siberian Husky in all of North Bay.
Karyssa St. George - Youth Outreach Coordinator
Tansi, my name is Karyssa St. George (pronouns She/Her).
I am the Youth Outreach Coordinator at Endaayaan Awejaa. I’m originally from St. Albert, Alberta, however, I grew up mostly in the Fraser Valley area of British Columbia. I moved to the Nipissing area in my later teenage years. I am Beaver and Plains Cree from Horse Lake First Nation.
I am the daughter of a 60’s scoop survivor. As a child, my mother did her best to reconnect us to our culture. During my adolescence, I lost my way, I struggled with many adversities. I never understood the importance of the connection to my culture until I had my own children. When I became a mom at a young age, I made a promise to my child/children, myself, future generations and my ancestors that I would break unhealthy cycles and start my healing journey. I started taking care of my physical, mental, and spiritual well being. Many of us struggle and lose our way. I truly believe that it is never too late to seek help and make positive changes in our lives. Now that I am in a better way and learning how to take part in a healthy lifestyle, I would like to help support others in my community to do the same.
Jane Collins - Consultant & Volunteer
My name is Jane Collins. I am a mum to many children. I was born in Australia and moved to Canada in 1996.
After moving to Canada, I had the privilege of caring for many children through the foster care System.
This was an amazing, loving and extremely educating time in my life, this gave me the opportunity to bond with many families, some of whom I am still very close with.
My youngest children and I moved to North Bay in 2009. At that time I was working with a group of holistic practitioners. I have studied both Quantum Touch and Theta Healing and very much enjoy being able to offer people the opportunity to receive help and clarity through these healing modalities.
In 2012, I was able to buy a beautiful property in Astorville, with the dream of having a retreat, offering one on one treatments and workshops. In 2013, I began working with K’tigaaning Midwives, firstly in Powassan and then in 2016, we moved to Nipissing First Nation. I have the privilege of helping babies into this world and getting to know pregnant people during such a life changing experience. I treasure meeting new people and value greatly the chances to learn from one another.
Nikki Jo Mattinas - Facilitator
I’m Nikki Jo Mattinas and I am from Constance Lake First Nation but was raised in North Bay. I have struggled with addiction my whole life and I am 2 years clean. I am a mother to my beautiful daughter.
I live a traditional lifestyle and work a recovery based program and I am a Advocate for Mental Health and Addiction.
I used to live on the street in my community, homeless, and addicted to IV drugs. Recently, I went to get treatment at a center for those dealing with trauma and addiction. The centers treatment aided me with my recovery journey. When I got clean, I grasped the First Nation culture greatly, and its traditional ways; getting back to having a balanced life. I am an artist and I always enjoyed painting, drawing and sketching. It was a way to help me heal and connect to myself.
Breaking the cycle of trauma is important to me in my family. I pray for suffering addicts. I pray for families who lost loved ones due to addictions. I pray for guidance on my journey and the path I’m walking on. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to touch people’s lives with hope that we can and do recover.
Miigwetch (Thank you)