’60s Scoop: Aboriginal adoptees sue Ottawa for loss of culture, emotional trauma

Aboriginals who were adopted into white families during the so-called ’60s Scoop are suing the federal government for their loss of culture and emotional trauma.

Aboriginals who were adopted into white families during the so-called ’60s Scoop are suing the federal government for their loss of culture and emotional trauma.

Almost 1,200 adoptees have filed a class-action lawsuit in Saskatchewan seeking compensation from Ottawa for “cultural genocide.”

From the 1960s to the 1980s, thousands of aboriginal children were taken from their homes by child-welfare services and placed with non-aboriginal families, some in the United States. Many consider the adoptions as an extension of residential schools, which aimed to “take the Indian out of the child.”

David Chartrand, who joined the lawsuit, was taken from his Manitoba family at the age of five and moved to Minnesota.

“They wanted maids, butlers. They wanted slavery and to do it legally. We just fit that criteria,” said the 52-year-old Metis man. “I was made to clean the house, be their slave, be the punching bag.”

Chartrand said Canada had a duty to protect him and others like him. Although he returned to his home community of Camperville, Man., in his 20s, he lost everything, he said.

“I lost my life, my childhood.” he said. “We want to put it behind us so we can move on.”

The lawsuit, which was filed last month, is seeking unspecified damages for everything from loss of identity to sexual and physical abuse. Regina lawyer Tony Merchant said many of the children who were adopted weren’t in unsafe homes but were taken simply as another way to assimilate aboriginal people.

“It was a part of taking red babies and trying to make them into white adults.”

Having been raised by a white family with no cultural support, many survivors have struggled to reclaim their roots, Merchant said.

“They’ve just been lost from their culture.”

People who were part of the ’60s Scoop have been calling for a formal apology from Ottawa. They also want compensation for their experience, which many argue was just as traumatic as that suffered by residential school survivors. But while those who were sent to residential schools have had a formal apology and have been able to participate in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, ’60s Scoop adoptees haven’t been formally recognized.

Other lawsuits have been filed on behalf of adoptees. A class-action lawsuit by some survivors in Ontario in 2009 is still making its way through the courts.

Chartrand worries any resolution to this lawsuit will come too late for many adoptees who are aging and suffering from increasing ill health. For those adoptees who ended up in prison or committed suicide, Chartrand said, any resolution comes too late.

“As an Indian, you have a spirit. That spirit has to come back home.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about these kids that are dead out there.”

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read