The Centre for Indigenous Support and Community Engagement team is committed to supporting Indigenous students on campus by providing both academic and cultural programming. We are committed to increasing awareness about the knowledge traditions, cultures, and worldviews of Indigenous peoples through the development and delivery of workshops, training, individual consultations, and resources.

It is said that the longest journey is from the head to the heart and our goal is to serve as Helpers along the way.

Photography by Fangliang Xu

Benny Michaud

Director, Centre for Indigenous Support and Community Engagement

Benny Michaud (she/they/him) is a proud ayahwkew (two-spirit), eagle clan, Michif person. Originally from the Métis community of St. Boniface in Manitoba, she is an alumnus of Carleton and was thrilled to join the Centre for Indigenous Initiatives in 2016. Throughout her career, she has worked to support the needs of Indigenous youth in both the mental health and education sectors. In her current role as Director of the Centre for Indigenous Support and Community Engagement, she works with her team to ensure that Indigenous students have the academic, cultural, and spiritual support necessary to maintain their health and well-being. She also works with the broader Carleton community to create opportunities for learning and dialogue, and to achieve the 41 calls to action released in the Carleton University Strategic Indigenous Initiatives final report.

Theresa Hendricks

Special Projects and Administrative Coordinator

Theresa Hendricks Theresa Hendricks (she/her) is a Métis woman from the Red River Settlement in Manitoba. Theresa officially joined the Centre for Indigenous Support and Community Engagement in 2020 as the Indigenous Special Projects and Administrative Coordinator. Before joining the Centre team, she worked with the provost’s office supporting the work of the Carleton University Strategic Indigenous Initiatives Committee (CUSIIC). Passionate about celebrating and passing on Indigenous traditions and culture, Theresa believes in building and nurturing community relationships.

Vanessa Cyr

Indigenous Academic and Cultural Programs Coordinator

Vanessa Cyr Vanessa Cyr (she/her) is originally from Nipissing First Nation and is the Indigenous Academic and Cultural Programs Coordinator for the Centre for Indigenous Support and Community Engagement. In addition to facilitating and organizing cultural and academic programming for students, Vanessa provides additional support by sharing Indigenous teachings and knowledge. She takes great pride in passing on Indigenous artistic traditions to enhance students’ emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental well-being. Vanessa is here to help connect Indigenous students with the many resources and supports available on campus and within the broader Ottawa community.

Macho/Philip Commonda

Algonquin Community Liaison Officer

Phillip Macho Commanda

Macho Commonda (He/His) is a proud Algonquin member of the Kitigan Zibi First Nation. His Mother is from the Algonquins of Barrier Lake First Nation. Macho grew up in Ottawa and Kitigan Zibi, where he has close ties to both. He recently graduated from Nipissing University with a Science Degree in Environmental Biology and Technology and a diploma in the Environmental Technician Program from Canadore College, this is where he developed a passion for assisting students to strive within their respective programs. Macho joined the Center for Indigenous Support and Community Engagement in August 2020 as the Algonquin Community Liaison Officer where he is tasked with building strong connections between Carleton University and the surrounding Algonquin Communities. Macho’s passion for student success makes him a great addition to the vibrant, creative, and caring team that is the Center for Indigenous Initiatives.

Franco Buscemi

Inuit Community Liaison Officer

Franco Buscemi (he/him) is Inuk from Iqaluit, Nunavut, and is living in Ottawa. As Inuit Community Liaison Officer at the Centre for Indigenous Support and Community Engagement, he works to enhance partnerships with Inuit-led organizations and communities to support Inuit student enrolment and retention at Carleton University.

Staci Loiselle (MATERNITY LEAVE)

Indigenous Cultural Counsellor

Staci (she/her) is Mohawk from Kahnawà:ke, Quebec. She joined the Centre for Indigenous Support and Community Engagement team as the first Indigenous Cultural Counselor in Fall 2019. As a registered psychotherapist, she provides individual counseling and support to Indigenous students, as well as contributes to student programming and community events. Her main goal is to foster a sense of belonging among students and support their personal growth. Staci believes that being successful in university starts with a balanced physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual self. You can connect with Staci during her programming days in the Ojigkwanong Centre or you can call the Centre for Indigenous Initiatives to set up an individual meeting.

Rylee Godin

IESP Specialist and Counsellor

Rylee (she/her) is Métis, originally from Fort Frances, Ontario. Rylee joined the Centre for Indigenous Support and Community Engagement team in July 2020 in the role of Indigenous Cultural Counsellor. As a Registered Psychotherapist, she holds a passionate interest in supporting improved mental well-being and assisting those experiencing challenging times in meeting their individual goals and building healthy futures. Rylee uses an approach to psychotherapy that blends contemporary theories and approaches with Indigenous ways of knowing. In her role, Rylee supports Indigenous student well-being by providing individual counseling, as well as supporting student programming initiatives. To connect with Rylee or to schedule an appointment, please send her an at

Kendra Barberstock (MATERNITY LEAVE)

Academic Advisor

Kendra Barberstock (she/her) is Mi’kmaw, Bobcat Clan, and a proud member of Sipekne’katik First Nation. She joined the Centre for Indigenous Initiatives in 2021 as the Indigenous Student Academic Advisor. Kendra’s career has focused on Indigenous youth and adult engagement across Canada. She has a passion for her culture, the land, and creating art. Kendra also enjoys helping people reach their goals in a way that is unique to them and believes in the strength of an individual’s gifts. Kendra is here to help students choose and navigate various academic programs, assist the Indigenous Enriched Support Program, and support all Indigenous students on their academic journey.

Frankie Lafrance

Academic Advisor

Frankie is a Kanien:ke`haka (Mohawk) woman born and raised in the territory of Akwesasne, Quebec. A social worker by trade, Frankie brings 10+ years of experience working with Indigenous communities in various sectors including healthcare, education, community development, and child welfare. She is a registered member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW), and an alumni of Carleton University’s BSW program. Frankie returns to Carleton to offer support for Indigenous post-secondary students in her role as an Academic Advisor with the Centre for Indigenous Support and Community Engagement.

Lane Bourbonnière

Indigenous Curricula Learning Specialist

Lane Bourbonnière (she/her) is a Métis woman whose ancestry originates from Camperville, Manitoba. She joined the Centre for Indigenous Support and Community Engagement team back in May of 2021. Lane has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights and Social Justice with a minor in Indigenous Studies & History from Carleton University and also a Master of Arts in Political Studies with a concentration in Gender and Politics from Queen’s University. Lane’s Master’s thesis analyzes the gaps in Ontario justice systems (the OPP, the Ontario political parties, and the Ontario courts) for Métis women. She has also worked with the Métis community through her past employment at the Métis Nation of Ontario. Advocating for and supporting brave spaces for students, staff, and faculty is what led Lane to the Centre, and she is happy to be back at CU.

Dr. Barbara Dumont-Hill


BaRrbara Dumont-Hill is Algonquin Anishinabeg from the Kitigan Zibi community in Quebec. She has served as a Knowledge Keeper at Carleton University since 2018. Barbara was a grandmother in the 2015 Walking With Our Sisters installation at the Carleton University Art Gallery. More recently, she traveled across Canada as an advisor with the Canadian Department of Justice to witness the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Inquiry. Barbara’s work has inspired her path to honor and empower Indigenous youth. In June 2023, Barbara received an Honorary Doctorate in Law from Carleton University to recognize her outstanding contributions as an advisor and community volunteer working to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples.