Dr. Cindy Blackstock of the First Nations Caring Society of Canada and Leah Gazan of the U of W.
Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, Associate Professor, University of Alberta and Director of FNCARES
A member of the Gitksan First Nation, Cindy has 25 years of social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights. As Director of the First Nations Children’s Action Research and Education Service (FNCARES) at the University of Alberta, her research interests are Indigenous theory and the identification and remediation of structural inequalities affecting First Nations children, youth and families.
Her promotion of culturally based and evidence informed solutions has been recognized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Frontline Defenders and many others.
An author of over 50 publications and a widely sought after public speaker, Cindy has collaborated with other Indigenous leaders to assist the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in the development and adoption of a General Comment on the Rights of Indigenous children. She also recently worked with Indigenous young people, UNICEF and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to produce a youth friendly version of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Cindy is currently completing a Master of Jurisprudence in Children’s Law and Policy at the Loyola University Chicago.
Leah Gazan is a member of Wood Mountain Lakota Nation, located in Treaty number 4 in the Province of Saskatchewan. She is currently teaching in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg. Leah is currently serving a term as the President of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, a non-profit organization committed to providing leadership and support in the area of social planning and socially responsible policy development.
Leah has been a very active participant in social movements for the past couple of decades, most recently as a participant in Idle No More. Leah is also the co-founder of the #WeCare campaign aimed at engaging the broader public to stand in solidarity with Indigenous communities to address the crisis levels of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada. Leah recently participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program with the U.S Consulate and as a presenter at the United Nations about the apprehension of Indigenous children during the 60’s Scoop. Her dedication towards the advancement of community self-sufficiency and self-determination has been the driving force that has guided her career in Winnipeg and First Nations across Canada.
Leah Gazan’s research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.