Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde looks on as First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada's Cindy Blackstock speaks about the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on discrimination against First Nations children in care, during a news conference in Ottawa in January. Darked-haired and intense, Blackstock, dressed in black and wearing dark glasses, is seen in the right of the photo leaning forward and holding a peace of paper in her left hand as he speaks into a microphone. Bellegarde sits behind her, wearing a dress shirt and calm expression on his face.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde looks on as First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada's Cindy Blackstock speaks about the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on discrimination against First Nations children in care, during a news conference in Ottawa in January.
Photo Credit: CP Photo / Adrian Wyld

Advocate admonishes Ottawa for lack of progress on First Nations issues

A leading advocate for First Nations children and their families is admonishing Canada’s federal government about the snail’s pace its taking fixing problems that have festered for too long.

In a speech to the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect on Wednesday in Calgary, Cindy Blackstock said she would like to see a lot less talk and more action by Ottawa.

Cindy Blackstock says too many First Nations children are continuing to fall behind children in the rest of Canada. We see three pre-school girls looking up and grinning widely at the camera.

Cindy Blackstock says too many First Nations children are continuing to fall behind children in the rest of Canada. © cbc.ca

A professor at the School of Social Work at Montreal’s McGill University and executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, Blackstock is especially concerned about Ottawa’s lack of action on implementing a directive by Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal.

In a complaint brought by Blackstock’s organization and the Assembly of First Nations, the Tribunal ruled in January that the federal government discriminates against First Nations children living on reserves because they do not receive the same level of child welfare services provided to children living elsewhere.

But, according to Blackstock, a member of the Gitksan First Nation and a professor in the School of Social Work at Montreal’s McGill University, not a lot is happening.

Progress has been so slow that the Tribunal issued a compliance notice against the federal government in April for failing to implement the January order to begin mending things.

Another compliance order is expected shortly.

RCI spoke by phone with Blackstock at her office at McGill.

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3 comments on “Advocate admonishes Ottawa for lack of progress on First Nations issues
  1. Philip Shupe says:

    I’m thinking a big part of the problem may be that Non-Aboriginals continue to make up the majority who continue to run and profit from our children in care, We need more power over our children & families. even “Delegated” Aboriginal Agencies are mostly run by non-aboriginals…I fought years just to see and spend time with my children and people don’t believe our “very own” agencies are capable of destroying the very families they are funded to support, Well believe it!

  2. Grace Bottle says:

    Not only child services is snail runned, everything to housing, health, education dollars, and employment

  3. Brenda auger says:

    I really expected the liberals to actually do what they said they would do, I hope they don’t disappoint me and my fellow first Nations voters