The Caring Society - Staff Information
Cindy Blackstock, PhD (Social Work)Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada
A member of the Gitxsan First Nation, Cindy is honoured to serve as the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and a professor at McGill University’s School of Social Work. She has over 30 years of experience working in child welfare and Indigenous children’s rights and has published on topics relating to reconciliation, Indigenous theory, First Nations child welfare and human rights. Cindy was honoured to work with First Nations colleagues on a successful human rights challenge to Canada’s inequitable provision of child and family services and failure to implement Jordan’s Principle. This hard-fought litigation has resulted in hundreds of thousands of services being provided to First Nations children, youth and families.
She recently served on the Pan American Health Commission on Health Equity and Inequity and fundamentally believes that culturally-based equity is essential for meaningful reconciliation. Cindy is frequently sighted in the company of the Caring Society’s reconciliation Am-bear-rister, Spirit Bear, engaging children in meaningful actions to implement the TRC Calls to Action.
Hannah Crawford, MSW, RSWPolicy & Public Education Associate
Hannah Crawford (she/they) is of Scottish and Welsh descent and was raised between Comox, BC and Saskatchewan. With direct ancestry from the original colonizers of Vancouver Island, Hannah believes very strongly in the responsibility settlers hold for truth and reconciliation, and for holding ourselves accountable for previous generations and the privilege that results from their actions. A member of the queer community with over a decade of experience in youth activism as well as many years experience working with First Nations children experiencing crisis, Hannah is passionate about macro based structural interventions and systemic reform. Her interest in the unique and intrinsic rights of children led Hannah to pursue degrees in Global Studies, History and Politics, and Social Work. Her journey with the Caring Society began with an MSW practicum in 2020, and she returned full time in August 2021.
Sarah Fredericks, BAExecutive and Administrative Assistant
Born and raised in rural Nova Scotia, Sarah has always had a passionate nature and deep connection to the landscape that surrounded her. Her need to meet new people and hear their stories transformed into a decade of post-secondary certificates, travel and a degree that not only enabled her to specialize in both science, creative writing and the arts but to also interact with people from all around the world. Though she has always been interested in the welfare of people and animals, it was during this time that she became more aware of the inequalities that Indigenous people have had to and continue to endure. Sarah is extremely grateful to be a part of the Caring Society and hopes to make a difference in people’s lives - no matter how big or small.
Jennifer King, MSWReconciliation and Policy Coordinator
Jennifer King (she/her) is Anishinaabe of mixed descent with family ties to the Wasauksing First Nation. She has been working in areas of research, policy and public engagement in support of Indigenous women and children for over 10 years. Jennifer has a Master’s degree in social work, with a focus on Indigenous methodologies and Indigenous perspectives on policy and practice. She is passionate about the role of critical education and research in promoting justice, equity and meaningful reconciliation in Canada. An experienced presenter and facilitator, Jennifer has authored/co-authored several publications on Indigenous issues and has also worked as a sessional instructor in the School of Social Work, University of Victoria.
Brittany Mathews, BAReconciliation and Research Coordinator
Brittany Mathews (she/her) is Michif and a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta. Her family more recently comes from St. Paul, Alberta with kinship relations from St. Francois Xavier in Manitoba. Brittany is passionate about the role that human rights, most especially the rights of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and youth, play in achieving justice. She believes that this can happen through ensuring an ethical standard of relations between generations of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit and non-Indigenous peoples. Brittany has an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies and a minor in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from the University of Ottawa.
She is honoured to have worked alongside First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth to research and write reports on ethical accountability mechanisms and ethical research requirements when organizations and individuals conduct research with Indigenous youth. In addition, Brittany is dedicated to elevating the collective vitality of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit through community organizing and creative outlets.
Madelaine McCracken, MEdEducation and Public Engagement Coordinator
Madelaine McCracken (She/Her/Elle) is Red River Métis with family ties Chartrand and Bruce families from St. Laurent and Winnipeg, Manitoba (Treaty 1 territory). Madelaine is holding Sylvia Beartrand-Bruce who is a Reconciliation Ambearrister. Sylvia Beartrand-Bruce is named after strong Métis matriarchs and families from Red River. She symbolizes the importance of kinship relationships between First Nations and Métis peoples. Sylvia's Métis Sash was gifted to her with love and care and she wears orange to affirm that Every Child Matters. Sylvia's name was also accepted and blessed by a family membear named Elder Edmee Comstock from the Bruce line. Sylvia loves fashion, supporting people to do the right thing, and chocolate chip banana muffins! Sylvia will help to guide Madelaine to honour the deep responsibility of what it means for her work at the Caring Society to educationally and relationally support First Nations, Métis, and Inuit families, children, youth, and students of all ages.
Madelaine is also a PhD Graduate Student and Curriculum Scholar at the University of Ottawa and will begin her Ph.D. in Education in Fall 2021. Madelaine is always on the journey to offer connections of how Truth and Reconciliation and how First Nations, Métis, and Inuit rights, perspectives, and values can be appropriately represented in curricula expectations, schools, and classrooms across Turtle Island. These understandings, alongside the Touchstones of Hope and Spirit Bear, can help the development of professional learning opportunities and sessions for educators, general learning community members, and organizations working with the Caring Society. She is passionate about supporting community in many ways, all to uplift voices and make differences.
Robin McLeod-Shabogesic, BAReconciliation and Communications Associate
Off to bearrister school - returning Summer 2022!
(she/her; they/them) - Nishinaabe kwe and Franco-Ontarian from Nipissing First Nation, Robin is a recent graduate of the University of Ottawa, with a Honours B.A. with major in Indigenous Studies with a minor in Women and Gender Studies and current J.D. Candidate at the University of Ottawa in the French Common Law Program. She is passionate about education and the role it plays in fostering meaningful reconciliation in Canada. She is dedicated to creating and working on initiatives that educate young people on the inequities that impact First Nations families, and ways that they can respectfully engage in social justice and reconciliation. Robin has been with the Caring Society since early 2017 and is the creator of the annual Spirit Bear's Guide to Reconciliation calendar.
Sunny Mathews, BarkAReconciliation Dog
Sunny Mathews is originally from Tonkawa and Coahuiltecan land (San Antonio, Texas) and moved all the way to unceded Algonquin territory (Ottawa, Ontario) when she adopted her new family. She has a BarkA in more-than-human rights and is passionate about the role that critters and humans can play in reconciliation. Sunny is a much-loved office dog who takes her role of bringing sunshine and friendship to her colleagues and bear friends very seriously. She loves turkey treats, cheese, puppuccinos, and most all, belly rubs!