Cora Morgan
Cora Morgan.

Respondent Series Talk: Cora Morgan, First Nations Family Advocate on the Current State of Child Welfare in Manitoba

March 8, 2018 – 7pm

Programmed as part of our winter solo exhibition Sweetgrass and Honey by Skeena Reece, Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art is extremely honored to host a Respondent Series talk by First Nations Family Advocate, Cora Morgan on Thursday, March 8, at 7pm.

In 2015, when Morgan began her work as advocate for the newly formed Assembly of Manitoba Chief’s First Nations Family Advocate Office, there were more than 10,000 children in care in Manitoba, with roughly 90 percent of those children being Indigenous. Current numbers are closer to 11,000 and growing. The astonishing rate at which children are being taken from their families is cause for great alarm.

With immediate and urgent links to central themes addressed in Skeena Reece’s exhibition, for her talk, Morgan will speak to the present-day reality of child welfare in Manitoba, as well as make links between contemporary policies and those that formed the Residential School System in Canada, and their intergenerational effects. Morgan will moreover outline ways in which the justice system, and Child and Family Services (CFS) entrench and enable the current conditions. She will speak about her work as First Nations Family Advocate, including the importance of asserting jurisdiction over, and operating outside of the Child Welfare System. With stories and anecdotal evidence, Morgan will move between structural analysis, advocacy initiatives and lived experience to create a multi-faceted picture of what we are facing as a society.

This talk is available in our online video archive.

Cora Morgan is a First Nations mother from Sagkeeng First Nation. Her most cherished role in life is being a mother, and she is very passionate about the well being of children.

Professionally, Morgan is the First Nations Family Advocate for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs First Nations Family Advocate Office, which opened June 1, 2015 and is the first of its kind in Canada. Cora studied Native Studies and Economic Development from the University of Manitoba, and spent much of her career in leadership roles working in Employment Training and Economic Development. Eventually her interests and career choices lead her towards restorative justice, and an eight-year term as Executive Director of Onashowewin Justice Circle. Morgan brings a commitment to understanding the intergenerational effects of residential schools and links to current issues with foster care. Identifying a direct link between the Manitoba Child and Family Services and the justice system is what specifically motivates her in her current role as First Nations Family Advocate.

All public programming is free and open to the public. Everyone welcome!

This talk is programmed in conjunction with Skeena Reece: Sweetgrass and Honey  | January 19 – March 18, 2018.

Upcoming Programs:

Thursday, March 15 | 7pm
Respondent Series Workshop with Artist Ray Fenwick: “Experimental Conversation & Semi-accidental Performance” To register please contact

Part survey, the exhibition Sweetgrass and Honey recontextualizes some of Skeena Reece’s earlier video and photographic projects, within a new body of work that uses Plug In ICA as a place of political address to rewrite and acknowledge how we have come to occupy the land we are on.

Reece is best known for her critically penetrating and humorous performances, in which she portrays a range of personas that are often driven by the potential of a raw exchange with audiences. For Sweetgrass and Honey, she builds on her lexicon of characters at times ramping up the clichés and emboldening stereo-types while sincerely trying to unearth their origins and stonewall their continued perpetuation. From Stockholm Syndrome to Indian Princesses, Reece uses various subjects in building a new lens with which to examine her personal history within a rereading of the displacement and continued disregard of Indigenous people in North America.

For more information on Reece and her exhibition please visit: to access the complete list of works and read the curatorial essay written by Jenifer Papararo.

Plug In ICA extends our gratitude to our artists, generous donors, valued members and dedicated volunteers. With special thanks to our Director’s Circle.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council. We thank the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for their support of our 2016 and 2017 program, as well as Payworks and Wawanesa Insurance for the direct support of our youth programs and the RBC foundation for their support of our 2018 and 2019 Summer Institutes.

Plug In ICA relies on community support to remain free and accessible to all, and enable us to continue to present excellent programs. Please consider becoming a member of Plug In ICA and a donor at or by contacting Angela Forget:

For media inquiries please contact: Sarah Nesbitt at or by telephone at (204) 942-1043.

Related exhibit: 

Skeena Reece: Sweetgrass and Honey