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Cecilia Benoit

  • Fellow 2018
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Professor, Department of Sociology
University of Victoria

    Cecilia Benoit is of Mi’kmaw and French ancestry, from Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland) and a non-status member of the Qalipu First Nation. She is currently a Scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Research (CISUR), research associate of the Centre for Indigenous Research and Community-Led Engagement (CIRCLE), and Professor Emeritus of Sociology. Across her three-decade career, she has been instrumental in making known the indigenous knowledges held by Aboriginal midwives and birthing women in pre-settler and settler communities, and worked diligently in changing medical practices so that Indigenous and non-Indigenous midwives can legally work and their services reimbursed by the public purse. Cecilia’s other research has shed light on the forces that create social inequities for a variety of marginalized groups, all of who are overrepresented by Indigenous peoples, including: women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, street-involved youth in transition to adulthood, pregnant women and their families dealing with poverty, substance use, and other challenges, and people who sell sexual services. Using a community empowerment and transformative learning methodology that honours relational accountability, researcher reflexivity and Indigenous worldviews, she works closely with those in need of services, frontline service providers, and other stakeholders to develop innovative interventions to promote equity, dignity and human rights care for the disadvantaged groups she is privileged to work with. Cecilia has received many accolades, including from the Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Governor General. She has also received the Royal Society of Canada Award in Gender Studies, Community Achievement Award from the Lieutenant Governor of BC, CUFA BC Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award, CIHR Senior Trailblazer Award in Population and Public Health Research, and the Killam Prize in Social Sciences. Cecilia has been recognized for her outstanding service at the national, provincial and municipal levels, including by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health, CIHR Institute of Population & Public Health, Michael Smith Foundation, Social Science and Humanities Council, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.