FNCARES - People

  • Cindy Blackstock, PhD (Social Work)

    Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada

    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 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 for 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.

  • Melisa Brittain


    Research Associate, FNCARES

    Melisa (they/them, she/her) is of Irish, English, and French descent and is currently working and living on Treaty 6 territory in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta). A scholar, filmmaker, and educator, Melisa is committed to learning and raising awareness about ongoing colonialism in Canada and working towards ending inequities and advancing social justice. They earned a PhD in English from the University of Alberta, where they taught courses in Indigenous literatures, gender and sexuality, queer and feminist theory, critical race studies, and academic writing. Melisa uses filmmaking as an extension of critical thought: as a method of exposing normative ideologies, images, and identities, and of documenting and exploring modes of resistance. Their collaboratively-made films have screened at major international festivals, as well as at local activist, arts, and academic events across North America.