Meet the Team

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Thomasina Phillips - Interim Manager

Thomasina Phillips is Kanien'kehá:ka, a member of the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawà:ke, where she was born and raised. She has been working and residing in Tio'tia:ke (Montreal) for the past several years. She began her journey at McGill as a graduate of the Master of Social Work program in the School of Social Work and is licensed by the Ordre des travaillers sociaux et des therapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Quebec to practice. After working in a domestic violence rehabilitative setting with couples and individuals, she took the position of Indigenous Case Manager at the Wellness Hub, formally McGill Counselling Services. In her role as a mental health worker, she works with student services leadership, clinicians, and students to deliver appropriate care to McGill’s Indigenous student population, and promote the healthy development of students by fostering and building networks and relationships within and external to McGill’s support services. She offers one on one services to Indigenous and non-Indigenous students as well as occasional group supports. She holds an award from the School of Social Work for excellence in clinical practice. She brings with her to her new role a solid professional foundation and a strong sense of meaning and purpose in her work.

Thomasina keeps ties to her family circle and larger community in Kahnawà:ke. She has spent many years developing and practicing traditional skills such as raised-style Iroquois beadwork, moccasin making, parfleche, leatherwork, and fan making. She has been designing and making contemporary pow-wow style regalia for the past 5 years. She began dancing jingle with her young daughter as part of her personal wellness journey and as a means of honoring her value of helping others through the healing power of dance.

As Interim Manager at First Peoples House, she aims to foster a sense of connectedness and belonging for McGill’s Indigenous student population, particularly during this COVID era. If students cannot be on campus, her goal, along with the rest of the First Peoples House team, is to bring the best of the McGill experience to Indigenous folks in their homes and communities. She aims to provide students with opportunities for social connection and cultural activities. She will continue to provide mental health support to Indigenous students. Her goal during this pandemic era is for First Peoples House to be responsive to the unique needs and challenges of students.


Dana-Marie Williams - Administrative Coordinator

Dana graduated from Dawson College in 2006 with a DEC in Office Systems Technology. Born and raised in Montreal, she is half Mi’gmaq from Listuguj and half Pottawatami from Moose Deer Point, Ontario, but she grew up in Kahnawà:ke. As Administrative Coordinator of the First Peoples’ House, her job is to handle day-to-day activities such as IT and payroll, as well as keeping the House and its’ events running smoothly by taking care of the administrative tasks.




Terry Young - Indigenous Student Advisor (on developmental leave)

Terry Young is Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet). He hails from Kingsclear First Nation located in New Brunswick. For the last 15 years, he’s resided on the Kahnawà:ke Territory of Tio'tia:ke (Montreal) with his husband Justin Mahoney. Young holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from St. Thomas University, with a double major in Native Studies and Anthropology. He’s also received formal training on Community Planning and Development from Dalhousie University.

Both a pipe carrier for his people and a carrier of traditional Wolastoqew songs, Young has participated for many years in ceremonies with various Nations from all over Turtle Island. He is also a traditional ash basket maker, a craft he’s honed for more than 20 years.

With a strong background in Health and Social Services in First Nations communities and 10 years’ experience in Program Management and development, Young comes with strong facilitation knowledge. That knowledge has allowed him to work as an independent consultant, providing culturally based trainings on traditional healing practices and on incorporating indigenous processes within Community Strategic planning and development.

Terry is the Indigenous Student Advisor, whereby his role is to help Indigenous students at McGill access Student Services and to navigate the student academic support system by acting as a guide to appropriate resources that best suit their needs. Terry is committed to helping provide a safe and welcoming environment for students, where they can seek out services and supports that are relevant and knowledgeable for them.


Mike Loft - Sr. Advisor - Indigenous Students

Please join us in welcoming a new presence at First Peoples' House, Michael Loft! He will join us one day a week, on Thursday (9h-17h), to meet with students and offer guidance on several aspects of student life: academic matters, navigating the institution, personal support and information, and guiding students through various concerns and opportunities that arise.

Need to talk something through with someone who knows the institution and has a wealth of lived experience of being an Indigenous student and faculty member? You can schedule a time to speak virtually with Michael by contacting dana-marie.williams [at] (subject: Mike%20Loft) (Dana-Marie Williams).

Michael is a member of the Mohawk community at Kahnawake and has twenty years of experience in Youth Protection and private practice. He began his career at McGill University shortly after graduating with a Master of Social Work degree in 2007. Michael has taught the following courses at the School of Social Work: First Peoples' Issues and Social Work, as well as Indigenous Field Studies from 2007 until his retirement in 2016. During this time, he was also a part of the Indigenous Access McGill, a support program for Indigenous social work students.

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