Advocate for Aboriginal Children:As a child in rural, northern BC, Cindy Blackstock came to understand that "there were two things you did not want to be; a Communist, (though I was never sure what that was), or an Indian."
Her mother was of European descent, her father Gitxsan First Nation. "It just felt like the world was a lot colder if you were perceived as being a First Nations person, and that there was a cap on what you could do with your life. "
Blackstock defied those limitations. She is the Executive Director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.
For more than two decades she has been one of the country's most committed activists for First Nations children.
"We have never had more First Nations children in child welfare care than we do at this moment " she says.
"In provinces like Alberta, 65% of the kids in that province are First Nations who are in child welfare care, even though they represent well under 10% of the population. In B.C. 53%. So if you take those two provinces alone, we're talking about 11,000 First Nations children living in foster care," Blackstock says.
"We too often think neglect is a failure of the parents. It assumes you have all the resources to parent and you're just not doing it. Well, there's another form of neglect when you are on a reserve and you have no water, no hydro. You're paying $23.99 for a jar of Cheese Whiz at the store. And you have under-funded child welfare and you have under-funded education. And you're doing what you can as a parent. "
Blackstock has been recognized with many awards, including an Aboriginal Achievement Award for her work.
Watch in interview with Cindy Blackstock.