U of S to pay tribute to Blackstock

SASKATOON - Cindy Blackstock carried the cause of First Nations children's rights all the way to the Federal Court of Appeal in a decade-long legal campaign that culminated in a landmark decision in January by the Canadian Human Rights tribunal.

Blackstock's battle forced the federal government to provide equal funding for child and family services in First Nations communities across the country, but she said there is still plenty of work to be done.

"Although we have had very positive decisions out of the tribunal, the implementation phase is still before us," said Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. "I dream of a day when First Nations children no longer have to spend their childhoods waiting for culturally based equity in child welfare, education, health care and basics like water and housing."

Blackstock, 51, will be recognized as a champion of children's rights when she is awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) at Spring Convocation at TCU Place on June 2.

"Cindy Blackstock is nationally and internationally recognized for her dedication to Indigenous issues, particularly to improving the lives of First Nations children across the country," said U of S President Peter Stoicheff. "We are proud to have the opportunity to celebrate her commitment, courage and conviction, and her many achievements, when she takes part in our spring convocation ceremonies."

Blackstock is a member of the Gitxsan Nation in B.C., an associate professor at the University of Alberta and an accomplished author and keynote speaker. Blackstock holds a bachelor's degree in psychology, a master's degree in management, a master's degree in jurisprudence and a PhD in social work, and appreciates the U of S being a leader amongst post-secondary institutions in implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) calls to action.

"I think it's really critical for the university (to lead the way), particularly given where it is situated in Saskatchewan, and I really view it as a treaty obligation of the university to the First Nations and Métis peoples in Saskatchewan," said Blackstock.

Blackstock will be one of six honourary degree recipients at this year's U of S Spring Convocation ceremonies. For the full schedule, see: https://students.usask.ca/events/spring-convocation.php

 University of Saskatchewan:
Established in 1907, the University of Saskatchewan has a long history of excellence. We are a member of the U15 group of Canada's top research-intensive universities, offering unique facilities such as the Canadian Light Source, VIDO-InterVac and the Global Institute for Water Security. The university is committed to First Nations, Métis and Inuit student success and to welcoming diverse perspectives and ways of knowing, from across Saskatchewan and around the world. Our graduates are known for their work ethic, resourceful nature and determination, and will continue to build on our history of success to address the world's challenges.



For more information, contact:

Jennifer Thoma
Media Relations Specialist
University of Saskatchewan
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