This Indigenous child removal system in Canada has been in operation since the 1950s and has created unprecedented Indigenous child overrepresentation in the child welfare system. While five generations of residential schools and disastrous socio-economic conditions often warrant child welfare involvement, the statistics for Indigenous children in care are so disproportionate that we are called to examine key factors that have created and sustain the system. While history provides a contextual frame for these statistics, examining legislation and legal decision-making in Indigenous child welfare cases sheds light on how legal and racial factors contribute to ongoing Indigenous child removals from families and culture. This article is a call for the Indigenous child removal system to be overhauled and suggests that the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission final report can guide us in how that can be achieved.
This study employed a critical narrative approach to examine the experience of Aboriginal Veterans in Canada adopted and/or fostered during the Sixties Scoop. The objectives of this study was to: 1) understand lived experiences of Aboriginal veterans adopted and/or fostered during the Sixties Scoop, 2) investigate health needs articulated by this population, and 3) provide suggestions for the creation of health services to aid Aboriginal veterans adopted and/or fostered during the Sixties Scoop with their health needs. Individual interviews were audio-recorded and conducted with eight participants from across Canada. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using the holistic-content model (Lieblich, Tuval-Mashiach & Zilber, 1998). Data analysis of the interviews uncovered three overarching themes: a) sense of belonging, b) racism: experienced and perceived, and c) resilience: not giving up in the face of adversity. Two main health needs conveyed by the participants included mental health care and support to fight substance abuse. More awareness regarding the historical realities experienced by this population and the impact this may have on their overall health is needed. Increased coordination between Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), Royal Canadian Legion (RCL), National Aboriginal Veterans Association (NAVA), Aboriginal Veteran Autochthones (AVA), and Aboriginal agencies is needed to address the mental health needs experienced by this group of veterans.
A crucial concern regarding the adoption of Indigenous children into “white” families is the separation of the child from her/his Indigenous community and the struggles for the children involved. This paper examines the struggles faced by one Anishinawbe child and his family, the Lees, to come to terms with this dynamic when they adopted him in the early 70s. After the adoption they came to understand themselves as a family that was no longer “white”, one that faced unique challenges as well as opportunities. The initial strategy of the parents was to maintain his contact with the Indigenous community and culture. However, it became apparent that they had to find a way to Indigenize themselves as well. This was accomplished with the assistance of the Indigenous community. This story, unfortunately, does not reflect the majority of transracial adoptions. It is a hopeful one but also raises questions for the role of Indigenous communities, adoptive parents and in particular for policy makers.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report has challenged Canada to alter the relationship with Aboriginal peoples across the country. They have specifically identified child protection as one area that requires a significant reconsideration around how agencies charged with this responsibility interact with Aboriginal people both on and off reserves. The legacy of Residential Schools, the Sixties Scoop and other policies of assimilation and cultural genocide are found in a number of existing social policy and practices, including child protection. This work examines the depth of change that will be needed in child protection methodologies by challenging the current assessment practice which seeks to determine, from a Western child-rearing perspective, if parents are ‘good enough’ to raise their children. The project shows the depth of disparities between present and historical practices and Aboriginal culture, using reference to the Blackfoot Confederacy in southern Alberta. The project draws upon a broad literature review as well as an expert consultation with six traditional Blackfoot Elders.
This article examines two problems faced by the Canadian population: the current conditions of Aboriginal children and the lack of concrete course of action established to improve the dire conditions and lack of access to basic resources. This article proposes that a human rights framework can be utilized to address the disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in Canada. An integrated human rights framework acknowledges the complexity of the relationship between universal, natural and legal rights and provides a system of accountability to track the quality and success of the improvements made by the government of Canada. Due to the complex and systematic nature of the problem, a human rights framework provides a way to supplement the treaties and agreements that the government of Canada has often used as reasons for not taking responsibility. This paper concludes that an integrated human rights framework is an effective way to address the significant gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in terms of access and funding for social, health and educational services.
This article ‘You Don’t Just Get Over What Has Happened to You’: Story Sharing, Reconciliation, and Grandma’s Journey in the Child Welfare System highlights the memories of the strong Anishinaabekwe, or Indigenous women, in my family circle, most notably my grandmother, mother, aunt, and sister. My maternal grandmother, Marie Brunelle, lived through the child welfare system in the late 1940s and became part of what is known today as the “Sixties Scoop.” This article emphasizes the legacies and the intergenerational impacts of the child welfare system in our family through storytelling. By examining our stories of resilience, healing, and reconciliation, we can understand our family’s history, our displacement from Anishinabeg traditional territory, and the strength and resilience of the women in my family.
Anciens numéros de First Peoples Child & Family Review