L-R: Julia Candlish, Regional Chief Beardy, Sally Hare
Charting Our Own Path: Education Symposium
The Sixties Scoop is a term that refers to the Canadian practice of fostering or adopting out First Nations children at high rates into non-Indigenous families between the 1960s to the late 1980s. It has been estimated that 16,000 Indigenous children were a part of the Sixties Scoop, who as a result, experienced a loss of cultural identity, their families, histories, and status. The assimilationist practice was noted to have formally ended in the 1980s.
Marcia Brown and Robert Commanda have put forward a class action lawsuit against Canada on behalf of themselves and possibly 16,000 other Indigenous persons who were a part of the Scoop, charging that the loss of cultural identity caused significant suffering. The case has been stalled for a year after it was certified by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice because Ottawa appealed the lawsuit. The appeal hearing took place in a Toronto courtroom on October 28, 2011.
The Chiefs of Ontario affirmed their support for the Sixties Scoop litigation in 2008 through Resolution 08/92. The resolution states that, “adopting out of First Nations children is a continuation of assimilation policies handed down by the provincial and federal governments of Canada. These government policies have devastated First Nations families, children and culture. First Nations continue to be tragically affected by the “adopting out” of their children, as evidenced by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada statistics from 1996 whereby 16,810 Treaty status children were adopted out to predominantly non-native families across Canada, the United States, and Europe. The long term effects of the Sixties Scoop continue to be felt in every First Nation community across Canada as parents and children continue to deal with the devastating effects of lost relatives. The federal and provincial governments are responsible for the intentional and systematic destruction of First Nation families and communities through assimilation policies and actions...”
Article 7 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that "Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including forcibly removing children of the group to another group.”
The purpose of the Sixties Scoop website is to notify individuals directly or indirectly affected by the Sixties Scoop that they may register and possibly join in the class action lawsuit. http://www.sixtiesscoopclaim.ca/