The University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law conferred an honourary doctorate upon Dr. Cindy Blackstock at its Convocation ceremony on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Calin Rovinescu, Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, delivered the official conferment. Common Law Dean Adam Dodek and Elder Claudette Commanda also took part in the ceremony, with Dean Dodek introducing Dr. Blackstock and Elder Commanda presenting a bundle of sweetgrass to the honouree as a gift.
In addition to the Honourary Doctorate conferred to Dr. Blackstock, Dean Adam Dodek and Civil Law Dean Céline Levesque also presided over a special presentation, inducting Spirit Bear as a mem-BEAR of the Common Law and Civil Law Honour Societies
Congratulations to Dr. Blackstock and Spirit Bear on receiving their honours!
About Cindy Blackstock
A member of the Gitxsan First Nation, Cindy Blackstock is a Professor at the McGill School of Social Work and Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. She has worked in Indigenous children’s rights for over 30 years and is honored to work with others to promote culturally based equity for First Nations children and their families using a combination of public education, engagement and, more recently, litigation.
Although she is probably best known for her work on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s landmark human rights ruling released in 2016 finding Canada’s failures to provide equitable First Nations child welfare services and implement Jordan’s Principle to be discriminatory, her true passion is working with children to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
It is no wonder, then, why there were so many children and teddy bears attending the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearings and sending letters to the government about how they felt First Nations children were being treated.
Cindy is the author of over 60 publications is a prolific public speaker and most recently co-authored a children’s book about the Tribunal called “Spirit Bear and Children Make History.” As Cindy says, “the law is not naturally just. Injustices like residential schools were lawful in their time. True justice only comes when the law is linked with love and compassion and that is what children, and their teddy bears, bring.”