Aboriginal-Rights Champion Cindy Blackstock Awarded Atkinson Fellowship

TORONTO, Nov. 23 /CNW/ - Cindy Blackstock has been awarded the Atkinson Foundation's Economic Justice Fellowship. The three-year Fellowship will provide $100,000 annually for Ms. Blackstock's advocacy on behalf of First Nations children and communities.

"With every generation comes an opportunity to create a better world. But First Nations children are debilitated by funding inequalities in education and child welfare. We can correct past mistakes by giving this generation a real opportunity to understand their place in the world differently and to succeed," said Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations child and Family Service Caring Society of Canada.

Ms. Blackstock is one of Canada's leading and most passionate spokespersons for the promotion and strengthening of First Nations cultures, knowledge and rights. A member of the Gitksan First Nation, she has worked in the field of child and family services for over 20 years.

"The foundation was inspired by Cindy Blackstock's authoritative, passionate and relentless pursuit of justice for First Nations. We believe that our support will go a long way towards educating ordinary Canadians, decision makers and influencers, on the importance of these issues and the possibility for change," said Peter Armstrong, President of the Board of Trustees of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation.

The announcement took place during the launch of a new photography exhibition entitled "Caring Across Boundaries." Curated by Ms. Blackstock, with photographs by Liam Sharp, it documents the hopes and dreams of three First Nations communities and runs at First Canadian Place in Toronto November 23-27.

"This Fellowship addresses issues of utmost importance not only to First Nations, but to all of us as compassionate Canadians, as Canadians committed to justice, and as Canadians who understand the critical role of Aboriginal people to our future prosperity. It's time to turn a page and commit to a better future for everyone," said Charles Pascal, Executive Director of the Atkinson Foundation.

Fellowships support social change leaders to think and act for a more just future for all Canadians. Previous winners include progressive economist Armine Yalnizyan, former premier Roy Romanow, housing activist Cathy Crowe, and immigrant rights advocate Uzma Shakir.

The Atkinson Charitable Foundation, a private Canadian foundation established in 1942, seeks to promote social and economic justice in the tradition of its founder, former Star Publisher Joseph E. Atkinson.

SOURCE Atkinson Charitable Foundation

For further information: For further information: Pedro Barata, Atkinson Foundation, (416) 302-7524

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