The newly unveiled Pays Plat First Nation flag. - Photo courtesy of Jesse Achneepineskum
For Immediate Release
Thunder Bay, ON (December 3, 2013) —Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy is calling the lawsuit against the federal government an opportunity for justice and healing for the thousands of Indigenous children who were apprehended by the government and placed with non-Indigenous families by child welfare services over three decades.
“This class action lawsuit being led by a Chief Marcia Brown Martel, a survivor of the 60s Scoop, is an example of the cultural genocide that took place in Canada under the cover of child protection,” said Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy.
With the hearing scheduled for Wednesday December 4, 2013, Chief Marcia Brown Martel of Beaverhouse First Nation reminds Ontario Chiefs to support her ongoing efforts to seek justice for the thousands of men and women that were involved in the infamous 60s Scoop.
“It is imperative for our people, leaders and supporters to attend the upcoming court hearing,” said Chief Brown Martel. “We need to release Canada’s hold on our children. Canada needs to be held accountable for the violations to our 60’s Scoop Children.”
She hopes the court room will be full with First Nations people and other supporters. The 60s Scoop refers to another dark period time period in Canadian history when thousands of First Nation children were apprehended by the province through the Children’s Aid Societies. The children were forcibly removed from their families and communities and were subsequently placed in non-Indigenous homes throughout Canada and internationally.
Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians Deputy Grand Chief Denise Stonefish, Chair of the Chiefs Committee on Social for the Chiefs of Ontario said, “The impact of the 60s Scoop is no different than the impacts of the residential schools. Placing our children in non-Indigenous environments and households was a way for the government to continue with its assimilation policy.”
“First Nations leadership has maintained that they have never given up their jurisdiction over their own children. This lawsuit should include charging the government and their agents with kidnapping,” Deputy Grand Chief Stonefish said.
To ensure that this doesn’t ever occur again, a lawsuit was launched against the federal government for not protecting First Nations children. One of those children was Chief Marcia Brown Martel who first initiated this lawsuit.
In 2009, a lawsuit was filed in Ontario Provincial Court to seek certification for a class action suit against the federal government for the failure to protect the cultural identity rights of Indigenous children. Before the ink was dry, lawyers for the Attorney General of Canada submitted an appeal. The appeal was granted, not based upon the merits of the case, but rather, on a technicality.
The plantiff re-filed the request for a certificate for a class action. In July 2013, the Ontario Supreme Court granted the certification to move forward with the class action suit. Once again, the federal government has appealed. While the government acknowledges the loss of family, language, culture, values and traditions for the individuals, they do not believe that these actions are subject to any punitive actions.
The appeal hearing is scheduled for 10 am on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at Osgoode Hall.
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada.
For more information on the class action lawsuit, go to: http://sixtiesscoopclaim.com/.
For more information, please contact:
Jamie Monastyrski, Communications
Phone: (807) 630-7087 or (416) 709-9466