Max Fineday

Executive Director, Canadian Roots Exchange

Max believes that through educating our generation (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike) surrounding our treaties and the thorough history of colonization, that people are able to walk away with a token of knowledge that can better serve to strengthen their own attitudes but also their organizations at large. Max believes that everyone can benefit by knowing and honouring their unique roles in society and that begins with doing some personal introspection. It is only when an individual is able to attribute personal responsibility and accountability, are they truly able to contribute to broader systems change.

“As Indigenous people, we traditionally had our own distinctive roles in society, as some of us were: medicine people, hunters, gatherers, traditional knowledge keepers, and part of my work now is about allowing us to reconnect with our identities in a meaningful way. I was fortunate enough to be able to grow up on my reserve and have strong ties to my community by learning and practicing my culture through ceremony, by learning my traditional language (Cree) and learning by example through my elders” (Fineday, 2018). Though that may look different in an urban context, Max stresses that part of the growth entails taking personal responsibility where and when you can, by learning your traditional language, by seeking out elders, because if you do not take that initiative for yourself, then nobody will.

Learning Empathy Through Storytelling: A Way to Apply Reconciliation

Max comes from a family of storytellers and provides some insights on how storytelling can have an impact one’s understanding and ability to learn how to empathize with others as he states: “It was through my elders that I was able to learn how to tell stories. We as Indigenous people don’t jump from point a to point b, without having a roundabout way of telling a story. It is through that very roundabout way, that we learn how characters develop, how conflicts emerge, and through the act of active listening that we are able to realize the values a story is trying to convey” (Fineday, 2018).

On his spare time, Max enjoys kicking it with his squad and hosting killer potlucks!

Join Max on his journey though reconciliation!