On October 6, the Canadian government announced a provisional agreement with survivors of a Crown-Indigenous Affairs child welfare policy that resulted in an unknown number of illegal removals and adoptions of First Nations children. Nicknamed “the Sixties Scoop,” the policy replaced the mandatory residential boarding school system as a means of forcibly assimilating Indigenous Canadians. Residential boarding school survivors previously settled a class action lawsuit in 2007.
Fighting back tears, Crown-Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett made the announcement. The settlement worth some Can$800 million (US$600 million) puts an end to years of contentious legal action under the direction of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Minister Bennett said the move will “begin to right the wrong of this dark and painful chapter” caused by forcibly removing Indigenous children from their birth families. The children struggled in white foster homes and white adoptive families, sometimes in other countries.
They have lived their lives not being able to be proud Indigenous people. They have lived their lives not having secure personal cultural identity. That was robbed away. Someone thought that a non-Indigenous family somewhere else in the world was going to do a better job.”
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