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Beginning in the 1960’s and continuing on until the 1990’s (in fact some would say to the present day), Métis children were stolen from their parents, taken from their people, and placed with unfamiliar families, in strange homes and communities. Métis parents who sought the whereabouts of their children were often told, not matter what they did, their children would not be returned. This narrative is tragically all too familiar within our Nation and our communities.
And yet, on October 5, 2017 when the Federal Government of Canada announced that it had settled with survivors of the sixties scoop, Métis people were left out of that settlement as if our families, our children, our people, and our Nation have never experienced that devastation.
This past fall, Métis Nation British Columbia started a database of Métis survivors of the sixties scoop. Métis Nation British Columbia is asking Métis survivors of the sixties scoop (those individuals who were taken from their families) to contact us. We would like to understand the scope of the sixties scoop removals. How many Métis people were taken? We would also like to explore the possibility of starting a Métis survivors group to seek justice and to focus on systemic change to the child welfare system in British Columbia.
For questions regarding this article or subject matter, please contact:
Chris Gall, Legal Counsel
Métis Nation British Columbia
Unit #107 - 5668 192nd Street, Surrey BC, V3S 2V7
Empowering Sixties Scoop survivors to heal and connect.
Métis Nation Completes Series of Engagement Sessions after Hearing from Sixties Scoop Survivors in British Columbia
April 29, 2019, Richmond, British Columbia - The Métis National Council wrapped up the last in a series of six engagement sessions across the Métis Homeland that invited Métis survivors of the Sixties Scoop, and their families, to tell their personal stories of being taken from their mothers. The Sixties Scoop was a part policy of provincial governments and social welfare programs across Canada that targeted Métis children for foster care and adoption services between 1951 and 1991. Churches and church-run hospitals were also identified as staging areas for “scooping” Métis children.
Following a National Sixties Scoop Symposium in October 2018, a series of regional engagement sessions began on March 15, 2019, in Swan River, Manitoba followed by sessions in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto and Richmond. The final engagement session was hosted by the Métis Nation British Columbia who supported over 70 Métis in attendance that included Sixties Scoop survivors, their family members, and support staff from the Métis Nation British Columbia and the Métis National Council.
Although the struggles of individual stories are unique, the pattern of being ’scooped’ is universal with loss of identity, lack of connection to family and culture, abuse, and a lifetime of dysfunction, all common affects experienced by Métis who were separated from their family. Some Sixties Scoop survivors at the Richmond session met members of their family for the first time, making a reunion possible after a lifetime of searching for each other.
On day one of the Richmond engagement session, Shannon Marks gave the keynote address. A Sixties Scoop survivor, Shannon shared with others the systemic abuse her family suffered at the hands of the British Columbia Child Welfare system. Shannon and her sister were kept apart from their mother at the same time they were all searching for each other. Her mother, at Shannon’s side throughout the day, spent her adult life, two years after losing her children, looking for her two girls but was denied access to vital information and was refused support from the government only to be turned away and told her children were in better care. She would find out later that Shannon had her name changed at the age of seven and then legally changed at the age of 10 which made it even more difficult for her to find Shannon and her sister. She would also learn that Shannon was abused in her second foster home.
At the engagement session, and referenced throughout all six across the country, survivors told of separations that led to personal struggles over a lifetime. Some survivors came forward and told their stories for the first time, living lives as best as possible as functioning adults but carrying enormous trauma only released through these sessions. It is a first step of healing for many people and families.
As part of five pillars of reconciliation, reclamation of land, culture and kinship were major themes heard from Métis survivors. The five specific pillars are reparations; apologies from provincial and federal governments; commemorations that include remembrance and education; accountability that involves acknowledgement and transparency of mistakes made by policy makers, government officials and law enforcement; and healing of survivors.
Information collected from survivors from the engagement sessions will provide key input and recommendations to the Métis Nation in its efforts to reconcile the injustices suffered by Métis due to the Sixties Scoop. This reconciliation process for Métis Sixties Scoop survivors is independent and separate from any class action litigation claim.
As part of the next steps for all survivors who participated and those yet to be engaged, the Métis Nation will work to ensure survivors have supports as their healing journey continues. The MNC will also continue communications with survivors through a designated Sixties Scoop portal at https://www.sixties.scoop.metisportals.ca/
A final report, “What we Heard’, will be made available in the coming weeks.
We encourage survivors to utilize the counselling services offered to them. For those survivors who have shared their stories and are experiencing depression and or anxiety, for immediate telephone support or to book an in-person counselling session, please call 1-833-638-4720. Please reference ‘1960’ to access services related to the Métis Nation Sixties Scoop.
Print News Release.PDF
For more information:
Manager of Communications & Special Events
Métis Nation BC
604-557-5851 Ext. 8215
Métis Nation Sixties Scoop
MNC launches Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Portal
Winnipeg, MB – This morning at the Manitoba Metis Federation Home Office in Winnipeg, Métis National Council Minister of Social Development, David Chartrand, launched the Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Portal. This new, online platform will support the information needs of the Métis Nation related to the Sixties Scoop. The Portal can be accessed at Sixties.Scoop.Metisportals.CA.
Developed by the Métis National Council with support from the Manitoba Metis Federation, the Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Portal is intended to be the central hub for information, news and events related to the Sixties Scoop for the Métis Nation. The Portal will allow Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Survivors and all Métis Nation Citizens to access up-to-date information that is essential in the development of a Métis Nation Sixties Scoop resolution agreement between the Métis Nation and the Government of Canada.
The “Sixties Scoop” is a term used to describe a child welfare policy, developed and implemented starting as early as 1951, that involved apprehending Indigenous children from their birth families and placing them in middle-class, Euro-Canadian homes hundreds or thousands of miles away from the children’s communities. The Government of Canada and the Métis National Council have agreed to work collaboratively, Nation-to-Nation, to develop a process to address the legacy of the Sixties Scoop. This process will be informed and guided by Métis Survivors. As first steps in this process, the Métis Nation is documenting the stories of Métis Survivors who were taken from their homes and families during the Sixties Scoop and gathering Métis Survivors’ contact information to ensure that the Métis Government can remain in contact with Survivors regarding any new developments and initiatives.
“Reconciliation of our Sixties Scoop Survivors is paramount,” said Chartrand at the launch. “It is our responsibility, as the Métis Government, to right the wrongs that Métis Survivors suffered while enduring this cultural genocide. Going forward, we seek justice. We seek to correct and rectify the legacy of this dark chapter in Canada’s history. We will not fail Métis Survivors.”
"Establishing this portal is an important step in addressing the needs of those who were part of the Sixties Scoop". "Whether you live in British Columbia or in Manitoba or anywhere else in the Métis Nation, if you want to learn more about the Sixties Scoop or connect with Métis survivors of the Sixties Scoop this is the portal to go to". President Morin Dal Col added, “We have more work to do for Métis survivors, but this is a great start."
"The launch of the Métis Nation Sixties Scoop portal is a reflection of the Métis Nation’s commitment to Métis Sixties Scoop Survivors. As the Métis Nation advances on an array of wrongs committed to Métis Nation citizens, let us remind ourselves that our work will never be complete until injustices toward our Survivors are addressed and Métis Nation Survivors are reunited with their families and communities”. ~ MNC President Clément Chartier
For media requests, please contact:
Manager of Communications & Special Events
Métis Nation BC
Phone: (604) 557-5851
Cell: (604) 317-9585
The “Sixties Scoop” was a child welfare policy developed and implemented in 1951’s that involved apprehending First Nations, Métis and Inuit children from their communities and placing them, in most cases, into middle-class Euro-Canadian families. First Nation, Métis and Inuit children were often placed within these homes that were hundreds, or sometimes, thousands of miles away from their families. The intergenerational aftereffects of the Sixties Scoop contribute to the current socioeconomic difficulties facing Métis citizens.
Social workers, administrators, lawyers, government officials, and judges viewed everyday practices of apprehending children from families to be in the best interest of the child. The ideal home that a child should be places in was one that society was familiar with; white middle class homes, in white middle class neighbourhoods. These societal ideals wrongly disparaged Métis customs and traditions. They thought we were poor and they didn’t think we would be good parents. Métis children were apprehended because of the incongruence of these two different worldviews, sometimes at birth, and placed into the care of non-indigenous homes through the Adopt an Indian-Métis program (AIM). The legacy of AIM program is now referred to as the “Sixties Scoop”.
On December 18, 2018, Métis Nation Minister of Social Development, President of the Manitoba Metis Federation, and lead on the Sixties Scoop file, David Chartrand announced the Métis Nation’s support for Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Survivors information needs.
In February 2018, the Ontario court sided with plaintiffs in a Sixties Scoop class action that the federal government was liable for the harm done to Indigenous children who were placed into foster care in non-Aboriginal homes. The experiences of Métis people were ignored. They were completely left out of the federal government’s multimillion-dollar settlement with First Nations and Inuit victims of the Sixties Scoop between 1951 and 1991. The failure of Canada to recognize and honour the experience of Métis survivors of the Sixties Scoop remains an unresolved issue for the Métis Nation
The Métis National Council along with the five Governing Members (Manitoba Metis Federation, Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, Métis Nation of Alberta, Métis Nation British Columbia, and Métis Nation of Ontario) will host a series of consultations with Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Survivors in order to develop a Métis Nation Sixties Scoop framework to be used to negotiate a settlement agreement with Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Survivors.
The Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Survivors Portal allows Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Survivors and Citizens to:
- access Sixties Scoop information on events and activities happening in the Métis Nation;
- add their contact information; and,
- Assist in ability to have their voices heard
- Connecting Survivors in order to offer each other support
- Education and learning for those who don’t
- Directly connect with a Métis Nation Sixties Scoop Advisor