Emotional and mental health counselling and crisis support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the Hope for Wellness Hotline at 1-855-242-3310 or online at www.hopeforwellness.ca. Counselling is available in English, French, Ojibway, Cree, and Inuktitut, on request.
Calling for an Inquiry!
At a recent Chiefs Summit, SCO passed a resolution regarding a national response to the Sixties Scoop. Currently, there is very little in the way of supports for Sixties Scoop Survivors and their families, but one organization is leading the way in connecting Sixties Scoop survivors to what little resources there are in Manitoba.
Katherine Legrange, director for the 60s Scoop Legacy of Canada – Manitoba region has been vocal on this and working to connect survivors with resources, “We are pleased that the Chiefs of SCO supported our call for a national inquiry into the Sixties Scoop and Indigenous child removal. We still don’t really know how many Indigenous children were taken, where they were taken to, or how many children died while in foster or adoptive homes. An inquiry is necessary to get a full picture of the Sixties Scoop and its long-term effects, and ultimately, to do whatever we can to bring – and keep – our children with their families.”
“Our Survivor-led organization currently provides peer support to other Scoop Survivors/adoptees to reconnect with culture, to share our stories, and to reunite families and bring Survivors home. We’ll continue to bring awareness and education to the Sixties Scoop – we cannot let this be another hidden chapter in Canada’s record of genocide. As an adoptee with ties to O-Chi-Chak-Ko-Sipi and Ebb and Flow, it was especially important to have the support of SCO, and I look forward to working together with Grand Chief Jerry Daniels and his team for Sixties Scoop Survivors/adoptees.”
What is the Sixties Scoop?
Starting in the mid-1950s thousands of First Nations children were apprehended from their families and communities and adopted out to non-Indigenous families, some even adopted outside of Canada. Children were often taken from their families under the assumption that First Nations people were not capable of providing adequately for their children – that we were “unfit” parents in some capacity. This was all part of a deeply racist and colonial system of assimilationist policies. These children were stolen, disconnected from their names, culture, language, and heritage.
The child welfare system during this time was essentially an extension of the Indian Residential School System. Statistics from the Department of Indian Affairs reveal a total of 11,132 status Indian children adopted between the years 1960 and 1990. It is believed, however, that the actual numbers are much higher. While Indian Affairs recorded adoptions of ‘status’ First Nation children, many were not recorded as ‘status’ First Nation in adoption or foster care records. Indeed, many ‘status’ children were not recorded as status after adoption. Of these children who were adopted, 70 per cent were adopted into non-First Nation homes where the breakdown rate for these adoptions was more than 50 per cent. (Sinclair, 2015)
In 1983, researcher Patrick Johnson coined the term “Sixties Scoop” in a report on Aboriginal child welfare commissioned by the Canadian Council on Social Development. Two years later, Justice Edwin Kimelman would release a review of Indigenous child apprehension called No Safe Place: Review Committee on Indian and Métis Adoptions and Placements. After reviewing the file of every First Nation child who had been adopted by an out-of-province family, Judge Kimelman stated: ‘that cultural genocide has been taking place in a systematic, routine manner’. The report was highly critical of what it called “an abysmal lack of sensitivity to children and families.” The Kimelman Report marked the end of the Sixties Scoop era and led to an immediate moratorium on Indigenous adoption in Manitoba, which was followed, albeit informally, in other provinces.
The Sixties Scoop Network
The Sixties Scoop Network has launched an innovative mapping project for survivors. In Our Own Words: Mapping the Sixties Scoop Diaspora is a Geographic Information Mapping platform to help 60’s scoop survivors share their stories, visualize their geographical displacements and to collect data on where survivors were taken from and subsequently displaced. The project is aimed to support survivors in finding and reconnecting with family members and accessing services and support resources.
Sixties Scoop Survivor Colleen Hele-Cardinal spoke with Canadian Geographic about her dream of creating a map that would document the individual displacement stories of the Indigenous children taken away from their families in the mid-20th century. Finally the interactive map is live, with a shocking criss-cross of lines spanning the world.
For more information read the 60s Scoop Map background (PDF) and check out the ‘In Their Own Words: An Interactive Map Shares the Stores of Sixties Scoop Survisors’ Canadian Geographic article.
Petition via Change.org – Demand an Inquiry into the Sixties Scoop