Our advisers

Dr. Cindy Blackstock, OC

Dr. Anita Olsen Harper

Dr. Shelagh Rogers, OC

Dr. Marie Wilson

cindyblackstock-200 Dr. Cindy Blackstock, OC

Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, Professor, McGill University and Director of FNCARES

A member of the Gitksan First Nation, Cindy has 25 years of social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights. As Director of the First Nations Children’s Action Research and Education Service (FNCARES) at the University of Alberta, her research interests are Indigenous theory and the identification and remediation of structural inequalities affecting First Nations children, youth and families.

Her promotion of culturally based and evidence informed solutions has been recognized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Frontline Defenders and many others.

An author of over 50 publications and a widely sought after public speaker, Cindy has collaborated with other Indigenous leaders to assist the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in the development and adoption of a General Comment on the Rights of Indigenous children. She also recently worked with Indigenous young people, UNICEF and the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to produce a youth friendly version of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Cindy is currently completing a Master of Jurisprudence in Children’s Law and Policy at the Loyola University Chicago.

OCDSB_Anita_OlsenHarperDr. Anita Olsen Harper

Dr. Olsen Harper has an undergraduate degree in Education (Adult Education) from the University of Alberta, a graduate degree in Canadian Studies (Heritage Conservation) from Carleton University and a PhD (2011) from the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa. The main focus of her dissertation was the significant role of resilience in addressing anti-violence in Aboriginal communities.

As a member of the Lac Seul First Nation and who speaks the Anishinawbe language, her primary interests are in First Nations education/ training, community-based participatory research; anti-violence in Aboriginal communities; social determinants of health and well-being; Indigenous knowledge translation; health, history, and heritage representation. She was an NEAHR [Network Environments for Aboriginal Health Research] fellowship recipient during her PhD studies and presently sits on the Advisory Board of Unama’ki College of Cape Breton University. She was recently recruited to the Indigenous Health Advisory Committee (IHAC) for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC).

Anita is the lead researcher in a Financial Skills and Literacy project for the National Aboriginal Circle against Family Violence (NACAFV); this work focuses on developing a training curriculum for teaching women who access shelter services. She has spoken to several Parliamentary committees in the areas of education and violence against women and has published articles in various academic journals and books.

Shelagh Rogers, OCDr. Shelagh Rogers, OC

Shelagh Rogers is a veteran broadcast-journalist. Currently, she hosts and co-produces The Next Chapter, the program devoted to Canadian writing on CBC Radio One. As someone with lived experience, she has been a longtime advocate for eliminating the stigma against people with mental illness. Since 2005, she has acted as the National Chair of the Peter Gzowski Initiatives for Adult Literacy. She is also the founding Ambassador-at-Large for the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough.

Ms. Rogers holds honourary doctorates from the University of Western Ontario, Mount Allison University, Memorial University, Nipissing University and Vancouver Island University. She received a Transforming Lives award from the Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in 2008. In 2010, Native Counselling Services of Alberta honoured her for her work in reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada. In June 2011, in Inuvik NWT., she was inducted as an Honourary Witness to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In 2014, she received the Queen’s University Alumni Humanitarian Award. Also in 2014, she was invited to act as witness to The Witness Blanket, a powerful work of art by the Kwaguilth carver Carey Newman.

In September of 2011, she was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her work in promoting Canadian culture, adult literacy, mental health and reconciliation. She is the co-editor of two books: “Speaking My Truth: Reflections on Reconciliation and Residential School” and “Speaking Our Truth: On Reconciliation and the Way Forward”. On January 1, 2015, she became the 11th Chancellor of the University of Victoria.

CMWDr. Marie Wilson

Marie Wilson has more than 30 years of professional experience as an award-winning journalist, trainer, and senior executive manager. She has also been a university lecturer, a high school teacher in Africa, a senior executive manager in both federal and territorial Crown Corporations, and an independent contractor and consultant in journalism, program evaluation, and project management. She has lived, studied and worked in cross-cultural environments for almost forty years, including Europe, Africa, and various parts of Canada.

As a journalist, Ms Wilson worked in print, radio and television as a regional and national reporter, and later as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s senior manager for northern Quebec and the three northern Territories. She was the first television program host of northern Canada’s flagship weekly information program, Focus North. Her reports tackled complex issues, from the Quebec sovereignty referendum and national unity debates to the national Constitutional talks of the 1980’s; from the settlement of historic aboriginal rights agreements to the state of health in First Nations and Inuit communities; from Papal visits to centennial celebrations of the Riel Rebellion.

As a Regional Director for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Ms Wilson was a pioneer. She launched the first Daily Television News service for northern Canada, against a back-drop of four time zones and ten languages: English, French and eight indigenous. She developed the Arctic Winter Games and True North Concert series, to showcase northern performing artists and traditional indigenous sports for audiences across southern Canada. She fought for the recruitment and development of aboriginal staff and their on-air reflection. She acknowledged staff excellence with the CBC North Awards. She acknowledged the community with program initiatives to support and promote literacy.