Monica Wysotski a Mohawk from Akwesasne introduces the 60’s scoop, in the wake of residential schools. Asking to meet with other First Nations people in Canada who share a similar experience with being taken from their homeland and raised in another culture and another identity. She would like to document on film with willing participants what the 60’s scoop share in common with the abuses and harms of residential schools and create a forum for healing.
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The 60’s and 70’s Scoop was a terrible time and for many of us we are still looking for that place we call ” Home”.
Scott is now Serving time in Angola Prison in the state of Louisiana. He has never met his Canadian Family.
Please click the link at the bottom of this page to help Wilfred Allan Sutherland , Also known as Scott Meyer return home.
HELP CANADIAN 60’s SCOOP VICTIM FIND A HAPPY ENDING…AND A NEW BEGINNING!
For many years, the Canadian government seized babies and children of Aboriginal First Nation tribes, and adopted them out to Canadian and American couples of different races. In the early ’90s, this genocidal endeavor was exposed, though it still occurs. As a result, and with much effort, many of these long-separated families have been reunited, some decades later.
Happy endings? Not always. Relocated children suffer badly, studies have shown. Not only from the way in which they were taken (sometimes literally ripped from their mothers’ arms), but also from loss of identity. As a result, many of them suffer from mental illness or incarceration. The Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, ratified by both The U.S. and Canada in 1983 and enacted in 1985 was successfully utilized to transfer most, jailed in the U.S., home to serve their sentences reunited with their families.
Happy endings? Again, not always. For the Sutherland family of Manitoba, one of their seven seized children remains jailed in Louisiana. [http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Camperville+child+scoop+exposed.-a030590820] Despite four unsuccessful attempts by the Canadians, as specified by the Convention, to have him transferred to a prison near his family, a fifth request is now underway. This man is an accomplished scholar, artist, orator, and musician. The facts of his conviction and the excessive sentence he received (149 years) are questionable, at best.
This petition shall be delivered to the Governor and the Secretary of the Department of Corrections of Louisiana and both shall be asked to please fix this now!
It is my sincere hope to quickly gather enough signatures, from Canada, the U.S., and abroad, to impact the recipients in a way that they shall have no choice but to remedy the situation immediately. I appreciate your help in signing and sharing the word in an effort to achieve this goal as quickly as possible. Thirty-five years is long enough for him to wait to see his family!
Upon successful conclusion of this matter, I am quite sure he will be eloquent in scribing his own thanks to you all.
Therefore, I hereby present this urgent petition for your signature:
Dear Governor Jindal and Secretary LeBlanc:
Fundamental human rights are of concern to peoples of all nations. Thankfully, there are many structures in place to protect them, such as human rights treaties. The success of all human rights treaties in guaranteeing individual human rights, whether at the international or national level, or at the state level here in the United States, depends on familiarity with the treaties and adherence to them by authorities.
The United States is a member of The Council of Europe, and signed its treaty, the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, ratified in 1983. The Convention was specific: its primary intent was to facilitate the social rehabilitation of a prisoner by giving a foreigner convicted of a criminal offence the possibility of serving his or her sentence in his or her own country, which is also likely to be the country into which the prisoner will eventually be re-integrated.
Unfortunately, Governor Jindal and Secretary LeBlanc, there is a case pending in Louisiana for over three years that shows blatant disregard for the Council of Europe’s Treaty. And this despite your vow earlier this year, according to a recent Advocate article [State’s Budget Shortfall May Affect Efforts to Reduce Recidivism, by Michelle Millhollon http://theadvocate.com/news/872921-64/prison-jobs-training-program-faces.html%5D, “to focus more on better preparing offenders to re-enter society, saying that is a cheaper alternative to housing them behind bars if they relapse into crime.”
The Louisiana Department of Corrections estimates that while it costs $19,888 to house a state prisoner for a year, it costs $80,000 to house an ailing inmate. (http://louisianaprisonwatch.blogspot.com/2011/06/louisiana-legislature-votes-to-parole.html) Assume 38-year-old Meyers remains incarcerated at Angola – and healthy – for another 40 years. By releasing him now, you will save Louisiana tax payers close to $800,000!
Canada has been requesting the transfer of Angola inmate Scott Meyers, but the requests have been ignored. Mr. Meyers, born Wilfrid Allan Sutherland in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, was stolen from his mother’s arms at the age of 4 during the Canadian “60s Scoop” effort to eradicate his native Aboriginal First Nation tribe. He was “adopted out” to a New Orleans family, and was raised there, an only child, never forgetting the day he was ripped away. There is no doubt the psychological impact of this horror had a lot to do with the events that led to his incarceration. His family in Canada has been located, and both the family and Mr. Meyers would like him to be transferred to a prison near them to serve out his time, so that he may finally have a chance to meet and get to know the family he lost so long ago.
Former Governor Foster abided fully with the same Council’s tenets back in 2001, signing off on the transfer of Ms. Terese Terre to France. Governor Foster no doubt acted under LA Code of Criminal Procedure, Title XXX, Chapter 1, Article 892.3, which authorizes the governor of Louisiana to act on behalf of the State and to consent to the transfer of such convicted offenders under the provisions of Article IV., Section 5(A) of the Constitution of Louisiana.
We, the signers of this petition, hereby beseech you, Governor Bobby Jindal, and you, Secretary James M. LeBlanc, to immediately, and once and for all, sign off on the International Transfer paperwork required to return Scott Meyers (Mr. Sutherland) to his native homeland.
Excerpts from :
The Lost Generation First Nations Communities & White Middle-Class Adoption by
Debra Henry & Liz Lévesque
The Sixties Scoop-Province of Manitoba
In March of 1982, a Manitoba family court judge named Edwin Kimelman held hearings across Manitoba about the phenomenon of white adoption of Native children from the province. After the hearings concluded, Judge Kimelman made this statement:
“When the Indian residential schools were operating, children were
forcibly removed from their homes for the duration of the
academic year. The children were punished if they used their own
language, sang their own songs or told their own stories. But at
least under that system the children knew who their parents were
and they returned home for the summer months. With the closing
of the residential schools, rather than providing the resources on
reserves to build economic security and providing services to
support responsible parenting, society found it easier and cheaper
to remove the children from their homes and apparently fill the
market demand for children in Eastern Canada and the U.S”11
Kimelman agreed with Native leaders in Manitoba that aboriginal children were the victims of a policy of “wholesale exportation” to other provinces and the U.S. Judge Kimelman reviewed ninety-three cases of adoption and found that no attempt had been made to find Native homes for these aboriginal children. Over a period of twenty years (mid-1960s to early 80s), Manitoba lost about three thousand Native children to white adoption.
The Canadian Council on Social Development in the 1980s concluded that the staff of child welfare agencies tended to be white middle-class people who assumed that low-income Native parents could only provide a less than adequate home for their children. Basically, in the eyes of the child welfare system, the sin of the Native home was poverty.
Stories of Repatriation
Lisa is the daughter of a Métis family that lives in the town of Camperville in northwestern Manitoba. She was born in the town of Winnipegosis and lived with her Métis parents until she was three and a half. She was removed from their home because they were heavy drinkers. No attempt was made to place her with other Métis relatives or within that same Métis community. Instead she was adopted out to a white middle-class couple in Montreal. Her adopted father started to sexually abuse her at the age of eleven. That same year the family moved with Lisa to the U.S. She was removed from the house and put into a series of foster homes after the abuse was reported. By the time she was fifteen she was working as a prostitute, had suffered every kind of STD imaginable, had an alcohol problem and a series of psychological and emotional problems for which she was under a doctor’s care. She was reunited with her family in April of 1985 at the age of sixteen. The reunion with her Métis family was one of “trying to recapture the lost years.” Lisa is still angry at the child welfare officials in Manitoba who “ruined my life and childhood.”*
Cameron was born on the Sioux Valley Indian reserve in southwestern Manitoba. He was removed from his home at the age of eight because his parents were heavy drinkers. At age eleven, the Children’s Aid Society of Western Manitoba sent Cameron to live with a bachelor businessman in Wichita, Kansas (U.S.). Within six months he was running away from this home. A year and a half later the single man adopted Cameron after the Aid Society insisted that there were no local foster homes or adoptive parents. It is unknown whether or how hard the Aid Society looked for local reserve homes. The adoption was a disaster. Cameron continued to run away from this home. At age thirteen he revealed that this man had been sexually abusing him. He would not testify against his adoptive father in court because this man had threatened him with physical violence. Cameron stayed in this home five more years after he had revealed the sexual abuse. At the age of eighteen he left the home but still remained in the city of Wichita. After he turned nineteen, he went on a drinking binge, broke into the home of his adoptive father and beat him to death with a baseball bat. Ironically, he served a fifteen year sentence for this murder in Stoney Mountain Penitentiary north of Winnipeg. His whereabouts today are unknown, but it is assumed that he has returned to the Sioux Valley reserve to try and pick up the pieces of his life.*
*These stories are found in The Dispossessed by Geoffrey York.
Lisa and Cameron’s stories are only a few of the thousands of stories that have yet to be written and published. There are many more adopted children out there with similar stories. We cannot say that all of these adoptions turned out the way that Lisa and Cameron’s did. What we can say is that these stories let the wider North American population know that there are Aboriginal individuals and communities that have been consistently victimized in this way with dehumanizing consequences that include: culture shock, identity crisis, psychiatric problems, prolonged grief, drug and alcohol problems, uncontrollable anger/rage and a myriad of other symptoms resulting from sexual and other kinds of abuse.
- our way is the best way
- the world and various forces (illness/death) can be controlled by human beings
- basic problem is ignorance and the solution is more information (education)
- technology/technique is moving us toward perfection**
- our faith in human ability to correct and control is virtually boundless
- history is evolutionary. We are in a steady movement from inferior societies to our own
- change is better than stability, conquest is better than holding a position, and the new is better than consolidating the old
- our “superior” way of life will be the ascendant way for others
- the good of the individual is more important than the good of the group
- success (material/numerical, etc.) is the goal and failure must be avoided at all costs
- scientists are our new priests and prophets. Science is our true religion. That means that scientific education is the great hope for our nation and the world12
- group has supremacy over the individual; values are learned collectively
- harmony of individual with the tribe
- harmony with the tribe and the land
harmony with the land and the Great Spirit (monotheism
In the early 1980s, following the notorious Sixties Scoop, in which many children were removed from aboriginal families for adoption by non-aboriginal parents, the Manitoba government established a Review Committee on Indian and Métis Adoptions and Placements. Judge Edwin C. Kimelman chaired the Committee. In 1984, “After reviewing the file of every Native child who had been adopted by an out-of-province family in 1981, Judge Kimelman stated: ‘having now completed the review of the files… the Chairman now states unequivocally that cultural genocide has been taking place in a systematic, routine manner’.”
1984 File Review Report of the committee in 1981 over 53% of the children placed outside of the Province of Manitoba were sent to the United States and over 86% of the children placed in care of adopted families and foster homes outside of Manitoba were aboriginal ancestry.
File Review page 51
In No Quiet Place, Kimelman J. describes the Province of Manitoba’s approach to aboriginal child welfare as being a continuation of policies, approach, and attitudes of Indian residential school era stating: “ with the closing of the residential schools, rather than providing the resources on reserves to build ecomonic security and providing the services to support responsible parenting, society found it easier and cheap to remove the children from their homes and apparently fill the market demand for children in Eastern Canada and the United States” (No Quiet Place, page 330)
Chief Judge Edwin C. Kimelman of the Provincial Court, Family Division, to head an inquiry into the child welfare system and how it affected Aboriginal people. In his final report, No Quiet Place, Chief Judge Kimelman concluded that the Aboriginal leaders were right; the child welfare system was guilty of “cultural genocide.
Chief Judge Kimelman advocated a drastic overhaul of the child welfare system in Manitoba. Some of his recommendations included:
• That Aboriginal child and family services agencies be notified whenever an Aboriginal child came into care.
• That policies and standards be implemented that would improve repatriation of Aboriginal children to their own communities and reunify Aboriginal children with their own families.
• That more, and more appropriate, resources be devoted to allow for placement homes in Aboriginal communities.
• That greater support be given to Aboriginal agencies to help them provide services to their off-reserve populations.
• That greater use be made of the extended family.
• That adoption in a non-Aboriginal home be used only as a last resort.
• That cultural awareness training be provided to all those working in Aboriginal communities or with Aboriginal people.
• That there be a more vigorous and stringent court review of cases involving Aboriginal children in care.
• That a program of “affirmative action” hiring be instituted
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!
Administered by the Child Welfare League of America and funded by a federal contract from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Children’s Bureau, the Indian Adoption Project lasted from 1958 through 1967. During an era when matching dominated adoption practice, it placed 395 Native American children from 16 western states with white families in Illinois, Indiana, New York, Massachusetts, Missouri, and other states in the East and Midwest. (Only 14 children were adopted by Southern families and one child was adopted in Puerto Rico.) Approximately fifty public and private adoption agencies cooperated with the project, but the largest number of children were placed by agencies that were leaders in African-American adoptions and services to children of color: Louise Wise Services and Spence-Chapin Adoption Services (both of New York) and the Children’s Bureau of Delaware.
Becuse tribes are legally considered sovereign nations, the incorporation of Indian children into non-Indian families constituted a kind of international as well as trans-racial adoption, paralleling the adoptions of foreign children from Europe and Asia after 1945. The Indian Adoption Project was perhaps the single most important exception to race-matching, an almost universal policy at the time. It aspired to systematically place an entire child population across lines of nation, culture, and race.
The project’s Director, Arnold Lyslo, and many other child welfare leaders viewed the Indian Adoption Project as an example of enlightened adoption practice, made possible by a decrease in the climate of racial prejudice that had formerly prevented the adoption of Native American children. “One can no longer say that the Indian child is the ‘forgotten child’,” Lyslo proudly declared upon the project’s completion. The Adoption Resource Exchange of North America (ARENA), founded in 1966, was the immediate successor to the Indian Adoption Project. ARENA was the first national adoption resource exchange devoted to finding homes for hard-to-place children. It continued the practice of placing Native American children with white adoptive parents for a number of years in the early 1970s.
A significant outcome study of families who adopted through the Indian Adoption Project was conducted from 1960 to 1968 by David Fanshel, a well-known child welfare researcher. Fanshel studied the motivations of parents and the outcomes for children in approximately one-quarter of all the adoptions arranged through the Indian Adoption Project. In Far from the Reservation, Fanshel concluded that the vast majority of children and families had adjusted extremely well, but he also anticipated criticism. “It may be that Indian leaders would rather see their children share the fate of their fellow Indians than lose them in the white world. It is for the Indian people to decide.”
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Native American activists and their allies challenged the idea that the Indian Adoption Project was a triumph for civil rights and equality. They denounced the project as the most recent in a long line of genocidal policies toward native communities and cultures. Tribal advocates worked hard for the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act, which reacted against the Indian Adoption Project by making it extremely difficult for Native American children to be adopted by non-native parents. In June 2001, Child Welfare League Executive Director Shay Bilchik legitimated Native concerns, formally apologizing for the Indian Adoption Project at a meeting of the National Indian Child Welfare Association. He put the Child Welfare League of America on record in support of the Indian Child Welfare Act. “No matter how well intentioned and how squarely in the mainstream this was at the time,” he said, “it was wrong; it was hurtful; and it reflected a kind of bias that surfaces
Good Morning and Welcome to The 60’s and 70’s Scoop. This Blog has been created by The 60’s and 70’s Scoop to bring us together and unite. We have been taken from our homes, families and lost our culture, traditions and our Language but, we have returned! It only takes a few minutes to get to know us and you will realize that we have a voice and a say to what happens to our futures. Together we can do something to make sure our inherit rights are protected and our voices are made clear. It’s time to take back what was stolen from us. Our Pride, Our Dignity, Our Love, Our Families, and Set our Spirits Free! Together we are strong, coming together with one unified voice.
We hope that you will find the information that you need to find out:
Who you are
Why This Happened
We hope that you can reunite with your families and be prepared for what might occur and for those of your returning to Canada we hope that you found enough information to get your life restated. If you have any questions please send me a message.