Spirit Bear Day celebrates the implementation of Jordan’s Principle, named after a First Nations child, Jordan River Anderson from Norway House Cree First Nation in Manitoba. Jordan passed away at five years old, never having spent a day in a family home after the province of Manitoba and the Federal government argued over who should pay for his at home expenses.
May 10th is marked as Spirit Bear Day, an important day in the history of implementing Jordan’s Principle at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
Cindy Blackstock serves as executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and has been advocating for children’s welfare rights for over 25 years. Blackstock advocated and pushed for Jordan’s Principle to be a priority in government action.
Accompanying Blackstock at her hearings is a fuzzy companion named “Spirit Bear”, to remind everyone what this case is actually about: the children.
Blackstock created a book entitled, “Spirit Bear and Children Make History”, targeting children grades two to six, helping to educate and create change. The proceeds from this self-published book are donated to children’s reconciliation projects.
“If we can raise a generation of non-Indigenous children- who know about these inequities, who don’t accept these inequities or rationalize these inequities- that creates a better ground for those inequities to end for First Nations’ kids,” Blackstock shared in an interview to APTN.
Spirit Bear represents the 165,000 First Nations children impacted by the First Nations child welfare system. Spirit Bear Day is a day to continue to challenge the child welfare system in Canada, and advocate for change in the inequities First Nations children face in the system.