The Sixties and Seventies Scoop

THE SIXTIES SCOOP

In 1951, the Indian Act was changed so that provincial authorities would be responsible for the welfare of Indian children. This had little effect initially. This can be seen in the British Columbia statistic for 1955 in which 29 of the 3,433 children placed in protective care in the province were Native, less than 1%. Starting in the 1960’s, however, aggressive policies of taking Native children from their families, communities, and from the Native world generally came into play. In British Columbia in 1964, the figure became 1,446 Native children out of a total of 4,228 children, or 34.2%. In his book “Native Children and the Child Welfare System”, writer Patrick Johnston coined the term “Sixties Scoop” to refer to the forced migration of aboriginal children.

The situation was the worst in Manitoba. Between 1971 and 1981, over 3,400 Native children were taken from their homes and removed from their province. More than a thousand of these children were sent to the United States, where there was a demand for children to adopt. American agencies could get $4,000 for every child placed. Native children in the United States had been adopted in a similar way until 1978, when the Indian Child Welfare Act was passed, protecting the children from being taken from their people… There is still no such law in Canada.

In 1982, the Manitoba government finally agreed to impose a moratorium on the export of children outside of the province, the last province to do so. There was an investigation into the practice. Justice Edwin C. Kimelman wrote a report in 1985 entitled ‘No Quiet Place’, based primarily on looking at the 93 children that were “exported” in 1981. He did not mince his words in his conclusions, saying: “Cultural genocide has been taking place in a systematic routine manner. One gets an image of children stacked in foster homes as used cars are stacked on corner lots, just waiting for the right ‘buyer’ to stroll by”. (as reported in Fournier and Crey 1997:88)…

These children have since articulated their sense of loss:

Loss of their cultural identity,

Loss of Country, Loss of a sense of family,

Loss of ability to parent,

Anxiety,

Depression,

Emotional Trauma,

Psychological Trauma,

Personality Change,

Loss of Confidence,

Decreased social ability

Many of us that were adopted outside of Canada require assistance to restart our lives in Canada.

Birth Certificates

Health Cards

Drivers Licence

Citizenship Certificates

Passports

Social Insurance Numbers

Baptism Certificates

Status Cards

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