author: taylor balfour | news writer
How far have we come? How much farther do we need to go?
The Sixties Scoop is a tragedy many Canadians have learned about working their first few years of Canadian history education.
Throughout the late 1950s and well into the 1980s, Indigenous children in Canada were torn from their homes and were placed in foster homes to be adopted by predominantly white, European families. The goal of this movement was to further the goal of colonizing First Nations peoples.
The Canadian government announced early in October that they had reached a settlement in attempts to compensate those affected by the Sixties Scoop. The settlement is around $800 million.
Being torn away from families for no wrongdoing takes a toll on children growing up. According to StatsCanada, since the 1960s, “Aboriginal children are more likely than non-Aboriginal children to live with a lone parent,” they claim.
In a survey they conducted in 2011, just over 50 years since the Sixties Scoop, “34 per cent of Aboriginal children aged 14 and under were living with a lone parent.”
The number of non-Aboriginal children living with a lone parent was 17 per cent.
As Canada has moved forward, this Sixties Scoop payout isn’t the only form of reconciliation that Canada has moved forward with.
Since residential schools have left a haunting shadow over Canada’s past, reconciliation has continued to try to repay the children who suffered through the torment.
The Reconciliation Canada website states that they are “leading the way in engaging Canadians in dialogue and transformative experiences that revitalize the relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.”
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released a statement in June 2015 “calling to action” the Government of Canada for continued work of reconciliation that has yet to be done.
Their statement includes “steps to protect child welfare, preserve language and culture, promote legal equity and strengthen information on missing children.”
They also call on demands for education to be improved in reconciliation, not only with Aboriginal students, but also with non-Aboriginal students being taught about Canada’s history.They also wish to “equalize education funding between First Nations children living on and off reserve” and want to “increase access to post-secondary education for Aboriginal youth.”
The official website for the Sixties Scoop Class Action lawsuit claims that this is an action taken from a “lost generation of Indian children” who were robbed of “their cultural identity, family, extended family, community, language, spirituality, traditions and customs of their First Nations’ communities.”
They report that this claim is aimed to hold Canada responsible for their role in allowing such an action to damage a generation of Indigenous children and families.
“Canada turned a blind eye to the protection of the identity of the Indian child when it entered into an agreement leaving these children to be dealt with under Ontario child protection and adoption laws without regard to their cultural identity,” the website claims.
The settlement is one step on a much longer journey toward true reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples.