• Barbara Elk

What is the 60s Scoop?

The term "60s Scoop" was coined by a researcher, Patrick Johnson, who wrote an essay in 1983 on Aboriginal Child Welfare for the Canadian Council on Social Development. Indigenous children have been "taken/stolen" since the 19th century but these actual policies were officially implemented in 1965 and continued well into the 1991.

Think of that for a second. Native children were stolen from their homes in tribal communities by social workers under the Canadian government umbrella.

For many of those taken, including myself, we were old enough to know who our mother and father were, our siblings and relatives. Many of us, including myself, had already established strong connections to family members, grandparents, we had our favorite sibling/best friend and we knew which parent we favored over the other. In my case, my mother was my Universe. My siblings were the shining stars in my world. My father was the strong one, the worker who provided.

The 60s Scoop program allowed Canadian officials to legally split families. They did this atrocity with the mindset that they knew what was best for Native communities and indigenous children:

-D.J. Cameron, Director of Social Services, wrote in 1974:

"In my mind, it makes little difference to a child what culture he is brought up in."

After the children were taken, they were placed in foster homes and childrens' homes with the end result of being adopted out to white families. Ads were placed in newspapers showing each child in their best light so they would hopefully be adopted.

Writing this stirs up anger, memories that are good and bad, pain and loss. So, I'll stop for now.

On my next blog post, I'll share stories I found about other 60s Scoop Survivors.

Thank you for taking the time to read and learn.

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