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Indigenous children’s rights activist receives Winnipeg’s highest honour

Click to play video: 'Indigenous children’s rights activist receives Winnipeg’s highest honour' Indigenous children’s rights activist receives Winnipeg’s highest honour
An unwavering advocate for Indigenous children’s rights received the city’s greatest honour on Tuesday – May 10, 2022

An unwavering advocate for Indigenous children’s rights received the city’s greatest honour on Tuesday.

During a ceremony at City Hall, Dr. Cindy Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, was honoured for her work on the ‘child first’ legal act, Jordan’s Principle.

Read more: Jordan’s Principle order may cost feds $15B in compensation, PBO says

The act is named after Jordan River Anderson, a Manitoban five-year-old boy who died in hospital after multiple levels of government couldn’t decide who’d cover his medical bills.

Jordan’s Principle was implemented May 10, 2016, after the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) found the federal government’s practices to be discriminatory.

Read more: Indigenous families still struggling for equal health care: Jordan’s Principle summit

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May 10 has since become Bear Witness Day, which recognizes and creates awareness about the importance of Jordan’s Principle.

“It’s a really big honour,” said Dr. Blackstock. “This is the city where Jordan River Anderson was in hospital at the Health Sciences Centre, where his family really created the legacy of Jordan’s Principle and it’s been a place of so much advocacy.

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“Coming here on this day and getting the keys to the city on a day that honours Jordan River Anderson the most is such a great way of honouring his spirit and getting the message out.”

Dr. Blackstock has over 30 years of experience working in child welfare and Indigenous children’s rights. She’s also published several books on topics related to reconciliation, Indigenous theory, First Nations child welfare and Human Rights.

Read more: Indigenous families still struggling for equal health care: Jordan’s Principle summit

“When I first created the Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle (MIAC) as a way to help build bridges in our community, I was honoured to have Dr. Blackstock join and provide her insight,” said Mayor Bowman.

“Dr. Blackstock continues to be a caring friend to Winnipeg and she has been generous in sharing her counsel, compassion, and wisdom, as we’ve set out on our Journey of Reconciliation. Today, it is a pleasure to recognize someone who spends so much time working for the benefit of others.”

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Dr. Blackstock said it’s important for Jordan’s Principle to be on everyone’s radars.

“The word is getting out but Canada is still not complying with Jordan’s Principle,” she said. “I do worry that over time, once the public attention dies down, they may start back-slipping, and that’s where everyone should get involved.”

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