The Caring Society - Staff Information
Andrea Auger, MAReconciliation and Research Manager
Raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Andrea Auger is Ojibwe and a member of the Pays Plat First Nation. She joined the Caring Society in 2008 to work on the Touchstones of Hope. With her background in education, Andrea is passionate about teaching, mentoring, and learning from others, especially children, youth, and Elders. Her main areas of interest include engagement in reconciliation, reconciliation approaches, child and youth engagement, and human rights. She is the proud mother of a beautiful son.
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.
Jennifer King, MSWReconciliation and Policy Coordinator
Please note: Jennifer is away on parental leave.
Anishinaabe from the Wasauksing First Nation, Jennifer 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 is also a sessional instructor in the School of Social Work, University of Victoria, teaching via distance education.
Click here to listen to Jennifer's sample presentation!
Brittany MathewsReconciliation and Research Coordinator
Brittany (she/her) is Michif and a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta with ancestry from St. Francois Xavier, Manitoba and with her family more recently coming from St. Paul, Alberta. 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-ShabogesicYouth and Reconciliation Coordinator
(she/her) - Nishinaabe kwe and Franco-Ontarian from Nipissing First Nation, Robin is currently completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Ottawa, majoring in Indigenous Studies with a minor in Women’s Studies. 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.
Marc St. Dennis, MAEducation and Public Engagement Coordinator
Born in Manitoba and raised in Ontario, Marc is Métis with ancestral roots in the Red River Valley. Marc has a Master’s degree in Indigenous and Canadian Studies and a keen interest in Indigenous knowledge and pedagogy. Marc is an engaging and knowledgeable public speaker and facilitator. He has spoken to people of all ages and backgrounds about the history and contemporary realities of colonization in Canada and the many ways we can all positively impact the lives of Indigenous children, youth, and their families.
Click here to listen to Marc's sample presentation!
Jacquie Surges, BJExecutive and Administrative Assistant
Though Jacquie was born in Bathurst, New Brunswick, she was raised largely in Ontario, in Mississauga then Ottawa. A graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program, she enjoys getting to know people with diverse backgrounds and helping them share their stories. In her time at university, Jacquie was exposed to many differing perspectives on Indigenous reconciliation and the impact of intergenerational trauma on First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, particularly women and children. She’s very grateful to be a part of the Caring Society team!