The 60’s scoop
Karyn Russell May 17th 2011
If one were to walk down any street of Canada and ask them if they knew about an important Canadian historical fact “Do you know what the 60 scoop means? “ The answer would be a resounding “No” that is unless you are First Nations
The 60 scoop era is a very important part of Canada’s unknown and often hidden history that started right after the Residential School era, some say it started even sooner than the 60’s and many say the statistics given about the number of children is far higher than records have ever shown- if there is ever to be true reconciliation and healing there first has to be an acknowledge of a government policy in which children were removed from their homes and communities without warning or consent.
These children were then adopted out or placed into foster care within non-native homes throughout Canada, the United States and even sent as far out as Europe- far from their culture, their spirituality, their traditions, their homelands… even those who grew up just miles away from their place of birth it was like they were in another world- everything they once were was wiped away and replaced with new foreign identities which ultimately lead to a loss of self-identity and a sense of isolation.
Many of us were never taught by our adoptive families, nor by the history classes in our schools that our Aboriginal people have a rich, beautiful and spiritual culture steeped with a deep powerful connection to this land and the creator; instead we were taught all the typical stereotypes and in essence to be prejudice and ashamed against ourselves that is if we ever were told the truth about our heritage…. Many of us were given information that was misleading or simply not true maybe it was an effort to keep us from finding our way home- we may never know the truth on that matter. I often advise people in their search to find the truth out themselves rather than to rely on information given to them in their childhood.
If we just let go for one minute even the concept of race, religion and just think about the human bond between a parent and a child- if we can just think about is what if it were you- what if one day the government came into your home and took your children away- how would you feel, what would you do and how would you survive something so devastating; it is not something any parent, nor child should ever endure yet ours did and yet it is something that is marginalized, ignored and denied.
What the government forgot is you cannot wipe away the color of our skin, nor the beat of our hearts and our spirits will always call us home… and you cannot kill the Indian within.
We are no longer those children lost and confused, beaten and silenced… we are adults who each have our sorrows and childhood grief’s to overcome- we are all stronger than anyone knew that we could be and one way or another we will find our way home again and we will stand proud of who we are.
It is because of technology each of us have come to understand the truth hidden from us for so long and have learned history our people have endured for centuries. It because of technology we are now able to join forces, to extend that hand of healing and the words of encouragement to everyone on that road back to who they once were- we know that we are not alone!