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 more than 75 articles 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 fundamental to 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.
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 (she/her) is Michif and a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta. Her family more recently comes from St. Paul, Alberta with ancestry from St. Francois Xavier, Manitoba. She grew up in the Bow Valley of Alberta and moved to Ottawa to pursue an undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa. Brittany is passionate about the role kinship and family plays in the empowerment of Indigenous women and communities. She is dedicated to elevating the stories and contemporary realities of Indigenous peoples through community organizing and creative outlets.
Robin McLeod-Shabogesic, BAYouth and Reconciliation Coordinator
Off to Bearrister school! (Returning Summer 2021)
(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.
Emily Williams, MAEducation and Public Engagement Coordinator
Emily (she/her) is a settler learner and teacher who grew up in the Eastern Townships of Quebec on the unceded territory of the Abenaki peoples and Wabanaki Confederacy. She recently completed her Master of Arts at Carleton University’s School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies. With a background in history education, Emily is passionate about how we can learn from the past to make sense of our present, and create a fairer future. Inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, she believes that learning about Indigenous peoples’ distinct worldviews, lifeways, experiences of, and resistance to colonialism plays an important role in ending colonial violence, and achieving equity and justice for First Nations children, youth, and families. She is honoured and grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the Caring Society’s important work.