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  • Stacey

The 60s Scoop

The 60s scoop refers to a period of time from 1960 to the mid 1980s where it was common practise to remove Indigenous children from their family without reason.

They were often placed into non-Indigenous homes and adopted out or sold. Many of these children were simply adopted to be house servants and there was little to no oversight of these families. There are many reports of similar treatment to what was experienced in residential schools. Many of these children were never told of their ancestry and thus, became our lost children.

In the 1980s, the child welfare responsibility was handed over to the bands and funded by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), which as a side note, is actually funded by the Indian Trust. This, although good in theory, just allowed the government to wash its hands of the situation.

INAC under funded the on reserve programs and also expected them to follow provincial guidelines for apprehension. Many of the staff were non Indigenous because of the ongoing colonialism limiting access to post secondary education for Indigenous peoples. INAC also only funds status Indigenous peoples, which limits the band’s scope of support — especially when we take into consideration the forced enfranchisement to eliminate status and government responsibility.

Inquiry after inquiry has led to the same findings for Indigenous youth in the child welfare system: unfounded reasons for removal, racism in the system and thus the staff, unmentionable cruel treatment of children in care, and an excessive over representation of Indigenous children in the system. It appears every time the issue is raised publicly, there is just another inquiry and minimal, performative action taken. There is currently a class action lawsuit in the works for all survivors of the 60s scoop.

By calling it the 60s scoop, we are putting the situation into the past and making it a piece of our history. There has been little to no change in the rates of kidnapping of Indigenous youth from their communities; in fact, in some areas, like Manitoba where 94% of the children in care are Indigenous, the abductions are higher than they were in the 60s. The UN considers “forcibly transferring children of the group to another group” genocide. We need to stop sugar coating the reality, creating more inquiries, and turning a blind eye to the ongoing genocide happening in so-called Canada.

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