Tag Archives: The Sixties

AJE: Canada’s Secret Scoop


n another effort to assimilate aboriginal children into Anglo-society, the Canadian government took thousands of children from their families during the 1960s and adopted them into White families. Producer Chieu Luu went to Winnipeg, Manitoba and spoke to one survivor of the so-called “60’s scoop,” reporter Rob Reynolds voiced the package.

 

The Lost Generation


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’s Story

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’s Story

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.

Anglo-American Worldview

  • 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

Native Worldview

  • 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