Visiting Lectureship in Human Rights

November 2, 2022

Cindy Blackstock, PhD

Colonialism entrenched inequality is a lived reality for many Indigenous peoples worldwide. This presentation talks about what colonialism is, how it birthed multi-generational inequality and what can be done, including academically, to achieve justice in change-resistant environments.

About Cindy Blackstock, PhD

About Cindy Blackstock, PhD

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 essential 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. 

Cindy Blackstock, PhD

Membre de la Première Nation Gitxsan, Cindy a l’honneur d'occuper le poste de directrice générale de la Société de soutien à l'enfance et à la famille des Premières Nations et d’être professeure à l'École de service social de l'Université McGill. Elle cumule plus de 30 ans d'expérience dans le domaine de la protection de l'enfance et des droits des enfants autochtones et a publié plus de 75 articles sur des sujets liés à la réconciliation, à la pratique du travail social en milieu autochtone, à la protection de l'enfance des Premières Nations et aux droits humains. Cindy a eu l'honneur de travailler avec ses collègues des Premières Nations pour contester, avec succès, l'iniquité en matière de prestation des services à l'enfance et à la famille au Canada ainsi que le non-respect du Principe de Jordan. Ce litige âprement disputé a donné lieu à la prestation de centaines de milliers de services aux enfants, aux jeunes et aux familles des Premières Nations. 

Elle a récemment siégé à la Pan American Health Commission on Health Equity and Inequity (une commission panaméricaine de la santé sur l'équité et l'iniquité en matière de santé) et croit fondamentalement que l'équité fondée sur la culture est essentielle à une réconciliation significative. Cindy est souvent vue en compagnie de l’ourson Spirit Bear de la Société de soutien, qui se réconcilie avec les enfants en les engageant dans des actions significatives pour mettre en œuvre les appels à l'action de la Commission de vérité et réconciliation (CVR).

About the Lectureship

The University of Alberta Visiting Lectureship in Human Rights is envisioned as one of the preeminent annual events held at the University.

Individuals or organizations that have made outstanding contributions in the field of human rights and human rights protection are invited to deliver a major public lecture in Edmonton. They also participate in other significant events at the University of Alberta, the City of Edmonton and the Province of Alberta during their visit.

The first Lectureship, held in the fall of 1998, coincided with the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights proclamation.

The University of Alberta Visiting Lectureship in Human Rights aims to:

  • Offer the people of the Province of Alberta a significant and educational way of annually celebrating the commitments we undertook as signatories of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.
  • Support and nurture Albertans' continuing interest and illustrious involvement with human rights at home and abroad.
  • Demonstrate the University of Alberta's commitment to helping students and Albertans understand complex human rights issues. This is especially important as the University and its graduates pursue economic, social and political alliances with peoples around the world. In creating these linkages, it is important that we are aware of and sensitive to situations involving the exploitation of others.
  • Serve as an annual reminder to the people of Alberta of the need to protect human rights within our own province.
  • Continue the University of Alberta's tradition of providing a safe environment to discuss controversial and difficult subjects and by doing so, provide students, faculty and staff with the opportunity to learn, question and participate in events shaping the world in which we live.

The University of Alberta invites you to submit nominations for individuals or organizations who would make outstanding lecturers.

We gratefully acknowledge the hard work of the donors and volunteers who help make the Lectureship a success.