Davida Bentham is a Mennonite and activist from Saskatoon, Treaty 6 territory. She enjoys knitting, shredding the slopes at Lake Louise, and working to build a more progressive society. Davida has been involved in and is passionate about environmental, immigration, and Indigenous rights/reconciliation movements. She has a bachelors degree in Northern Studies and Environmental Assessment, a Masters in Sustainable Environmental Management, and has recently started Law School at the University of Saskatchewan.
Davida has learned much about our planet, and herself, while visiting Norway, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Costa Rica, and others. She believes that not upholding the treaty relationship, inequality, and climate change (to name a few) are hindering our entire community. She also acknowledges, and is inspired by, the work of activists who have come before her, and hopes she can add to their rich contributions.
When Davida isn’t rabble rousing you can find her eating Rollkuchen, thinking about pacifism in the contemporary context, or dreaming of a more utilized public transit system.
Shereen Kukha-Bryson is a person of the prairies and the mountains. Born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – on Treaty 6 territory – she feels most connected to the land when she is under an expansive and expressive sky. She is also, however, rooted within the mountainous home of her father in Iraqi Kurdistan, a place rich with family narratives and histories. Her Saskatchewan-Kurdish experiences have greatly shaped her engagement in diverse cultural world views and have kindled her passion for learning more about multi-vocal cultural relationships.
With the support and teachings from a number of mentors, Shereen is currently working in school gardening initiatives, which explore cultural relationships and food security. Children's and youth's enthusiasm for and knowledge of engaging with plants greatly inspires and energizes Shereen. She hopes to continue co-creating learning gardens, which are culturally inclusive, with educators and young people across her communities.
When Shereen is not walking with a jaunty step in minus-30 weather, she can be found drinking gallons of coffee or poring over fantasy novels with great gusto. She is very honoured to participate in the 2015-2016 Next Up program!
Caitlin is a Registered Dietitian, having graduated from the U of S Nutrition program with Distinction in 2015. During her time in school Caitlin found her passion was in the Social Determinants of Health. She was drawn to the areas of nutrition in which food intersects with social justice, particularly food security and body positivity/Health At Every Size. She sees that these issues are part of broader problems in our society, and wants to work to make change at the root. She is grateful to be part of Next Up, so she can further her understanding of various social and environmental issues, and develop skills to help her create positive change.
Caitlin has a strong interest in research, policy development, and best practice. She currently supports research in the U of S Nutrition Division as well as with Healthy Start, a provincial health promotion initiative. She also takes on contract work in the community providing nutrition education and cooking classes for various local organizations.
Leigh is a very-outgoing Two-Spirit, Nehiyaw-Metis from Chitek Lake Indian Reserve, SK-Treaty 6 territory and Metis homeland. He has lived across Canada from Victoria, B.C to Halifax, N.S.
In Leigh’s life, he’s always been fighting to address mental health issues & has co-led numerous Youth-lead Initiatives in his community, addressing issues around Suicide and Preservation of Culture. Proud of his Aboriginal heritages, he’s a carrier of TEK (Traditional Ecological Knowledge), which he loves sharing. For the past few years he’s been working with youth and addressing Indigenous issues around language retention and reconnecting people back to the land.
In addition to his job as a P/T Naval Combat Information Operator within the Canadian Armed Forces, he is in his 3rd Year at the University of Saskatchewan in the Regional and Urban Planning Program. He is an active human in his community of Saskatoon as a Peer Health Educator through “Healing Our Nations” and as a volunteer at the University of Saskatchewan Student Union’s Pride Centre. His goal in life is simply to help people and lead by positive example.
Kaytee Edwards Buhler is prairie born and raised and currently resides on a farm in Osler, Saskatchewan with her partner Chris. Her passions include working for wholeness in her community, refugee issues, food security and the rights of children and youth. Her post-secondary studies were in International Development and Religious Traditions. She currently works for an Anabaptist NGO in Saskatoon where she is given opportunity to pursue justice through programs that work with international young adults and newcomer and indigenous children and youth.
Nothing makes her happier than being with friends around a dinner table and hanging out with the awesome kids she works with.
To her one of the most important things in life is community, a place to belong and find support and healing. She hopes the Next Up community can become another place where she and the other members find encouragement and support in their pursuit of making the world a better place.
Justin was born and raised in Saskatoon and identifies deeply with the Saskatchewan landscape. However, he has in the past attempted to escape, and succeeded in living abroad for a couple of years as he attended graduate school in London. There he was absorbed by a lively and diverse activist culture and became involved in a number of environmentally-focused initiatives, including helping to run a local fossil fuel divestment campaign. He was super pleased upon returning to Saskatoon to realize that such a culture existed at home as well! Justin has long been concerned about climate change and is increasingly passionate about examining and addressing the intersection of social and environmental justice issues. He also loves people, places, cooking, history, cycling and playing sports. He’s an unimpressive but enthusiastic outdoors person and especially loves hiking through wilderness.
Hanah, originally from Regina, moved to Saskatoon in 2013 after travelling in New Zealand and spending time in Vancouver studying yoga. Around this time, her deep interest in social activism sparked. She currently studies Social Work and has a personal interest in the de-stigmatization of addictions and mental illness. Hanah hopes to blend the holistic healing of yoga and the compassionate social work profession into a sustainable life that supports others’ empowerment and self-determination. She is especially interested in learning from Indigenous elders and other community members how her yoga teachings can relate to Indigenous spirituality and sovereignty. Hanah is committed to building bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and continues to grow on her journey as an ally. For fun, she loves to play outdoors, write poetry, dance, and sing with anyone who will join her.
Kristen was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and is a member of One Arrow First Nation. Kristen learned the value of hard work early on in her young life, and has always had a thirst for knowledge. Kristen has won several awards and one scholarship during her journey through academia. This journey continues Fall 2015, when Kristen returns to the University of Saskatchewan after an extended absence; she originally planned to study Biology, but has now shifted her focus to Sociology and Aboriginal Justice. Kristen was once the youngest of 5 siblings, but tragically lost 3 of her siblings, David, Kevin and Angie. Her surviving sister, Kathy, lives in One Arrow, as does her mother, Toni. Kristen searched for an outlet to express her grief, and found it through artistic ventures, such as songwriting, learning guitar and creating unique artwork.
Denae Stegeman is an artist, a marginal feminist, an educator, a partner, an aunt, and a collector of bone China teacups. Born and raised outside Melfort Saskatchewan, Denae now lives in Saskatoon where she works as a substitute teacher for the Saskatoon Public School Division. She is someone who is continually challenging friends, family and her students to become more aware of inequality and discrimination – our personal role in it, as well as our ability to recognize and be critical of its systemic and institutional forms.
Stephen spends most of his time staring at and interacting with a variety of glowing rectangles. He’s worked on the organizing teams behind the 2012 and 2015 Canadian Festivals of Spoken Word, TEDxUofS, and served for six years as a board member for Saskatoon’s spoken word series Tonight it’s Poetry. He also serves as a board member of Live Five Independent Theatre, makes pretty decent pizza, writes when he can, and hosts a weekly radio show every Thursday on CFCR 90.5 FM. He works in marketing with a background in graphic design, photography/videography, painting and traditional media. He is the proud father of a disobedient cat.