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In Conversation: Cindy Blackstock with Alanis Obomsawin

In Conversation with: Cindy Blackstock

 Nov 21, 2018 
 5:15PM to 7:00PM

In this candid and personal conversation with acclaimed documentary film director Alanis Obomsawin, Dr. Cindy Blackstock will share her experiences and reflections as Canada’s foremost advocate for First Nations children. Everyone is welcome to attend.

A member of the Gitksan First Nation and Professor of Social Work, Dr. Cindy Blackstock has been called Canada’s ‘relentless moral voice’ for the rights of Indigenous children. She has devoted her life to mobilizing attention and action against the systemic inequalities in public services experienced by First Nations children, youth and families. In this work, she has been remarkably effective; Dr. Blackstock has a rare capacity to weave together community development principles, policy acumen, storytelling and social science research.

Dr. Blackstock was a child protection worker for the B.C. government when she first noticed the funding disparity in welfare services between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. In 2007 the Assembly of First Nations and First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, with Cindy Blackstock’s leadership, filed a complaint under the Canadian Human Rights Act alleging that Canada discriminates against First Nations children by consistently underfunding welfare services on reserves. After many years of struggle and advocacy the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal agreed, and in 2016 ordered the government of Canada to cease its discriminatory conduct.

Dr. Blackstock will be in conversation with one of the most acclaimed Indigenous film directors in the world, Alanis Obomsawin. The Abenaki director has received numerous international honours and her work was showcased in a 2008 retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. In her 2016 film We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice, Obomsawin turned her lens on the landmark discrimination case filed by the Assembly of First Nations and First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and the pivotal role played by Dr. Blackstock in that critical victory.

November 20 is the International Day of the Child. In recognition of this day, Dr. Blackstock invites everyone to support Shannen’s Dream. Shannen Koostachin, a youth education advocate from Attawapiskat First Nation, worked tirelessly to try to convince the federal government to give First Nations children a proper education. Learn more and add your voice.

Presented by School of Social Work, Indigenous Studies Program and The Socrates Project at McMaster University.