Shpigaabwikwe N’dizhnikaaz, Maiingun N’dodem, Wiikwemkoong N’doonjibaa, Anishinaabekwe N’dow
Maxine is of the Three Fires and grew up in her home territory of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and later became a wife, Mother, and Grandmother. Maxine is a Traditional Dancer and enjoys leather work (mitts, moccasins, and hats) and beadwork. Maxine’s education includes a Social Service Worker Degree from Seneca College, a 4-year Honours Degree in Sociology from Laurentian University, a Bachelor of Education Degree from Queen’s University and most recently a Master of Social Work Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University (in partnership with Kenjgewin -Teg).
Maxine’s professional experience has been in the field of Indigenous Mental Health for many years in different capacities in her home territory of Wiikwemkoong, in North Bay and with Nipissing First Nation. She began her career at Nadmadwin Clinic as a Mental Health Clinician and eventually became the Clinic Manager providing clinical and community based mental health services. In 2007, a family decision meant moving to North Bay, where She began working at the Ontario Hospital which then became part of the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) in the Regional Aboriginal Mental Health Program, initially as an Outreach Worker and then as a Program Manager. Maxine’s roles at the NBRHC involved supporting and providing Culturally Safe Support to Indigenous people at the hospital, as well as making connections to Indigenous communities across the Northeast Region. Maxine transferred into the Policy Department as the hospital worked toward reviewing, revising, and integrating their policies once amalgamation of the North Bay hospitals began. In 2013, Maxine began work in Nipissing First Nation as a Child and Youth Mental Health Counsellor with Giyak-Moseng – The Right Path Counselling and Prevention Services, a small dedicated, knowledgeable, very skilled and committed multi-disciplinary team. Her role was to provide direct mental health services as well as the inclusion of support and education to not only the children and youth, but also to their families. In 2022, Maxine returned to her home community and accepted employment with the Wikwemikong Board of Education as the Program Manager for the Mino Bimaadiziwin Project. Her role was to create a School Mental Health and Student Success Program for the Board. The Program is now fully functional and is very busy delivering programming year-round within the community. It is a beautiful program that includes Culture as a Foundation for Wellness, Mental Health Programming and Brief Intervention as well as Instrumental Support when required.
Most recently, Maxine joined the First Peoples Wellness Circle team as the Program Manager for Special Projects. This newest employment opportunity provides an opportunity to renew past work relationships and to create new ones and it provides the occasion to apply her skills and knowledge on a larger scale. Maxine is excited for this new challenge and appreciates the opportunity to expand her efforts toward Indigenous Wellness on a National Level.