The Sixties Scoop: the Pay-Off

Amnesty International is partnering with the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network to raise awareness about the Sixties Scoop. We will be advocating for the continued need to connect survivors who were taken with their families and raising awareness about the ongoing human rights fight, the class action lawsuits and the settlement.

From the late 1950’s to the 1980’s, many children were adopted not just out of their Indigenous community, or out of province, but some were sent as far away as Germany, Britain, and Australia. The Provincial, Territorial and Canadian governments gravely violated the rights of these families: to belong to their Indigenous nation, to learn their culture and language, to not be subjected to assimilation, and to not be subjected to genocide.

Colleen Hele-Cardinal, cofounder of the Sixties Scoop Network, writes:

“I had known that eventually we would receive a settlement and had anticipated that I would be happy and maybe even celebrate the win.

Nothing prepared me for the grief that manifested at a cellular level, my body remembering and reliving decades of physical and emotional pain. It was a reminder of what we, as Sixties Scoop survivors, collectively lost – large extended families, our communities, our languages, ceremonies and the knowledge that comes from ancestors who hunted, fished and thrived since time immemorial on their traditional lands. Without forced adoption, I would have grown up with my family and had the support and safety that comes from being part of a family and community experiencing the same struggle to fit into a society that hated the colour of my skin. I would still endure the ignorance and violence that is the fabric of Canadian culture – racism – but I would have been in my community.

That Saturday morning, I woke up to a slew of messages from other survivors and checked my bank account, anticipating the funds that would be deposited. There it was — a lump rose from my stomach to my throat. I could not name this feeling at first, and then the tentacles of anger and grief crept into my heart, coursing through my veins with every single beat. All day, I felt disconnected and weepy.”

To join survivors and call for the federal government to ask for forgiveness for the child welfare policies that led to the Sixties Scoop, please sign the petition.

Learn more about the Sixties Scoop